Life is stressful! It doesn’t matter if you are a stay-at-home mom or a working mom…any way you shake it…life is stressful!
We wake up in the morning and look at the long daunting laundry list (including actual laundry) of what we must complete, and very quickly, what started out as a seemingly peaceful morning becomes an overwhelming juggernaut of a day.
How many nights do you find yourself collapsing face first into the bed and passed out before you can make another coherent thought? In truth, I am a little jealous of people who actually do this. When I fall into bed at night, I automatically begin tallying up what I accomplished that day and what I still need to do. One thought quickly turns into one-thousand, and before I know, it is 1:00 am…and I am still staring wide-eyed at the clock…but I digress.
Let’s be honest…if you are raising a young family…we are in the thick of it! We feel ALL the stresses. Somewhere in our future there is this magical land mothers speak of where children wipe their own bottoms, clean their rooms, help around the house, and put away their own laundry. But right now ladies…Dory from Finding Nemo said it best, we have to “just keep swimming.”
However, there is a silver lining. This past year, I have been on a mission to live a healthier lifestyle in all the ways that matter most and to go “all in” on some of my personal dreams. Have I been stressed more than usual? Heck yeah! But…I wanted to be able to recognize the stress that was so obviously in front of my face and outsmart it! So like I always do when I want an answer, I began researching.
At first glance, I found lots of information on fitness programs and eating healthy, but that wasn’t the type of stress reliever I was looking for. I was already doing most of those things. I wanted to reach for the calm among the chaos, be able to clear my head, sleep better, and be more present…pretty soon, I had a solid stress reducing regimen figured out.
Some of these things are so simple, but sometimes you just need someone else to lay it out for you…in order for you to say, “Hey, that one is doable…I’ll try that!” Below are some of the stress relievers that I have adopted. I make a point to do at least one or two of these things EVERY SINGLE DAY!
- STRETCH: Intentionally stretch in the morning, as soon as you wake up. There are a lot of biological reasons why this is good for you, but I won’t bore you with the details. Before you get out of bed, push those arms and legs away from each other and STRETCH! You will feel the blood start to flow from your head to your toes, and you will feel your senses wake up. This is the perfect way to say “good morning” to your body and will automatically start your day off right.
- DAILY DEVOTIONAL: I have several short devotional books/journals that I have found and love! Right now, I am using 3-Minute Devotionals For Women. I like this devotional book in particular, because it has a short journal entry at the end of each daily devotion. And most importantly, with each of these books…they are short enough that I can read, reflect on God’s word, and journal even if the kiddos are running around.
- KEEP A DIARY: Channel your eight-year-old “Lisa Frank” obsessed self and purchase a diary. Purging the days’ thoughts is beyond therapeutic…working your thoughts out on paper has the ability to make you see things a lot clearer.
- LIVE WITH INTENT/PURPOSE: Don’t just be present in body…be present in mind. Stop going through the day-to-day motions, and instead, relish each one of those motions…look up at the sky, fully listen to your children, hug your husband…feel, breathe, see, count your blessings, LIVE WITH INTENT.
- CREATE YOUR SCHEDULE: Most of our children have strict schedules…school, meals, extracurricular activities, bedtime rituals…but what’s your schedule? Create a daily schedule that you can adhere to. You will not only feel more accomplished at the end of the day, but having a personal schedule will also help you feel grounded and less stressed when life goes off course. It can be as simple as completing a particular activity at a certain time of day or even creating your own bedtime rituals like you have done for your children. Adhere to the schedule and life will feel a little less chaotic.
- GO OUTSIDE: Get out of your house. Even if you just sit on the front porch…fresh air is a game changer for an over-active or stressed mind. Feel the wind, listen to the trees, or take a walk. Do not underestimate the power of mother nature.
- MEDITATE: Even if you only have ten minutes a day to spare, I encourage you to give this a try. Meditation releases “happy” and “calming” chemicals into the body from the brain, lowers blood pressure, and can help eliminate chronic injury pain. There are many free meditation phone apps that you can download. Each one is loaded with an array of sounds that will help you center yourself and clear your mind.
- QUIET TIME: Carve out a portion of your day that is simply quiet…maybe you take a bath, maybe you just relax with your eyes closed, maybe you read a book…surround yourself with silence…and JUST BE.
- UN-PLUG FROM YOUR DEVICES: We all know how much we rely on our cell-phones, tablets, etc., it’s a way of life in this day and age. However, talk with your spouse, and decide on a time of day, each day, that the electronics will be put away. After the work-day is done, un-plug completely. Enjoy this time with your children…it is chaotic and stressful, but it is also precious and fleeting. When the kids go to bed, catch-up with your spouse…without interruption. Un-plug…BE FREE.
- LISTEN TO MUSIC: Music is powerful! It has the ability to calm us, make us happy, and check-out from stressful situations. Turn your favorites tunes up loud…and whether you’re a singer or not, belt the lyrics at the top of your lungs!
- DO MORE OF WHAT YOU LOVE: What do you love to do? Whatever it is…do more of it! Whether it may be spending time with people who make you laugh, listening to music and dancing around the kitchen with your family, having a movie night with popcorn and candy, or laying in your hammock in the backyard…whatever it is, do more of it!
Life is going to be stressful…ready or not, here it comes! I hope that by adopting even one of these good habits listed above, you will be able to lower your stress level and reach for the calm. After all, there are so many things in life that we can’t control…so if we can come to terms with that reality and hold on tight to the things that make life less overwhelming and a bit sweeter, well…if we can do that, we are #winning.
My Best, and As Always…