The daily pressures from raising a child can consume any mother’s energy and peace of mind, leaving them anxious, exhausted, and most of all, stressed. In other words, parenting is no walk in the park. In fact, that “walk in the park” usually winds up being a meltdown in the park (literally) and over sippy cup color of all things. I’m telling you, there is no greater crime to a child than giving them a purple cup when they really wanted a pink cup, am I right? But meltdowns in the park are just a tip of the iceberg.
Some common stress triggers for moms include:
- Bedtime protests: They somehow manage to completely undress themselves and run amok around the house in protest.
- Find-the-smell: A game usually no one wins.
- Car seat escape attempts: On the freeway of all places.
- Laundry, laundry, and more laundry.
- Target tantrums: Nothing can hit that Mariah Carey high E note quite like a screaming toddler in the toy aisle.
- Know-it-all teenagers.
- Toys… Everywhere: It’s like the toys are conspiring to take over the house. (Are we sure Toy Story is fiction?)
I can go on, but I digress.
For moms, managing all of this stress can be a challenge. Especially when your schedule revolves around playdates, soccer practices, and last minute science fair projects. But here are 13 of the most useful (and practical) stress relief tips for moms.
1. Set Boundaries Early
Setting boundaries with your children can be difficult, but if you want to keep your sanity, it’s necessary. Having certain rules and guidelines in place will teach children what your limits are, and what is expected of them to help manage day-to-day stress. For example, a lot of household stress can be lumped into two categories: time and location. When things are misplaced (location), it often affects your ability to get where you need to go by a certain deadline (time), causing you stress.
So if getting out of the house on time in the morning sends you into a tizzy, one of your boundaries might be to have your kids put their backpacks and supplies in certain areas of the house when they get home from school. By making things easier to find, it will make it easier to be on time, in turn, reducing your stress levels when trying to get to school the next morning.
Setting boundaries is also useful for moms that feel stress when their attention is spread thin. Being a mother is a 24/7 job, and that job demands your attention at all hours of the day. Sometimes all it takes is a 10-minute breather to regroup but without boundaries, privacy can be a tall order. For instance, you can set a boundary that would require your children to knock and receive permission before entering your closed bedroom door. A boundary as simple as this can help children understand the concept of personal space and how to respect that space. In addition, it can serve as an opportunity to enjoy some quiet time if you need it.
2. Plan, Organize, & Prioritize
Similar to setting boundaries, being organized, planning ahead, and prioritizing are vital skills to keeping a stress-free flow in a busy household. If you are able to foresee any tantrum triggers, anticipate any leaving-the-house items, and prioritize your to-do list, you will encounter fewer crises, meltdowns, and stress-traps. By planning ahead, you can streamline your routines and be prepared for the unexpected.
I know you’ve probably heard this over and over again like a broken record but I’m going to say it anyways… Exercise is one of the most effective stress relievers there is! I understand how challenging it can be for a mom to find time to workout with her busy, and ever-changing schedule… but there are a lot of options and resources to help make exercising as simple and convenient as possible.
SkinnyFit provides workout videos that you can do anywhere, and with minimal equipment. Perfect for a busy mom! It’s all about getting creative with what you have. Check out this busy mom workout plan!
4. Be In The Moment
Moms are notorious for having a million things on their to-do list. And when their list is longer than a CVS receipt, well, it can be easy to get distracted and stress over the things they haven’t completed. Nancy Molitor PhD., an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, states that “at least half of a woman’s overall stress is directly tied to her to-do list, both the sheer number of things she has to accomplish and the actual list itself” .
Similarly, Benjamin Cornwell PhD, an associate professor of sociology, says that women are twice as likely as men to make more than 20 switches between different roles (mom, wife, friend) and settings (soccer practice, dry cleaner, dog park) a day .
These switches trigger a chain of stress hormones and other metabolic responses. So, the moment you focus on what you haven’t done instead of focusing on what you’re doing, or try to do too many things too quickly, you send your stress levels on a rollercoaster ride. The best way to cope with this type of stress trigger is to learn how to be in the moment. This means, putting away your phone, your to-do list, or any other distraction and focus all of your energy on the task at hand.
5. Essential Oils
If you’ve never tried essential oils to help manage your stress, this is a must-try! Essential oils are the highly concentrated version of the natural oils found in plants. They are known to have therapeutic properties and can be used to treat and manage various conditions and ailments. The most common use to relieve stress is through aromatherapy. Oils like lavender, rose, sandalwood, ylang-ylang, jasmine, and eucalyptus are all known to relieve stress, anxiety, and stress-related headaches. You can use essential oils in an oil diffuser, or directly on your skin (wrists, temples, neck, & chest).
6. Stay Connected
It can be difficult juggling all of the different roles that go along with being a mother (chauffeur, chef, housekeeper, tutor, referee, party planner, etc.). And when you are hyper-focused on raising a child, it’s very common for moms to “lose touch” with a lot of the qualities that make them who they are, outside of motherhood. Making the time to reconnect with hobbies that bring joy and fulfillment into your life can help manage stress and create a healthier and well-rounded quality of life.
7. Make Healthier Food Choices
As obvious as this sounds, it’s true. When you are under stress, the fight-or-flight response (the physiological reaction that occurs in response when your body perceives a threat of some sort) triggers your adrenal glands to release a stress hormone called cortisol into your bloodstream . Cortisol increases your appetite because your body is attempting to increase your energy to “fight off” the stressor. So when you finally do eat food, your body releases dopamine (the pleasure hormone) but this only eases your stress temporarily (maybe 20-30 minutes) .
Eventually, the dopamine rush subsides and you are left right back where you started: Stressed and hungry… and the cycle repeats. This can lead to unwanted weight gain which can cause even more stress. So, by making healthier food choices, you can eliminate food cravings and overeating, in turn, stressing less. SkinnyFit Snack Attack helps you outsmart cravings and gives you an edge on fighting stress-related weight gain.
8. Learn To Say No First, & Yes Later
Biting off more than you can chew is a common problem a lot of mothers face. Moms can put a lot of pressure on themselves to be “100%” all the time and this can sometimes force them to overcommit. When you spread yourself too thin you can easily take on more work than two or three people can comfortably handle, and subject yourself to stress in the process.
Similarly, constantly saying yes to people and “people-pleasing” can add cause immense stress. If this sounds familiar, you might benefit from learning how to say no (now), and figuring out how you can say yes (later). How many times have you been invited to go somewhere and immediately RSVP’d “Yes” before even thinking about it? (🙋🏽).
By saying no first gives you the opportunity to go over your to-do list and prioritize. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve overcommitted and had to cancel last minute… and it only ends in bitter disappointment from whoever you’ve cancelled on. However, If you are able to say no initially, prioritize your commitments, and then later change your RSVP to a yes, well, that’s less stress for you!
9. Take A Bubble Bath
Now, I’m sure some of you are raising your eyebrow right now thinking, “easier said than done”, right? Moms can easily come up with a million excuses as to why they can’t find 30 minutes to draw themselves a bath. But when you carve out the time for something and make it a priority, it happens. So put that bubble bath in the calendar and make it happen! Soaking in warm water filled with calming and soothing aromas with some relaxing music is an immediate stress reliever.
10. Don’t Compare Yourself To Other Moms
Gymboree classes, soccer games, PTA meetings… what do these have in common? They are all opportunities to hear the other moms brag and boast about their child’s latest accomplishments. Not to mention social media feeds highlighting all of the picture-perfect moments. It’s normal to feel like you can do better, especially when you see mom’s that appear to have their (you know what) together. The beautiful smiling baby, the gourmet meals, the Pinterest worthy house, not to mention the washboard abs you’ve been killing yourself trying to get… how can you not be jealous?
But let me tell you, if it appears like everyone else is #winning at the mom gig, chances are, they are going through the same struggles and frustrations you are. It might be hard, but it’s important to remember not to compare yourself to other moms. No one is perfect, and everyone is bound to make mistakes here and there. And last I checked, I’ve never met a person who didn’t think their own mom was the best mom in the world. So just be great for them because that’s all that matters.
11. Get Some Fresh Air & Sunshine
It’s true that sunshine has a positive impact on our mood. Sunshine provides loads of Vitamin D, and Vitamin D is shown to increase your mood. Taking a 30 minute walk outside can help you clear your head, relax, and relieve your stress.
12. Wake Up 30-Minutes Before Your Kids
With all the chaos that happens when raising children, sometimes you need a little bit of “me time”. Waking up 30 minutes before your children will give you a time to focus on yourself. Whether you want to read a book or sit in the peace and quiet, you can use this time to center thoughts or just get things done. Dedicating 30 minutes to a self-care routine in the morning can significantly reduce your stress levels and prepare your mind for the day ahead.
13. Make Sleep A Priority
This is probably the most effective stress reliever of them all. According to a study by the Department of Psychiatry and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, “Sleep and mood are closely connected; poor or inadequate sleep can cause irritability and stress, while healthy sleep can enhance well-being. Chronic insomnia may increase the risk of developing a mood disorder, such as anxiety or depression” . It might be easier said than done, but taking a power nap during the day or establishing a proper sleep regime can significantly relieve your stress.
SkinnyFit ZzzTox is specifically formulated to promote better sleep, while reducing stress, releasing harmful toxins, and removes uncomfortable bloating. Drinking one cup of SkinnyFit ZzzTox before bed will improve your sleep habits, and give you more energy during the day to help make all of the stresses of being a mom a thing of the past!