Moms, finding time to de-stress isn’t easy, especially when you have a full plate and busy schedule. Instagram’s self-care craze can make it seem like there’s no hope for reprieve unless you have thousands of dollars to jet-set off to some remote island and sip champagne.
Even though we may not be able to get a moment’s peace between kids, chores, doctors’ appointments, school plays, errands, and sports practices, it’s important to find ways to manage stress. Chronic stress can lead to a variety of physical and mental health problems including anxiety, depression, insomnia, weight gain, and high blood pressure, all of which will only hinder you and your family in the future.
Although you may not be able to free up your schedule for a full day of pampering and self-care, here are five ways to unwind and reduce stress throughout your hectic day.
Eat Something Healthy
Stress can cause people to overeat, and they usually don’t go for something nutritious. It turns out that stress activates the parts of the brain that cause the body to crave fats and sugar, so you’re more likely to devour a pack of snack cakes or bag of chips when you’re overworked and tired.
Instead of giving in to the temptation, prepare some healthy snacks in advance. The extra boost of vitamins will help you feel better, and you’ll be able to take a moment to relax and focus on what you’re eating instead of everything you have to do.
Also, when your kids see you eating healthy, they’ll likely want to eat healthier too. Prepare a healthy snack together so you’ll all get that mid-morning or mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
Put down your phone, get up from your desk, walk away from household chores and stretch. Lift your arms high above your head and take a deep, cleansing breath. Lower them and turn your neck gently from side-to-side. Perform some shoulder stretches, and complete the exercise by reaching down and letting your arms dangle loose in front of your body.
Stress causes us to hold tension in our muscles, so a few stretching breaks throughout the day can help you feel better, both emotionally and physically.
Read Content That Makes You Happy
If you can find a few quite minutes to yourself—before your kids wake up, while they’re at school, when they’re down for a nap or when they’ve gone to bed—read something uplifting. Follow pages and blogs that make you feel good and inspire you to be positive. A good start is to look up health and beauty blogs that offer practical ways to incorporate more self-care into your daily routine. This doesn’t need to take more than a few minutes. Just make sure that you take time to read and process the information you’re consuming. Even just one article a day can have an impact on your life if its content is meaningful.
Go for a Walk
Staying in your home or at your desk all day can be draining, even if you don’t realize it, so get up and away from that environment. A walk can be a good break. Take the time to just be present with yourself, not scrolling on social media or responding to emails. If you’re home with your kids, you can take them on the walk with you. It will give you a little bit of time to get away from the house and will help your kids get some of their wiggles out, both of which will make the rest of the day a little easier.
Walking, and any other exercise, also helps release endorphins and boost your mood, so you’re bound to feel a little better even after a few minutes.
Meditate for Five Minutes
Research shows that even just a few minutes of meditation a day can lower overall stress levels and make people happier. Apps like Headspace offer five-minute guided meditations that are easy to do just about anywhere; in bed, sitting at your desk or even hiding out in the bathroom.
Mindfulness can be practiced in other ways, too. Take time every hour to concentrate fully on the sensations of what you’re doing. Tuning into your surroundings and finding your breath can help lower cortisol levels and bring some much-needed focus to you during stressful moments.
By Anita Ginsburg