Making time for you

8 Mini-Escapes You Can Do in a Day

By Melissa A. Kay

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Parenting is no easy job. Having a child with learning and attention issues can add an extra layer of stress. Taking time for yourself, even in small doses, can help restore your sense of calm and renew your energy. These mini-escapes are low-cost, relaxing and well deserved.

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Adults in a movie theatre eating popcorn and laughing
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Catch a matinee.

When was the last time you saw a movie with a rating higher than ‘G’? Or one where you didn’t have to tell anyone to stop talking or sit still? Matinees tend to be less crowded than evening shows, which means a more relaxing escape for you. They’re also usually cheaper, so you can take the savings and treat yourself to a decadent dessert!

Group of adults having lunch together and talking
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Linger over lunch.

With your never-ending to-do list, taking time to catch up with friends may seem like an impossible luxury. It doesn’t have to be. Ask your spouse or a family friend to hold down the fort for a few hours, and plan a lunch date with some pals you haven’t seen in a while. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just leisurely. Meet at a sandwich shop or have a potluck picnic in the park. And try not to look at your watch!

Close-up of two women sitting pool side in robes  splashing the water with their feet
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Splurge on a salon or spa service.

Getting a mani-pedi or a massage may not sound like much of an escape. But a little bit of pampering can go a long way. Many salons offer discounts early in the week. (If you go after work, have someone else deal with dinner.) Use the savings to upgrade to a spa pedicure. If you have a hotel nearby, check out the spa and salon. Some hotels let spa customers use the pool and gym. You may even be able to order lunch at the pool.

Adults and students working on a wood- working project together
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Take a class or workshop.

Peruse the calendar at your library, supermarket, community center, YMCA or house of worship. Many offer one-day classes that are free or low-cost. Learn to throw pottery, decorate cakes, write poetry or do something else you’ve been thinking about trying. Go with a friend, or meet people with similar interests. Kids aren’t the only ones who should feel good about mastering a new skill. Impress your family with your new talents and celebrate what you’ve learned.

Back view of a smiling woman sitting in a salon chair looking in the mirror while the stylist blow dries her hair
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Get a free (or cheap) cut and color.

Have you been thinking of shaking things up with a new look? Is there a salon you’ve wanted to go to but couldn’t afford? Many salons seek models for assistants who are moving up to become stylists and colorists. And sometimes they’ll provide the services at no cost, or for a small fee to cover the basic cost of products. No worry about a botched job since a professional will assist them. Call around. You could have a great escape with a fabulous end result.

Man meeting an author in a library
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Hear the pros speak.

Take the afternoon to visit a nearby bookstore or library to hear a lecture. Many authors, celebrities and other professionals make tour dates to share their stories, talk about their latest work or sign autographs. It’s a great way to learn something new or meet an idol. Plus many bookstores, and even libraries, have in-store cafes. Sit back, sip a cappuccino and escape to a fantasy world in a book or magazine before heading back to reality.

Man and woman taking a road trip, clowning around taking photos out the window
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Take a road trip.

You don’t have to drive for days to feel like you’re charting new territory. Find a nature trail, small museum or interesting town to explore with a friend within an hour of home. Visit a neighborhood with historical significance or a unique cultural influence. Try new foods, learn the history and take in new sights and sounds. A short ride can make you feel like you’re a million miles away.

Two women sharing shopping finds
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Go window shopping.

Shopping usually means writing a list, comparing prices and hustling through a crowded store. But what if time and money were no object? What if you had no agenda and no kids at your side? Spend a lazy afternoon scoping out the hottest shops, trying on clothing and enjoying some alone time. If you’ve got some extra money, get yourself a little something. Otherwise, see what’s trendy so you can pick up a similar look on sale the next time you go shopping for real.

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About the Author

Portrait of Melissa Kay

Melissa A. Kay is a writer, editor and content strategist in the areas of family, health, employment, beauty, lifestyle and more.

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