I see you, Mama. Hair in a messy bun, not sure the last time you brushed your teeth or checked your appearance in the mirror. In the throws of motherhood, and unsure if there is ever going to be a light at the end of the tunnel. While everyone says to “enjoy these days” because they are fleeting, while you are in them, it feels anything but.
While it seems like there is a lot out of our control, there is a lot that we can do during our day-to-day that will help reduce anxiety and get us feeling *somewhat* like we are back in the driver’s seat again.
1. Set aside time in your day for yourself. Whether this is 5 mins, 30 mins or 2 hours; setting aside designated time within your day to do something that makes you feel more at peace can change the entire outlook of the day. This can be something as simple as meditation or breathing exercises, getting your favorite workout in, or reading a few pages of your favorite book. Because motherhood is so selfless, ensuring to take time to do something just for you gets you back into a healthy mindset to tackle the rest of your day. Talking to your partner about this, and having them be available during the time that you are needing for yourself, will make a big difference so you don’t have interruptions. Another option is scheduling this time during your children’s nap or rest. Rather than cleaning up toys right away or tackling the laundry that’s been piling up, taking time for yourself before diving into the other to-do’s will clear your mind and prepare you for the rest of your day, while lessening any pent-up resentment or aggravation you may be feeling.
2. Come up with an attainable morning schedule or routine. Obviously, each day with kids is insanely different. However, starting your day in the same manner will set you up for success navigating through whatever else may be thrown at you. This can be as simple as getting up, filling up your water bottle and adding lemon or collagen (a small act of self care), and making it a goal to finish it by noon. It can look like giving the kids a morning activity (even something as simple as a coloring book) to do at the table while you prepare breakfast, to reduce how much they need you while you are cooking the meal. Starting the day with consistent and attainable goals may change the trajectory of your day. Children often thrive on routine, in turn making you feel more in control.
3. Spend time outdoors. Did you know that studies show that being in nature lowers your stress-hormone cortisol and decreases your heart rate?! 20 mins is the amount of time you should spend outside in nature, like a neighborhood park, three times a week. A new study concluded that something as painless as a 20-minute stroll through a city botanical garden can boost cognition and memory as well as improve feelings of well-being. No need to put too much stress around this, even sitting outside in the back yard with the kiddos makes a difference, upping your vitamin D levels and reducing those stress hormones.
4. Last and most importantly, seek therapy. Talking to a therapist can help you gain a better understanding of your emotions, manage stress and anxiety, and set you up with long term coping skills. You should never feel alone in motherhood, and finding the right therapist can truly change your life. Check out https://www.cuttingedge-therapy.com/adults for more information and resources.