Even the best moms turn into stressed moms when they feel there is too much on their plate. To help balance your busy life, here are a few great tips for busting stress. From jogging to blogging, to day planners for moms, these stress-blasters are all designed to take under ten minutes, so that you can easily incorporate them into your already busy life!
Get Physical. Many women feel guilty about not getting enough exercise (and those Desperate Housewives don’t help!). This guilt, coupled with a perceived inability to do anything about it, causes stress. True, not every mom can afford a personal Pilates trainer or a daily step-aerobics class. But the bright side is, even a short spurt of physical exertion can significantly reduce stress and improve your mood. According to the BBC health site,”You don’t have to train for a marathon to reap the benefits of physical activity. Even moderately intense exercise can result in health benefits. In fact, expending only 100 to 150 calories per day by walking for 10 to 15 minutes may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease by 30% to 40%, as well as decrease psychological and metabolic disorders, such as depression and obesity.” In other words, just because you don’t have a huge amount of time to devote to exercise doesn’t mean you can’t start improving your health today! Simply parking a few blocks from the grocery store and carrying your grocery bags by hand, playing sports with your kids instead of sipping lattes from the sidelines, or doing some yoga stretches in the morning can do wonders for your mental state.
Express yourself. Madonna said it best! If exercise isn’t your cup of tea, maybe artistic expression is. For some, a quick sketch, a watercolor, a journal entry or blog entry can be the means needed to vent, reflect, and move on. Studies show that, “Art therapy can be used to help reduce one’s stress level. Art therapists believe that the act of creating a piece of art triggers an internal activity that helps us to heal in both an emotional, physical, and spiritual way. Even going to a museum or looking at an art book can trigger this process. Art uses a language other than words, and this language can act as an important agent in helping us to reduce our stress level. It feels good to create something.” It’s true! Capturing an emotion in a picture or on a page can be a great stress-buster, so don’t be afraid to indulge your inner Kahlo or Kafka, even for just a few minutes a day! If you need artistic inspiration, check out the motivating quotes in our day planners for moms!
A little love goes a long way. “Connecting with the ones you love soothes stress and provides you with a positive start to your day, as well as keeping you focused on what’s really important,”says therapist Barbara Bartlein, L.C.S.W., author of Why Did I Marry You Anyway? 125 Strategies for a Happy Marriage. Next time you start to feel stressed and overwhelmed, stop and write a loving letter to your own mom, telling her you appreciate how much hard work goes into parenting. Tuck a love letter under your husband’s pillow, or treat your toddler to a big fat hug. You will feel less stressed out instantly when you remember how much love surrounds you, and how lucky you are to have your life.
Glamour shots. Sometimes when we’re feeling frumpy or uninteresting, a good dose of celebrity gossip from a tabloid, TV show, or website is all we need to cheer up. According to a UCLA article, “Celebrity gossip provides harmless, easy-to-analyze topics of conversation – why discuss the ominous situation in North Korea when there are tensions on the set of “The O.C.”? Celebrity gossip serves as a stress-free distraction from the occasional periods of monotony life can present.” Terrible as it sounds, speculating about the fascinating lives of celebrities motivates us to get through our day. Same goes for soap operas or online diaries like those on Redbook.com. There’s nothing like a scintillating development in the life of your favorite celeb or character to take your mind off your own mundane problems.
Play with your pet. After all, that’s what those furry friends are there for! As one pet therapy website puts it, “Sure, we love our pets, but did you know that they actually help to relieve stress? It’s true. The comfort and companionship that pets provide their owners can help reduce stress, keep them healthier, and even increase self-esteem.” Unlike kids, our pets are unrelentingly grateful and never complain. Since they are some of the few creatures on the planet you can count on for unconditional love, why not cuddle with your cat or treat your dog to an extra long game of fetch? Our innovative day planner for moms have extra spaces for multiple schedules, so why not pencil in some quality pet time? You’ll feel better in no time!
Get a vision. We all know a picture is worth a thousand words, but did you know visuals can also help relieve stress? According to a recent article, “Soothing, relaxing stress pictures are effective stress reducers, acting as natural stress relief. Creating a beautiful home environment to return to at the end of the day will help to soothe your daily stress. Putting up serene pictures of landscapes, beaches and sunsets are an easy way to create a calming peaceful effect in your home and help you relax and de-stress at the end of a hard working day.” Sometimes an upbeat visual helps is all we need to be reminded of the beauty in life. If you work in an office, take a second to download a pretty screensaver that will make you smile every time you start to zone out. If you are a stay-at-home mom, make a collage of your own “favorite things” (you never know when Oprah might need a replacement!)
Laughter is the best stress-reliever. Sometimes stress is caused by taking our lives or ourselves too seriously. Studies show that laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases muscle flexion, and boosts immunity. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, and produces a general sense of well being. On that note, always keep humor handy, from funny coffee table books like the “Bad Cats,” “Bad Dogs” series, a book of funny short stories like David Sedaris’s “Holidays on Ice” in the bathroom, or a particularly hilarious picture of your children taped to your refrigerator. If all else fails, call up a pal for a funny reminiscent chat. Remember, laughter tears beat stress tears any day!
Mix it up. Ironically, stress isn’t always caused by added challenges. Sometimes it’s caused by too much sameness. According to lifescope.com, “A great way to get rid of stress is, every once in a while, do something totally different and unexpected without any prior planning. Don’t fall into a trap when you must do such and such thing a certain way, or at specific time or place. If you always put on a blue suit on Thursday, or go to an Italian restaurant on Tuesday, break the habit every once in a while. Even doing things you like can become stressful if you’re stuck in the same old rut week after boring week.” Touche! To beat the “routine rut”, vary your life a little. Even the simplest changes make the day feel fresh and new. Examples: take the scenic route when dropping your kids off, switch breakfast cereal brands, take a bath instead of a shower, or change your hair part. You’ll be surprised how the littlest alterations can make you feel like a new woman.
Prioritize. A million things to do in a day? According to soulgrowth.com, “If one of your main sources of stress is the sheer number of things that need to be done, being organized should help you feel more at peace. A good sense of organization will also make you more efficient. Simplifying will help you feel less overwhelmed.” Indeed, one sneaky cause of stress is feeling you have a million things you “have” to do that day. Prioritize with a day planner for moms, like the 2006 momAgenda, that lets you see your entire week at a glance, from dinner menus to children’s play dates. Planning out the big picture helps you budget your time better and eliminate day- to- day stress, and a day planner is a great way to do that.
On that note, enjoy your day!