You don’t need a vacation to be recharged from stress. Moms can unwind with simple daily practices and habits that help you relax well.
I’ve come to realize in recent months that the act of processing (or de-stressing, releasing tension, relaxing, unwinding, etc.) is very important as a busy woman and tired mom.
And particularly if you are a stressed mom. Doctors and counselors and and research and experts tell us that the build-up of stress and responsibility and To-Do lists that never get fully crossed off can truly weigh us down.
It’s not one day that makes your heart weary. And it’s not two piles of laundry that makes you want to have the whole house go around desnudo just to spare yourself the chore.
It isn’t only Thursday’s dinner menu that has you thinking perhaps the whole family should go on a juice fast.
It is the build up.
It’s the day after day after day filled with things after responsibilities after chores after life. Relationships and friendships and jobs and duties and, well, just life. And it happens day after day.
Habits and routines for moms to unwind from daily life with kids
It often feels like in the day to day mom grind there’s no way moms can unwind. But, rest assured, there is.
Don’t wait for a few days every 6 months away from your family, like a mom vacation, to relax. In order to meet your daily responsibilities you need daily habits to keep you sane.
Find healthy ways to unwind from stress of mom life
The end-of-the-day feels as though it’ll never arrive.
Then – miraculously – it arrives and yet what do we do?
Fill it with things that add to our stress, prevent us from unwinding, or simply cause us to be even more tired. We watch shows that cause us anxiety, we scroll social media which makes us think our lives aren’t great, and we stay up too late when we need to sleep.
Truly, there are far more healthy ways moms can unwind, so find something that gives life.
- Creative pursuits
- Writing in your journal
- A bubble bath, massage, eye mask
- Reading a (not stress inducing) book
- Light exercise that doesn’t get your adrenaline pumping, like light walking or stretching
The key is to find something that is easily accessible and that is not an escape, but rather a release.
I like to take 30 minutes to 1 hour and just be with myself. Walking, a hot bath or just laying on the couch.
The key is: no media, no phones, no books, no distractions. My mind races, thoughts come and go, emotions come and go.
Sometimes nothing coherent is “decided” or I don’t arrive at any conclusion, but afterwards it is as though all that activity in my brain has simply settled into its place and I feel peace and quiet.
Avoid escaping life as a means to cope
A former boss told me of an unhealthy coping mechanism he had.
Because work was only a few steps away from home, it was hard to “shut off.” So, I used to come in, walk straight to the couch, and watch TV for an hour or so to unwind.
Eventually, it caused a lot of conflict in my marriage and with my kids so I’ve had to learn different ways to unwind that work for me and my family.
Things like excessive TV watching, scrolling, or video games may take your mind off your worries, burdens or responsibilities, but they are not actually recharging you.
If we can’t go a night without something entertaining us, this is a RED FLAG we have some repressed emotions that need dealing with. That’s not to say entertainment is bad, but when used as a constant escape from life, it can be counterproductive to our mental health.
Moms can unwind without it.
Learn your stress triggers
I am an over-analyzer, over-thinker and all around Type A neurotic. I’m not saying I’m proud of it, I’m just saying I know myself.
For example, exhaustion or out-of-control environments (and I don’t mean spontaneous fun environments) cause me a lot of stress. If I’m really tired then I am impatient and I wake up in a bad mood.
Here are common stress triggers for moms:
- Being exhausted (if kids aren’t sleeping well, now it’s time to consider sleep training)
- Feeling overwhelmed with life (time to simplify, cut down on outside commitments, and make your home life easier)
- Children not obeying? It’s stressful when kids don’t listen, work on their listening skills now.
- Having no time to yourself. Find time in the everyday (you can do it) to rewind and relax.
Unwind and recharge daily, instead of in mental health emergencies
Don’t wait until you are depressed to start putting good wind down habits in place. If you wait to do things for yourself until you’re frantic, you’re simply stacking apples back on an overturned cart.
This is what life is like in survival mode.
By putting regular habits into place you can avoid getting into serious mental health situations that are harder to climb out of.
Determine your boundaries and limits and protect them
This is where you learn to let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no” and you learn to not give kneejerk responses that commit you to doing things you don’t want to do.
Learn to evaluate whether you are stretching yourself beyond your healthy limits and, when necessary, stop it. You can’t be everything to everyone. But as a mother, you will have to be pretty much everything to the little ones in your life and, as such, they are going to take priority in this season of life over other things.
Value yourself and your contribution to your family. Part of valuing yourself is giving yourself space to breathe. Space to unwind. Space to do the things that you always think about doing but can’t seem to “find the time” to do.
Perhaps work out an arrangement with a friend to swap childcare every so often and give you a morning or – shock of all shocks – a day to yourself.
Think creatively. Evaluate your needs. Heck, you may have buried your needs in the back of your closet with your pre-pregnancy pants. Unearth those puppies and get back into them.
Both of them. Trust me, you’ll feel more like yourself. And the more “yourself” you feel, the more of yourself you’ll have to give to those who depend on you.