It’s the oxygen mask rule: In case of emergency, put it on you before you put one on anyone else. Anyone who has ever flown in an airplane knows this. We cannot take care of others if we go down. So, why is it that this concept does not translate well to motherhood, the pinnacle role of caretaking? Because we’re busy. Plain and simple. We are so busy caring for others that we forget this critical rule. But any mom who has suffered stress, exhaustion or being overwhelmed (so, basically every mom), knows that at some point we have to stop and take a beat. So, here are 10 small beats. Take them. Trust us. You’ll be so glad you did.
- Get a massage. We cannot stress this enough. Massages release energy, stress, and toxins built up in your body. It’s not only good for de-stressing, but it’s also good for your overall health and it feels fantastic. You’ll sleep better, you’ll be more relaxed, have less pain and a better mood. Try going once a season to recharge your batteries. If you love it, increase to once a month. There are plenty of massage therapists that make house calls, too, so if you feel like you can’t get out of the house, have one come to you!
- Go to yoga. For all of the reasons above, this is another great way to de-stress and improve your overall health. It also helps with strengthening. So many places offer affordable, or sometimes free, yoga classes these days. It’s also a fun social activity. You’ll likely meet other moms trying to do the same thing. And, if you can’t get out to a class, there are free yoga videos online to do at home.
- Meditate. This one can be done anywhere at any time. In the car. In the bathroom. In the laundry room. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Quieting your mind and being present takes a little practice. There are easy and wonderful apps for your phone that can get you started including one called Calm. It also has meditations for kids.
- De-clutter a space. Ask Marie Kondo if you don’t believe us. Lightening your load will lighten your stress level. It feels fantastic to throw things out. Try it! It’s very liberating. Start with one small area and finish it so you don’t get overwhelmed. And just do a little each day.
- Get a mani and/or pedi. This was one of the best things you can do to make yourself feel better if you’re in a slump. There are nail salons on every corner. Ask your friends who they recommend. Some even take walk-ins. The next time you run to the store without the kids, allow yourself an extra hour to pop in and get those nails done!
- Laugh. It is truly the best medicine. Find time to laugh. Watch a funny movie or comedian. Read a funny book or story. Listen to a funny podcast. And most importantly, find humor in your everyday life.
- Take a walk. Nature bathing is a thing. And it’s necessary. Studies show spending time in nature is not only good for us, but it’s also necessary for us as human beings living on this planet. The sun, the oxygen, and just being close to nature trigger happy hormones in our brains and it helps us feel more grounded and connected to the world around us. Take deep breaths, bask in the sunlight and just look around you. There are many parks around us that all offer beautiful landscapes to get out and enjoy. What are you waiting for? Cleveland Metroparks
- Keep a gratitude journal. Writing is a powerful way to self-care. You can get everything in your head out onto paper. Ideas, worries, frustrations, even trauma. Keeping a gratitude journal allows space to write down things that you are grateful for. And practicing gratitude is also good for self-care. So, this one is doubly de-stressing. Try writing just a short paragraph, or even one line or just one word. And try it each night as part of your bedtime routine. It helps to end the day on a positive note and go to sleep with grateful thoughts.
- Play music in the house. Music is calming. Practice just having music on low in the background all afternoon one day and see how it lifts you. Choose your favorite genre and pick a station on your favorite music app and just let it play.
- Take a bath. This is probably the hardest to do because as moms, when was the last time we ever got time alone in the bathroom? But, if your partner can support you in getting at least 30 minutes uninterrupted in the tub, it will be so worth it. Put on some relaxing music, light a candle, turn on your aromatherapy and just lay back and relax.
There are probably forty other things we could recommend but these are some favorites. Even if you just try one, once in a while, it’s important to take time for you.