- Mental Health
Stress Management | 5 Easy Stress Reducers for Busy Moms
© Copyright 2012 Tracy Lynn Conway with all rights reserved.
I wake up each day hoping that this will be the day that is easier, the day that I will get a break from the heavy demands of parenting and even though this day doesn’t ever seem to come, I refuse to give up hope. Most days my demands center around my children, work and managing my home, leaving little time for myself. Friends and family often suggest taking a nap or meeting up with friends to relax and alleviate stress and I do take these recharging breaks, but fitting them in often enough remains a perpetual challenge.
I have found some easier and quicker ways to de-stress from the demands of parenthood and life which require the least effort for the greatest return. While some of these ideas may seem basic, I have found that even some basic ways to recharge are often forgotten and overlooked. I have put together a list of these easy de-stressers which I call Mommy Mini Vacations.
My Motto is: If you can’t take a vacation, bring the vacation to you.
1. Hydrotherapy, while reading a book about how French women recover from the drain of childbirth I learned that they use hydrotherapy to heal, recover and rejuvenate. This of course sounded like a luxurious extravagance but it turns out that hydrotherapy is just a fancy word for taking a bath. The only thing that I was indulging in after childbirth was exhaustion and a huge consumption of water that was necessary for breastfeeding, so maybe French women are onto something. My Grandmother used to love taking baths and until fairly recently I thought of baths as old fashioned but I have given the idea a second look with great results. I now look forward to this time alone and at peace surrounded by my personal warm ocean of H2O.
Best time: After the kids have gone to bed.
Stress Reduction Benefits:
- Bathing lowers blood pressure
- Allows the mind to refocus and gain perspective.
- Studies show that bathing promotes good sleep and can even cure insomnia.
- Relaxes Muscles
2. Drink a cup of tea. Green tea, herbal tea, sleepy time tea; it doesn’t really matter which, tea is both good for you and a tool for reducing stress. I picked up my love of tea on my trips to England and Ireland where making and drinking tea is an art. For those living on the British Isles, tea breaks are a regular part of the day both at mid morning, 10:30 and at around 2:30 in the afternoon, so why not indulge in this relaxing habit yourself? Drinking a hot cup of tea forces you to slow down and savor the moment and the flavor. Tea is soothing to all the senses and forces you to set a new pace if you are having a busy day. I drink green tea during the earlier hours of the day and caffeine free herbal tea as it gets later in the day and into the evening.
Best Time: Anytime
Stress Reduction Benefits: According to research at University College London, black tea can lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol
The Sun Salutation Series can be done fast or slow depending on how much time you have.
3. Yoga. Yoga is so revitalizing, even after only a few positions you may find your body thanking you and the stress of the day melting away. I practice the sun salutation series at home but even just a few stretches can make you feel refreshed and revitalized. It isn’t always possible to fit a complete workout in or attend a yoga class but a group of stretches that only take a few minutes can both relax you and keep your body toned and stretched.
Best Time: Anytime
Stress Reduction Benefits: Sound sleep, reduced cortisol (stress hormone) levels, improvement of many medical conditions including lower blood pressure, lower heart rate; sense of well-being, reduced anxiety and muscle tension, increased strength and flexibility and slowed aging process.
4. Breathing Techniques. I often combine paced breathing with a bath to attain the highest level of stress release in the shortest amount of time.
Square breathing is a technique that is used to slow down your breathing which helps your body to relax. Here are the four steps to square breathing.
1 Take a deep breath, breathing in for four seconds.
2 Hold your breath for four seconds.
3 Slowly exhale for four seconds.
4 Do nothing for four seconds and then repeat the process by increasing the second to 5, 6 and more. Do this as many times as you need until you calm down.
I try to visualize a square that gets larger as I increase my breathing count.
Try out this paced breathing video!
Best Time: Paced breathing and its cousin, square breathing, can be done at anytime.
Stress Reduction Benefits This technique is beneficial for managing many stressful situations and also for relaxing your body before bed.
5. Take a walk: Walking separates you from your stressors. It gives you perspective on your life and encourages you to enjoy the moment by noticing the environment around you. The fresh air and rhythm of walking all help to invigorate the body and this releases stress. If you can’t get out alone then bringing the kids along can benefit everyone.
Best Time: Daytime
Stress Reduction Benefits: Walking triggers the body to release endorphins which stimulate relaxation and clam the body.
Motherhood is continuously demanding, I consider it the longest endurance sport of all time. Finding ways to relieve stress and find a balance for parents will likely continue to be a struggle as I know it has been for me. I hope these ideas are useful to you and that you find a way to work them into your day.
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