This article is the first in the Mommy Overwhelm series. Next, we'll share ideas on food, herbs and supplements to strengthen your resistance to stress and battle depression, some positive parenting affirmations and how to recognize the signs of parental overwhelm.
Parenting can be overwhelming at times. Sometimes it can even seem as if there is not one minute to take care of yourself. Yet self care is really important to stay balanced.
Going out to a spa for a day to be pampered head to toe might seem enticing, but is often simply impossible with small children at home (and quite expensive). Since for many of us, date night and long baths are out of the question, specifically in periods where we're dealing with an ill child, or lots of change, here are some restful activities that take less than 15 minutes!
|Image: Greg Riegler|
- Drink a large glass of cold water. Mindfully drinking your glass of water, really tasting it, sensing the cool liquid go down and invigorates your body. Feel it getting absorbed and nourishing every cell of your body. This simple activity refreshes and rehydrates you, but also brings you back in the moment.
- Pour yourself a cup of tea. Making yourself a nice cup of tea, with carefully selected herbs, stirring in a spoon of honey, or some stevia, can be a beautiful mindful ritual. But prepare and drink with mindfulness in order to enjoy its relaxing effects.
- Take a hot shower. Showering instantly relaxes the body, as it is such a sensory experience. If you have some scrubbing salts or oats at hand, give yourself a scrub. Scrub away any stress, frustration or anger you may be feeling.
- Do one yoga pose and hold for a couple of minutes. An entire yoga session might be out of order, but you will find the time to do one pose. Even if you're not an experienced yogi, you can easily find yoga poses by googling them. This will stretch your muscles and reconnect you to your body.
- Breathe deeply. In through the nose, out through the mouth. This is probably the easiest of exercises and can be done in the moment.
- Meditate. 3 minutes of meditation, if done daily, are better than one hour once a month. Set aside these three minutes, make it a ritual - like when you get up in the morning, or before you go to sleep. If you are experiencing difficulties to disconnect, it can be helpful to repeat a mantra - whichever you want to focus on. Or hang a mandala on your wall and really focus on that. Or a candle... Possibilities are endless. Just don't give up when you find it challenging. It does get easier and really helps to handle daily stress.
- Walk barefoot outside. Walking on the earth grounds you and helps shedding negative energy. Plus it feels really great.
- Repeat a set of affirmations. You can write your own, or find some online. Keep them available, maybe even hang them on the wall and repeat them every time you pass them.
- Give yourself a pedicure. What? I don't have time for this! Yes you do... but don't see it as one big session that takes an hour. Do a bit every day. Soak and rub your feet on day one. apply moisturizer day two. Cut and file day three... etc
- Give yourself a manicure. Like with the pedicure, if you are taking this one step at a time, you'll have a self care activity that doesn't take an hour.
- Give yourself a facial massage. You don't need to go to a spa to be pampered. You don't even need expensive cosmetics: just standing in the kitchen, maybe waiting for your vegetables to cook, you could massage your face for a couple of minutes (olive or coconut are available in your kitchen ;) ).
- Apply a cold eye mask. There are some gel masks available in any cosmetic store which you can simply put in the fridge and apply when you have a minute, but you can just as easily run cold water over a small towel and apply that. Want something more sensory? Pour cooled chamomile tea on your towel, or put slices of cucumber on your eyes.
- Scrub your face. Again, nothing fancy needed: kitchen salt, sugar or oats will do the trick and give you another great sensory activity.
- Run cold water over your wrists and splash it in your face. The cold water will not only refresh you, it will instantly bring you back in the moment.
- Sing loudly to a song you really like. Singing is something that really works on our emotions, it connects us to deeper layers of ourselves.