How To: Turn Carpool into Self-Care
By Author Name
Apr 19, 2018
Updated Nov 17, 2023
5 min read
As a round-the-clock mom, you know how
totally and completely impossible hard it can be to carve out time for yourself. Between soccer practice, viola lessons and Spanish tutors, how can you possibly cultivate a regular yoga practice let alone wash your hair. All this talk of self-care? One word: HOW?
Don’t give up yet. The solution lies in harnessing a superpower you already have — multitasking.
Start with these tips and modifications to reap the mental and physical health benefits of slowing down — even when you’re on the go. And remember, you have control over your time. Make it work harder for you, not the other way around.
THE WAITING GAME
Let’s start with the carpool line. You want to get there early enough to secure a good spot, but really, do we need to start lining up at 1:45? Ok, slight hyperbole, but now you’re looking at close to an hour stuck in a parked car – ugh.
Before you do anything, stop. Put down your phone. (Unless of course you’re reading this article on said phone. In that case, keep going. Then put it away). Instead of mindlessly scrolling through newsfeeds and photos from vacations that you’re not on — pause and choose a practice listed below that feeds your mind, body or spirit.
The outcome: When that bell finally rings at 3:00 p.m., you’ll be relaxed and refueled, ready to be the mom your kids (and their friends) are happy to see.
There’s no better time to start working toward your 64+ ounces a day. Staying hydrated is proven to help our bodies in infinite ways, including boosting your mood and fending off fatigue. Plus, hunger and thirst send the same cues to our brain, so the more hydrated you are, the less likely you are to mindlessly snack to pass the time.
OM it Up.
You don’t need a studio and a mat to bring a little yoga into your daily life. Try some shoulder and hip-opening stretches to keep you limber - and zen - all day long. Start with these two moves:
● Rest your hands on your knees and sit up tall.
● Inhale, lift your chest, arch your back and look up. Exhale, round your spine, drop your head and draw your abs in.
● Repeat 4-8 times, inhaling as you open up your chest and exhaling as you round your back and draw your abs in.
Seated Spinal Twist
● Start by facing your seat with your feet flat on the floor, knees slightly wide.
● Twist your upper body so that you are looking out the back window, gripping your seat with both hands to assist in holding the pose and deepening the stretch.
● Take 8-10 breaths.
● Repeat in the other direction.
Connect With a Friend
You see a friend’s name pop up on caller ID, but you don’t answer it. There’s just so much to say, so little time. So you avoid the call. It’s easy to fall into the “I-don’t-have-enough-time” trap. But why not use this limbo time to schedule a mini phone date? Trust us, 10 minutes is better than nothing and it’s plenty of time to keep the lines of communication fully open.
Practice Mini Meditation
In a car, you can’t completely surrender to non-judgemental state of bliss. But an abbreviated session can still provide plenty of benefits. And thanks to guided meditation apps, you can take your practice with you wherever you go. If nothing else, breathe. Connect with your body and calm your central nervous system. A simple 10-count breath tells your brain its ok to relax.
Tune Out With an Audiobook
Explore a brand-new world and entertain a car full of kids at the same time. That’s what we call a win-win. Introduce your kids to classics like Nancy Drew, or enter fantastic worlds of fantasy with a series like Harry Potter — complete with 100+ hours of magic. Whatever your literary preferences, you can nearly everything on Audible.com, Amazon or even your local library.
Feed Your Mind
Curious about a new subject but don’t have time to read? Who does! But you’re in luck. Today there’s lit-er-a-ly a podcast about everything. Tackle a new topic or learn a skill — hands free! Here’s a list to get you started.
● Radiolab: Make high-level science accessible and fun!
● StarTalk Radio: Join astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson for a crash course on the science of the cosmos.
● Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History: Go deep with Dan Carlin, as he unpacks some of the most interesting yet least talked-about moments in history.
Don’t like these recco’s? Just ask your friends. Everyone has a personal favorite; just beware, you’re opening Pandora’s box. Once you start, it’s hard to stop.
Ultimately, how you spend time in the car (with or without kids present) is up to you. These are simple tactics to help you stay chill, be more present with your kids, and arrive at your destination feeling relaxed and ready to tackle the challenge ahead.
We want to hear from you! Tell us how you practice mindfulness on the go.