As a mom, stress is your constant companion. But that doesn’t mean you want it hanging around all the time. Reducing stress will not only make you feel better, but it can give you more patience to be a good parent. There are many different ways to relieve stress, including exercise, a healthy diet, and enjoying a few moments of solitude. Take a look at the eight tips below to help you reduce your stress, stay strong, and tackle each new challenge motherhood throws in your face!
1. Plan Your Childcare
Trying to make sure the kids are looked after all day long, seven days a week, is one sure way to fire up the stress levels. Just getting home in time to pick up the kids from school can be hectic; there are always unforeseen public transport delays or some kind of traffic mayhem to deal with. Even if you don’t work outside the home, the weight of endless responsibility can have you feeling exhausted and frustrated. The answer is: Get some help!
If you don’t have friends and family in the neighbourhood (or you’re tired of asking), that doesn’t mean you can’t find reliable, trustworthy caregivers that you and your kids will love. Thanks to handy technological advances, you can even order help on demand. BookJane is a mobile app that lets you order qualified childcare when and where you need it.
Perhaps it’s not just your kids who need looking after. The app was created to help Torontonians find caregivers, whenever you need them. Many parents right now find themselves in the “Sandwich Generation” – stuck between the conflicting demands of having young children and elderly parents who both require their time and support. Every caregiver must have a two-tier background check, so you can rest easy while you’re in that last-minute meeting, at the dentist, or having a well-deserved bottle of wine with the girls! Isn’t 2016 a great year to be a parent?
2. Me Time
Taking some time for yourself might seem selfish, or totally impossible, but it could mean the difference between losing your patience and staying calm when the kids are screaming in line at the supermarket. Seriously.
Me time doesn’t have to be a grand event; it can be as simple as taking the dog for a walk all by yourself, or hanging a “do not disturb” sign on the bathroom door and enjoying twenty minutes of bubble-bath bliss. It can also be the time when you get to remind yourself who you were before you were “Mom.” Hobbies and passion projects shouldn’t have to disappear completely. Schedule time each week to read a book, work on your screenplay, join a softball league, or connect with your friends.
3. Pamper Yourself
When you’re a mom, you might not have time to do all those wonderful things you used to do, like get a haircut, cut your toenails, or shave your legs. It can be stressful to maintain your body (and your sex appeal) when you’re chasing after toddlers, shuttling kids from one after-school activity to another, or trying to plan three healthy meals a day for people who aren’t even you.
Spending some time on yourself can help relieve stress by making you feel good about your appearance and by showing yourself that you still matter. You’re allowed to put yourself first every once in a while without being a bad mom. Head to the spa for a morning of massages and pedicures, treat yourself to a bold new hairstyle, or go shopping for some new clothes. If you’re short on time, even taking a long shower, shaving your legs, and painting your own nails will help you feel better prepared to face the world again.
4. Switch Off
Technology can start to feel overwhelming when a movie is playing, a sing-a-long CD is blasting, and your phone keeps buzzing with new emails about work and play-dates. All the noise, even background noise, can add to your stress levels, so make sure you’re able to enjoy even a few minutes of quiet time each day. And that doesn’t just mean the kids; to truly unplug you need to ditch all of your demanding gadgets as well.
It might seem impossible to have a few quiet moments with a house full of kids, so finding silence is almost like an art. Waking early, before the kids have a chance to barge in, can give you a chance to enjoy a few kid-free, noise-free, tech-free minutes of existence. If your kids are still napping, take that chance to switch everything off and hear the sound of your own thoughts for a change. Sometimes even just stepping outside onto the front porch for a minute or two can provide enough quiet to release some stress.
Sometimes the best way to reduce stress levels is to take a breather. Trying to juggle a million things at once means you don’t get to take any breaks, which just leads to even more stress. Find a moment to stop whatever you’re doing and remove yourself from everything that is stressing you out. In a pinch, you could even do these breathing exercises with the kids. A minute of sitting still and breathing deeply will have amazing calming effects and can help you gain a renewed perspective on the day.
For some families, another way to ensure that moms (and dads) get a break is to introduce the “time out”. This can be a hand gesture, or even the act of saying the words “I need a time out.” It will signal to the rest of the family that you need a moment alone to calm down, and it also means it’s okay to take a break. Even the kids can use the time out when they are starting to feel angry or overwhelmed. Set up a quiet space to listen to soothing music, or snuggle under a blanket, to decompress and optimize your stress release.
6. Girl’s Night
Being a mom takes up so much time, that even lifelong friendships can get a little rusty and misplaced. Take some time to renew and rekindle all your relationships. Plan an evening out with the girls to relax, let your hair down, and have some kid-free fun. Even if that just means going out for a glass of wine, or meeting during your lunch break, you’ll feel the difference in your stress levels.
This doesn’t just apply to girl’s night, but to all nights out. Date night can be an especially helpful way to relieve stress. Getting away from the kids and spending time together will help you maintain your friendship, and give you a chance to keep the romantic side of things alive. Also, keep in mind that physical contact is a major stress reliever…
7. Stretch It Out
Yoga is one of the best ways to relieve some stress, get out of the house, be social, and also stay fit. Practicing yoga is a great way to turn off your brain; focusing on each movement of your body and holding each pose will distract you from daily worries and help you feel refreshed. The exercise, combined with breathing control and meditation, can help lower your blood pressure and heart rate; thus, reducing your stress levels.
Heading out to yoga class also means you’ll be without the kids, and will give you a chance to talk with other adults for a change. Sometimes you just need some adult time to give you some perspective and help you relieve all your mom anxieties. Exercising also means that your body will release the happy hormones that naturally keep depression and anxiety at bay.
8. Dance Party
This one is simple: Turn on some music and dance the stress away! This is great on your own, with your partner, or even with the kids. It gets the heart rate going, and you’ll find that the sillier the dance moves, the more laughter ensues. What better way to relieve stress than to laugh until it hurts?
READ MORE LIKE THIS:
- Friends without Kids: How To Keep Your Child-Free Friends
- Parenting Isn’t Easy: How a Parenting Coach Can Help
- A Daycare Checklist for Parents: 14 Tips for Finding Child Care
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