Being a 21st century mom is a 24/7 job, and most of us are doing it in addition to a 40-hour workweek. From school meetings and healthy lunches to piano lessons and squabbles over screen time, surviving the day can be a heady task that leaves little room to enjoy your partner, kids, or yourself. If you’re like most mothers, an ordinary day can leave you feeling increasingly frazzled, and the stress of trying to stay on top of it all can have deleterious consequences on your health, happiness, and relationships. While it may seem impossible to truly get the rest you need at this point in time, there are ways to pause and gain some refreshment. Short of taking a two-week solo vacation, here are seven ways you can press the reset button, and they all take 10 minutes or less.
Smartphones, televisions, gaming consoles, radios, and laptops all compete for our attention, and they also contribute to that feeling of being pulled in too many directions at once. When you’re stretched too thin, turn everything off. Doing so will allow you to spend an evening or afternoon in peace and quiet, where everyone is present to everyone else throughout your home. That email can wait, the news will replay itself, and you can return phone calls later. Relish the way it feels to be where you are without the outside world constantly asserting itself on you and your family.
2. Sit Down to a Cup of Tea
Drinking tea has been a ritual of self- and other-care for 5,000 years. Whether you love a hot cup of Darjeeling or the calming refreshment of Chamomile from Buddha Teas, put a pot of water on the stove; brew your favorite cup of tea; tell your family you’re taking a break, and sit down to the wonders that a cup of tea can hold.
3. Write It Out
Writing is an excellent way to experience a break from the demands of your daily life. Sit down at your kitchen table with a few sheets of paper or a journal, and write without interruption for at least 10 minutes. From concerns about a child to complaints about your job, writing helps re-locate the troubles you are experiencing to a place outside of your body and mind. This can not only provide you with insight into your problems, but will work wonders for your stress level.
4. Take a Walk
Exercise is one of the most efficient and reliable stress relievers known to humankind, but few people make room for it. After your evening meal, head outside for a quick walk around the block. It will aid in digestion and speed endorphins throughout your body, leaving you feeling refreshed and with an improved mood.
5. Be Grateful
There are probably plenty of things in your life that you wish were easier, simpler, or completely different, but the odds are pretty good that there are things about your life that you love, as well. Spend a little time reflecting upon what does work well in your life. Is your partner loving and helpful? Did your son make the honor roll? Are you up for a promotion at work? Did your sister just have a baby? Acknowledge the good that’s in your life. The practice of being thankful helps lessen the weight of difficult times.
6. Make a List
Do you try to remember all the things you need to get done today? Tomorrow? This week? Stop spending energy keeping a mental list! Take 10 minutes to write down everything you need to accomplish — or record it in an app on your smartphone. As you complete tasks, cross them out or erase them. As new activities demand attention, write them down. It will free up your mind, alleviate tension headaches, and help you feel like you’re getting things done.
7. Ask for Help
Pride is not your friend when it comes to feeling frazzled. Whether your house needs cleaning or you need someone else to pick your kids up from piano lessons, sometimes it’s essential to ask for help. From hiring a housekeeper or sitter to asking a friend to act as chauffeur, there’s no shame in needing assistance with a hectic life. Recognize your limitations, and pick up the phone.
Feeling stressed is a common experience for most mothers, but it doesn’t have to always be that way. From drinking a calming cup of tea to journaling about your difficulties, small moment scattered throughout your day can add up to mighty stress busters if you let them.