I don't know about you, but last year was exhausting. I was exhausted. All the time. Sometimes I was just "surviving" till the moment I could get to my bed.
Over the last few months, I’ve made it a bit of a personal mission to find ways to de-stress, no matter how tight the schedule. Sometimes, that means a 15-minute podcast in the car or a few minutes of meditation at my desk. It makes a world of difference and stops my hectic schedule getting the best of me or my mood.
The demands of parenting seem to get more stressful with every year, and then there’s work, friends, your relationship. That’s not even considering time for yourself and your own hobbies, or your kids' extracurricular activities.
With everything we have to schedule, it can be hard to combat stress when it finds us. I don’t know about you, but my Instagram is full of the same self-care tips and motivational quotes as most people I know, and I still fall victim to the sense that I should be accomplishing more, doing better for my kids, and my partner.
If you’re feeling stretched a little thin, as I have plenty of times, these are my go-to ideas to de-stress, recharge, and get back to yourself on the go.
1. Try Some Deep Breathing
Meditation and mindfulness in a busy house may seem impossible. But working five minutes of deep breathing exercises into your day can have a huge impact on your mood, heart rate, and cortical levels.
That helps keep you focused throughout the day. Take the few minutes in the shower, or at your desk at work, and practice deep breathing techniques, feet flat on the floor, and deep breaths in, with your spine straight. After only a few minutes, you should feel relaxed, and ready to take on the day.
2. Get A Massage
Booking a massage may not be the most practical way for a busy parent to de-stress, but it sure does help me get through the day. If you can’t get away, a great option is a self-massage or even a massage chair. Everyone in the family can use it, even the kids. It’s great for a home office since it means you can unwind even while you’re at your most stressed.
3. Reinvest In Yourself
This is one of the hardest and most guilt-ridden minefields to navigate, especially for mothers. But if you’re feeling like the pressures of the world are starting to get to you, the best thing to do is to take time to reconnect with the things you love.
Taking time for yourself will help you be a better parent, partner, and even employee, but sometimes, it goes a little deeper than a bubble bath. If you don’t have time to pursue a hobby, try podcasts or audiobooks on a closet interest, as part of your commute. Take ten minutes with a language learning app, or try a weekly art or cooking class.
Pursuing your passion doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money, or even a lot of time. But it’ll help you keep focused and feeling like yourself. For me, it was taking up climbing again.
4. Unwind As A Family
My kids never fell for the “Let’s have a contest to see who can be quiet the longest” games, but that doesn’t mean you can’t de-stress as a family. Take regular walks or bike rides around the neighborhood together. Get outside and play a team sport. Or take the time to do a family art project.
My youngest loves to “help” in the kitchen, and most of the time, it just leaves a mess. But on Sunday afternoons, we bake together, and it’s a great way for me to stay sane, and reconnect with myself and my kids. Plus, it’s delicious!
Between kids, work, and everything in between, life can get pretty busy. It’s not always easy to take the time you need to recharge, and often, it doesn’t take long before the whole family is feeling the effects.
Fortunately, disconnecting and recharging doesn’t have to mean a day at the spa or a week of vacation time. You can squeeze in time for you, your partner, and your kids in little ways, to help you handle the demands of your busy schedule. Maybe you won’t have it all, but you can have it a little at a time!