Becoming a mum comes with the realisation that you hardly ever have a minute to yourself, except when your little one is sleeping. And when they do, there’s no limit to what you can get done in such a short space of time. Here’s a run-down of a few little pick-me-ups which you can squeeze into 20 minutes….

Read

Not War and Peace (goes without saying – you’d barely get past the preface before you hear those impatient baby cries), but even just flicking through a magazine or reading a few articles online can be great at helping you to relax a bit and think of something other than the all-enveloping baby fog that you’ve been existing in.

Paint your nails

If you can locate your nail varnish under the piles of babywipes and giant sanitary towels that now fill your bathroom cabinet, then painting your nails is guaranteed to make you feel more glam again. Play it right and you might even have time to squeeze your toes in in 20 minutes too!

Do a HIIT workout

High-intensity interval training workouts are designed to be fast! Research has shown that ultra-short bursts of HIIT can have tremendous benefits on fitness and fat-burning. If just the thought of breaking a sweat has you feeling tired, don’t panic. If you’re new to fitness or haven’t done it for a few months, the beauty of HIIT workouts is you can adjust the level to suit you. Just make sure you’ve had your six-week check at the doctor’s first and take it at your own pace. A quick search online and you’ll be spoilt for choice of possible exercises to include, and you can do it in the comfort of your own home whilst your baby’s napping.

Have a bath

That’s right, something we all once took for granted is now a precious treat. Throw in a bath bomb and glass of wine for the ultimate decadent night in, and remember to remove all the baby toys first (nothing worse than a rubber duck where no rubber duck is meant to go…).

Phone a friend

Hearing a familiar voice and having a good old chat is guaranteed to make you smile (and probably cry too if you’re tired). In the day of instant messaging it’s a real novelty to indulge in an actual conversation, and even more of a treat when you’ve had nothing but baby babble for company all day.

Listen to a podcast

You can find podcasts about everything and anything these days. Swot up on the latest political theories, crack a smile with some comedy or empower yourself with some TED Talks.

Catch up on TV

You won’t be able to squeeze a whole episode of Line of Duty in in just 20 minutes, but it’ll whet your appetite and leave you hankering for the next instalment. Or you could watch the boring bits in fast forward if you really can’t wait!

Do a face mask

Yes, you’ll look like you’ve face-planted a custard pie while you’re doing it (remember not to answer the door), but with any luck it’ll perk up your tired skin and detract from the eye bags. In all seriousness, it will help you relax and make you feel slightly more pampered than usual.

Eat a hot meal

If you can’t whip up something warm in 20 minutes, re-heat something from the freezer then sit back and enjoy the sensation of feeling hot food in your mouth. It’ll be a novelty to be able to hold a knife and fork at the same time (rather than the baby) and managing to consume a whole meal without interruption will leave you feeling suitably joyous!

Sleep

This is harder than it sounds, because if you’ve existed in mum-mode for the last however many months, it’s almost impossible to shut-off quickly enough to go to sleep in such a short space of time. For those who are totally knackered though, it could be just enough time to make you wake up feeling revived! It’s a luxury just to lie down on your own in the very least…