As moms, we deal with stress daily. Contrary to the ideas of some, we do not sit at home eating bon-bons as our children play quietly in the corner – or at least I don’t. Instead I’m always running late – and always stressed. It seems like there is never enough time in the day to get to all the places I need to go and do all the things that I need to do. And quite often in the day, I catch myself with that tight feeling in my chest as the tears rush to my eyes. And I can’t help but feel overwhelmed. And frustrated. And stressed out.
And when I went to the doctor a few weeks back, her suggestion was for me to eliminate some of the stress in my life. Now, I like my doctor. She’s a smart woman. But she doesn’t have children and doesn’t get the stress that comes with motherhood. And while her suggestion was great, short of selling the kids (which I’m totally not doing) I don’t see the stress going away for roughly 18 more years. But since a study by the American Medical Association found that stress is a factor in 75 percent of all illnesses and diseases that people suffer from today, I figured it was time to come up with some simple stress management techniques!
Now, as most of you moms know, we don’t get much time by ourselves. We often find our toddlers sitting in the shower with us or throwing open doors regardless of our attempts at privacy. And when we get to the point where we feel the need to lock doors for a moment of sanity saving silence, we see little hands poke beneath them and hear wails or screams come from the other side. So, what’s a mom to do?
Well, first, breathe! Then try out these simply ways to reduce stress in five minutes or less!
Walk Away the Worry
Admittedly, this works best with children who are small enough to be put in a stroller or wagon. Thankfully, they make some pretty big strollers and wagons so you can most likely use this technique with little ones who are at home with you. Grab the kiddo (screaming and flailing is OK) and head out for a lap around the block. Most children will be calmed by the change of scenery and the exercise and Vitamin D will do wonders for your stress! A simple 5 minute walk will help you to recharge and reset your stress meter. Be sure to take deep breaths as you stroll – going as fast as possible is not the goal, simply moving and breathing is the name of the game.
Satisfy Your Senses
According to Dr. Allan Schwartz, Ph.D, the sense of smell can and should be used to reduce tension and stress. There are several scents which are strongly linked to stress relief including eucalyptus, jasmine, peppermint and lavender. A great way to reduce stress in seconds it to dab eucalyptus oil on your pulse points in your wrist and/or behind your ears. Then take ten slow, deep breaths. The mixture of filling your lungs with air and the relaxing properties released in the scent will have you feeling calmer in a matter of minutes!
Eat your Way Calm
Now, now, I’m not talking about stress eating. I am talking about having a quick snack that includes foods and drinks that help manage and reduce stress. Green Tea, blueberries and almonds are just a few of the items that have stress reducing properties in them. And they just so happen to be quick and easy solutions. Brew some green tea in the morning and keep it in the refrigerator all day. When you feel stress coming on, grab a cup and drink up! Add in a side of blueberries or almonds and you’ve got a quick treat that will not only help with the stress but give you a burst of energy to get through the rest of your day!
Use Your Hands
While it may not be the massage you’re longing for, giving yourself a quick hand massage and applying gentle pressure to the skin between your thumb and forefinger can help the stress levels go down. Since your hands contain reflexology points that effect other parts of your body, a hand massage can be a quick way to release stress and tension from your body. Try adding a little lotion and then using slight pressure, run your thumb from your palm to the tips of your fingers, using a circular motion as you work your way up. Within five minutes, you should be able to feel your body begin to relax and some of the stress melt away.
Dance Baby, Dance!
So, if you’re like me the thought of dancing may make you slightly queasy. But in the privacy of your own home it can be a great stress relief technique! Turn on a fun song, get the kiddos to dance along and start moving. Whether you’re doing silly moves that make your giggle or simply pounding some of the stress out (think Flash Dance style) at the end of your impromptu dance session, you’ll feel much more relaxed. Since dance is a great way to express your emotions, you’ll be able to feel your frustration and stress come out in your moves, leaving you ready to face the challenges of the day again!
Taking a few minutes multiple times a day to deal with stress and help relieve it can prevent you from feeling so overwhelmed by the end of the day. It’s good for you physically and mentally to take a break – even if it’s only five minutes. So the next time you start feeling your tension rise, call a five minute mommy break and use one of the tips above. You might just be surprised at how renewed you feel afterwards!
Tell me, what tips do you use to deal with stress on a daily basis?