Being a mom - it's not for the faint of heart. Whether you're a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, caring for a tiny person leaves you notoriously busy and often stressed out. While many would argue it's the best job in the world, it's also a challenging one, and it's essential to find ways to manage your stress and make time for your mental health, even amidst the food fights and spilled milk.
With that in mind, here are our top four stress relief tips for moms everywhere:
1. Stay organized
It's a simple yet profound thing: disorganization leads to feelings of chaos and a lack of control, which hacks up stress. This is particularly true when it comes to the house. Since our homes are where we spend the most time, it makes sense that household clutter can increase stress and anxiety. In fact, research has shown that cluttered homes raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol within the body, and can result in decreased productivity and poor mental health.
While anyone who has spent ten minutes with a toddler knows it's impossible to keep a space spic and span with a tiny tornado running around, there are ways to stay organized throughout your day.
Your number one tool here is to declutter. Get rid of everything in your home, diaper bag, purse, car, and other spaces that aren't absolutely essential. Cull your closet to make getting dressed each morning easier. Go through the kids' toy collection and donate anything they no longer play with. While this battle takes time, you'll eventually start to notice that your home feels lighter, brighter, and - yes - less stressful.
2. Set boundaries
As a mother, you love your children, and that often means you want to drop everything and give them exactly what they need, exactly when they need it. Over time, though, this leads to something we've heard moms describe as "the phantom effect" - that uncomfortable feeling that you as an individual don't exist anymore, and that your only purpose is to serve the needs and whims of others.
No matter how much you love your kids, feeling like a shell of your former self is not healthy or sustainable,
With this in mind, moms need to set boundaries. It's okay to say, "no, we're not playing right now," and create space for yourself to finish a task or have some alone time. It's also okay to let your child have a reaction to you setting boundaries, and for them to work through that without micromanaging them. In fact, establishing boundaries now helps your child learn healthy boundaries as they grow into an adult.
3. Create a ritual
You spend all day catering to the needs of a tiny human (or humans). It's only reasonable that you should also spend at least a part of everyday checking back in with yourself. With this in mind, establish a ritual every day.
This ritual doesn't have to be extensive or time-consuming - it only has to be consistent. It could be as small as turning off your phone and sitting outside for 30 minutes each day while you eat lunch and the kids nap or enjoying a bath each night. You could also take a daily yoga class, incorporate CBD and meditation practice, or enjoy a nice, calming walk around the block. The choice is yours.
4. Identify your triggers
One of the most important (and most advanced) parts of stress management is noticing your stress triggers, and learning to respond to them before they spiral out of control. Common stress triggers include environment (traffic, noisy malls and grocery stores, etc.), unpredictability, behaviors (temper-tantrums from your three-year-old, etc.), and more.
Keeping all the Balls in the Air
Being a mom is the hardest and most rewarding job in the world, and it requires lots of flexibility and a willingness to adapt. While there's no way to parent without stress, we hope these four tips will help you manage your stress and find a little more balance every day.