As a mom, whether full time or working, it’s nearly impossible to find the shortest few moments in any day, to spend on ourselves. The result is that most of us simply stop trying and ends up giving in to the “more pressing” demands of the day. I completely get the reasoning behind why your own well-being always takes a backseat to that of your immediate family, and I would leave it at that and not bother writing this post if I thought you don’t want to be around for your family for a very long time to come, but I believe you do. Stress had become such a dominant part of our lives. It’s seeped its way through every aspect of our lives – family, work, finances, our relationship with our dogs, to figuring out what we are having for dinner tonight. Stress had become a pandemic and the only way we are going to survive (by survive I mean, stay alive), is to fight back. One way in which this is possible, is to start taking care of our physical and mental health. If life begins at 40 and you only really start enjoying the fruit of your many years of labour after 50, then wouldn’t you atleast want to stick around to enjoy them? There is no harm in wanting a physically, mentally and even spiritually rich life and rest assured that nothing bad is going to happen to your family or career while you take a few minutes of the day and spend it all on yourself. In fact, it proves to be majorly beneficial to everyone, but most importantly to you, as a woman.
Here’s five quick and easy ways to claim back your life and minimise stress substantially.
Yoga: I cannot think of a better way to stay both physically and mentally fit, other than Yoga. I have only recently come to hear of the sun salutation (because I was born from under a rock), and it looks fairly easy a sequence to follow. It’s quick and great for us busy moms. You don’t necessarily have to do the sun salutation (That’s just my preference), there are so many. Find a sequence that works for you then take no more than 15 minutes of your day to spend on yourself. Similar forms of meditative exercises are Pilates and tai chi.
Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy and essential oils are well-known to be effective stress relievers. It’s been for centuries. Change the Essential Oil to match your mood, common examples are; Lavender for relaxation or Rosemary or Peppermint if you need to wake up and concentrate. Essential oils can now also be applied through various types of diffusers – either by diluting it into a spray bottle, a roll on bottle or sticks. My favourite is the oil burner where the oil is diluted into a little ceramic burner with a tea candle burning underneath. The flame causes the aroma to be transported throughout the area. This is great for bath time, but suitable for any area in the house you spend the most time in, and at your office desk too. Aromas and smells have a direct influence on our moods. The oils can be purchased at Dischem or The body shop. The key is to get to best quality.
Music: Music is so potent a stress reliever that there now is something called “music therapy”. However, if you, like me, do not have time to schedule hour-long therapy sessions then I suggest you get yourself a selection of slow, soft, soothing music. Mozart or any classical and instrumental music has always been known to work wonders on one’s mood, but if you are not the classical type than any soothing music of your choice will do (ideally slower than your heart-rate). Create a library of your fave slow songs. Once you have your selection, keep them handy and listen to them after a long, hard day at work. It’s one of the best forms of therapy there is.
Mini relaxations: This is your quick fix for when you’re basically faced with people causing you irritation or any other form of stress. It can be while sitting at your desk at work, in a meeting, at the kitchen counter at home, while talking over the phone or driving in your car (In traffic!)
When you have Three minutes
Relax your facial muscles and allow your jaw to open slightly. Let your shoulders drop. Let your arms fall to your sides. Allow your hands to loosen so there are spaces between your fingers. Uncross your legs or ankles. Feel your thighs sink into your chair, letting your legs fall comfortably apart. Feel your shins and calves become heavier and your feet grow roots into the floor. Now breathe in slowly and breathe out slowly.
When you’ve got 2 minutes
Count down slowly from 10 to zero. With each number, take one complete breath, inhaling and exhaling. For example, breathe in deeply saying “10″ to yourself. Breathe out slowly. On your next breath, say “nine,” and so on. If you feel lightheaded, count down more slowly to space your breaths further apart. When you reach zero, you should feel more relaxed. If not, go through the exercise again.
When you’ve got 1 minute
Place your hand just beneath your navel so you can feel the gentle rise and fall of your belly as you breathe. Breathe in slowly. Pause for a count of three. Breathe out. Pause for a count of three. Continue to breathe deeply for one minute, pausing for a count of three after each inhalation and exhalation.
Another one-minute relaxation technique is to sit comfortably and take slow, deep breaths. Each time you breathe in, say to yourself “I am.” As you breathe out, say “At peace.” Repeat this several times. Feel your entire body relax into the support of the chair.
Quiet time: Meaning no cell phones, ipads or facebook. Ask hubby or grandma to take the kids to the park or a movie or even while they are away at school, and spend a few minutes on absolutely nothing but relishing in the silence. Lie flat on your back if you must, close your eyes and let your thoughts take you to your happy place. The trick is to NOT DO ANYTHING. To see how hard this is try this 90 second relaxation exercise I stumbled upon[highlight] http://thequietplaceproject.com/[/highlight] no matter how much I wanted to fast forward the process, I stuck it out and surprisingly felt much calmer. I go back there whenever I need a few seconds to myself.
Let’s combat stress together!