As mothers we tend to carry a lot of weight on our shoulders. We juggle taking care of our family, work, house, grocery shopping, parties, play dates, school events, activity schedules, sports, etc. Saying we do a lot, is quite the understatement. It’s no wonder we can get stressed out so easily.
April is National Stress Awareness month and it’s important to take a step back and evaluate how much stress is in our life. High stress can take a toll on our bodies. It can lead to anxiety, insomnia, depression, stomach issues, headaches, and even a heart attack. That’s why, even in the midst of our hectic daily lives, we need to take the time to find ways to relax and lower our stress levels.
How can you do that? Well, here’s a list for you!
1. Take a Deep Breath
I know what you’re thinking, believe me. When I first went to the doctor for my anxiety and he told me to try to take some deep breaths, I thought he was full of it and a total quack. But, it turns out studies have shown deep breathing lowers blood pressure, respiratory rate, and heart rate, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. It also helps increase relaxation. So next time you feel your stress levels start to rise (like when your child is throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the grocery store), stop and take a deep breath.
2. Get a Massage
Us mama’s need time to ourselves. I mean, let’s face it, we don’t get much of that. I can’t even go to the bathroom without having one of my kids, my husband or even my cat follow me. Give me some space, people! I know I’m not the only one. Yes, our schedules get crazy but there are just those times we need to treat ourselves to some alone time. Tell your husband you’re going out for a couple of hours; if he’s not home, arrange for a babysitter (or family or friend) to watch your kids for a bit. Massages are so relaxing! There’s nothing like it. I recently went to Fuse Massage and had a great time! Check it out for yourself.
Have any candles hanging around that need to be burned? Or maybe you’ve got some incense or essential oils ready to be diffused. Don’t leave them sitting around, burn and diffuse away! Studies have shown that aromatherapy can greatly reduce stress. Especially if you use a lavender scent.
I know this might seem like the opposite of relaxing, but the endorphin rush you get from exercising, actually helps reduce stress. So hop on that treadmill or head to the gym and sweat it out!
5. Listen to Music
When I’m stressed out I love putting on my favorite music. It relaxes me quickly and puts me in a good mood. On top of that, research has shown music can reduce stress in multiple ways, from chemical reactions in your body to reducing stress related to medical procedures. So put on your favorite tunes and rock out!
6. Drink Tea
There is a study that found drinking Black Tea lowers post stress cortisol levels and greatly relaxes the body. As a tea drinker myself, I can tell you I know this to be true. Every time I drink a cup of tea, I feel so relaxed. My favorite tea that helps me relax is Bigelow Sweet Dreams herb tea. As soon as I start drinking it, I literally feel my entire body relax from head to toe. I like to drink this tea at night because (as evidenced by its name), it helps me sleep well.
7. Crafts/Art Projects
I recently heard on the radio that people who do crafts and art projects are more relaxed and have less stress. I completely agree! I didn’t used to be much of a crafty person, but I’ve taken it up more since moving to South Carolina. What I’ve discovered is it puts me in a peaceful and happy mood. Something about the smell of my hot glue gun combined with putting together a project I make with my own hands, just works wonders for lowering my stress levels. For those of you who are more scientific, there have been studies that show Art Therapy may reduce stress.
If you’re feeling stressed, I encourage you to step outside your door and take a walk outside. Don’t just walk on the treadmill. It’s not the same. Go outside, breathe in the fresh air, take in nature, and feel yourself relax. A quiet stroll can do wonders for reducing stress!
9. Try Yoga
The combination of deep breathing technique and poses, helps reduce stress.
10. Chew Gum
Yep. You read that right. Chew gum! According to some scientific studies, chewing gum can reduce cortisol levels and reduce stress. Doublemint Gum, anyone?