It’s the kids screaming. It’s deadlines approaching. It’s family conflict that won’t let up.
We all get stressed.
There are lots of studies out there about what hormones are released, whether it’s good or bad, who experiences it more or less (interestingly, I read recently that mothers in Colorado are more stressed than others because of significant financial pressures plus the never ending responsibilities of running a household).
What you don’t need are more statistics. What you do need are a few tried and true tips for coping with stress and helping it ease up a bit:
I’ve started--and admittedly had trouble maintaining--a meditation habit in the morning. 20 minutes of laying on the floor thinking no thoughts proved to be too tough for me, so I tried 10 minutes of basic yoga moves with deep breathing and focusing my thoughts on my breath and then 10 minutes or so of laying on my back, trying to think no thoughts.
I’m kidding about the "no thoughts," but only kind of.
A tip I’ve heard is to try to imagine yourself on the bottom of the river, letting thoughts float along above you. You might get distracted by one. Not a big deal. Give it a mental tap up to the surface of the water so it can continue to float on by.
Ok. I’ve mentioned this about 12 billion times, but I really believe running helps my mental health more than anything else. Start with something small. Start with a walk, if you need to, but make a commitment to yourself to get out every day, no matter the weather. Be alone. Move your body. Get your heart rate up.
It will help. I promise.
Clutter can be stressful. If I’m trying to make a meal surrounded by the dishes of the previous meal, I’m a crazy woman! The answer: take 10 minutes to clean up before launching into a project. Help your kids find their way to good habits in this regard, too. Remind them to clean up one project before starting another, and try your best to set a good example. (Special hint: I don’t think closets need to be perfect. If tidying up in ten minutes means shoving a few things in a closet and saving that mess for another day, I’m ok with that. Usually.)
Nothing will shift the energy in your brain or in your household more than getting on the floor for a good wrestling, tickling, giggle-fest. It can be hard to get started, but once you pull someone towards you, they usually give in pretty quickly.
5) Help Someone
Remember volunteering? Remember when we were young and had nothing but time on our hands and volunteering was something we did only once in a while because we thought we were so busy. Now we actually are busy and between laundry, work, meal prep, cleaning and parenting awesome kids, there can’t possibly be time to volunteer. But what if there is? What if you just popped into some organization and said,
“I have a couple hours, is there something I can do for you?”
Or what if you made a little extra dinner for a neighbor who lives alone? I sometimes get caught in a trap of thinking if I can’t commit to volunteering once a week for the next six months then it’s not worth it, but I don’t think that’s true. The lift you will feel inside from helping someone out is so worth whatever logistics it might take to make it happen—give it a shot. You might be surprised what you’re able to do.
Well, those are a few of my thoughts. What ideas do you have? Leave a comment below with your tips for handling stress that you think others might benefit from hearing.
Holly Freeman is not a therapist (clearly), but she is a Colorado family photographer with a passion for seeing mamas and their families thrive. She loves to capture tender moments and help preserve them for years into the future in a way that best matches each family’s unique needs and aesthetics. Reach out to learn more about what photo sessions look and feel like.