When you’re in the workforce in a traditional 9-5 job, it’s a law that when you work a certain amount of hours, you must get a break. Why? Mostly because employers and lawmakers realize that if employees work without a break they will burn out. It’s a common saying that moms have the hardest jobs but they don’t get paid. However, just because we don’t get paid, it doesn’t mean we can’t take breaks every now and then.

For all of you moms who may feel a bit guilty for needing or wanting a break, let me offer you a small piece of encouragement. As the wonderful mom you are, you put a lot of time, energy, money, and love into your children. And that’s great. However, you will be even more effective as a parent when you are well taken care of—mentally, physically, and emotionally. I’m not saying you have to go on this week-long vacation (I mean if you can do that, by all means, please take me with you) but I am saying that it will be of great benefit to both you and your children if you take a little time for yourself.

Hopefully that eased your guilt but if you’re thinking you don’t know what to do, I have some free or inexpensive suggestions:

1. Just get out of the house. If you’re like me and you have little ones that you homeschool you probably spend a great deal of your time in the house. A few weeks ago I said to my husband “tomorrow when you come home, I need to get out of here!” I went to our local Barnes & Noble and looked through magazines. Just that hour and a half refreshed me. It was awesome.

2. Grab a friend and your favorite guilty pleasure. Hey listen, a good adult conversation over a cupcake and cappuccino never hurt anybody. Enough said!

3. Get a manicure or pedicure. For me, I’ll always opt for a pedicure (just because manicures don’t last long on me) but either way, make this small investment for yourself. It’s a small detail that will make a big difference. And if the budget doesn’t allow you to do this, DIY it.

4. Take a walk. This is one of the best free breaks anyone can take. Literally, you hit all three areas of needed refreshment on this one—mental, physical and emotional. A nice walk will give you time to think, time to process and your heart will be pumping all along.

5. Start a hobby. Sign up for a local class, hobby or sport that is of interest to you. This will ensure that you don’t completely abandon your interests and you may meet a new friend or two.

Remember mama, you are a vital part of your family. You’re more than just a worker, you are a life-giver and source of inspiration. So treat yourself and give yourself a break.