Motherhood can be stressful... Amen. And for all sorts of different, overlapping, switching reasons. From babies who won't nap to toddlers who wake up too early to teens who you can't get out of bed at all. From battles over teeth-brushing and breakfast-eating and homework-finishing and car-borrowing and, for the love, putting your shoes in the shoe basket for once! From too many activities and too much laundry to not enough money, time, or sleep, being a parent can be hard. Today, we're sharing three ways to help you de-stress.
Unlike other jobs, motherhood doesn't have a closing whistle each day or days off. It's 24/7 which means in the middle of the craziness, we moms need to find time for self-care. Self-care is not selfish. It's vital for keeping you - and therefore your family - healthy and happy. Here are three ways we are de-stressing and self-caring this month.
De-Stress Solution #1: Meditate
Really, you can do it! Meditation has been shown to reduce blood pressure, anxiety, depression, insomnia and more.
Level 1: Put on TV show for the kids. Go to bathroom. Lock door. Sit on floor or toilet lid or lay in empty bathtub. Set your phone timer for 3 minutes. Just breeeeeathe.
Level 2: Download a guided meditation app. There are a bunch of good free ones we've shared before here. Most let you choose your time (2 minutes to infinity), your focus (breathing? stress reduction? anxious?) and sometimes extras like background sounds or music (babbling brook, anyone?). The apps are good for giving you tips and tools on how to refocus your attention, re-frame your thinking, and use meditation to help you manage life.
Level 3: Get Muse. Of course, one of the questions that can come up when you start to meditate is - how do I know that I'm, you know, actually doing it? Which is a great question! And hard to self-evaluate. That's where Muse comes in. While sitting quietly definitely still has its benefits for parents, Muse is a brain-sensing headband that tracks your brain activity to show you if you're actually quieting that never-ending to-do list.
Muse uses the tracking headband and an accompanying app to give you feedback about when your brain is in a calm, neutral or active state. The feedback comes in the form of sounds - if you choose the Beach option, you'll hear gentle water lapping when you're calm and rougher seas when your mind starts to wander. I liked the Ambient Music option, but there is also Downtown City, Rain Forest and Desert. At the end of your session, you can see a graph of your brainwaves, how much time you spent in each of the three categories and how many times you were able to "recover" - move from an active brain back to a neutral or calm state. The goal is not eternally to be in the calm state (though that does sound nice....), but instead of get better at training your brain to come back to attention. After using it every day for a week, I could already see an improvement in my ability to quiet my mind. See how zen Muse has made me?
De-Stress Solution #2: Aromatherapy
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Fresh brewed coffee. An ocean breeze. You know the impact your favorite smells can have on you. Changing up the smells around your home can have a big impact on your attitude, stress, mood and outlook - for the kids too! The best part is that it takes almost no time. So you can keep running around prepping for that work meeting and making lunches and helping with homework all while you are getting some aromatherapy zen at the same time.
Level 1: Light a calming scented candle that you love. Do this right before homework time, doing dishes or paying bills.
Level 2: Diffuse essential oil. Diffusing is an easy way to experience the aromatherapy benefits of essential oils without having to do much work. I'm loving this gorgeous faux marble diffuser from Saje as well as their new sparkly Aromagem Diffusers. Saje has a number of de-stressing essential oil blends too like Unwind, Good Karma and Gratitude that are specifically designed to relieve stress and boost your mood.
Level 3: Have your own favorite scents? Mix up your own essential oil blends with a carrier oil in a spray bottle or roller ball. Keep them around the house or office so you can refresh as needed throughout the day.
De-Stress Solution #3: Camaraderie
One thing that always helps manage stress? Knowing you aren't alone.
Level 1: Call a friend. Parenting can keep you running from one thing to the next. While you're waiting for swimming practice to be over, take 5 minutes to call a girlfriend and catch up. Chances are, you'll both benefit!
Level 2: Plan a girl's night. Whether you go out or stay in, plan an evening with a few close friends. Laugh. Share. Catch up. Maybe enjoy a bottle of Mommy's Time Out wine. Connect with others so that you can get perspective, support and a break!
Level 3: Plan a weekend away! Yes, a whole weekend. If you've never done it, it can feel impossible to actually do, but so magical once you're there. Coffee when it's hot? The ability to talk about something other than Minecraft? Sleeping in?! Grab some girlfriends, choose a location and make a commitment to get out of town!
How do you de-stress?
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