Everybody knows that moms are stressed and busy with little time for self-care. Whether it’s staying at home and juggling watching the kids while keeping the house functioning.
Or if it’s trying to spend quality time with the kids while also maintaining a job. There’s nothing easy about parenting, and we all end up carrying way more stress than we’d like.
When silly psychologists like me suggest adding in self-care, it’s easy to laugh us in the face because “ain’t nobody got time for that”.
That’s why I decided to put together 5 easy self-care activities a busy mom can fit into her schedule.
- Visit the beach
- Use a gratitude journal
- Mindful drive
Visit the beach: Self-care for the family
Earlier this week our family had an impromptu beach trip. My wife was frustrated she got cancelled at work, and the stuff I worked on ended up being really annoying and I didn’t actually accomplish anything for all my efforts.
If we stayed home, I’m sure we would’ve gotten on each others nerves and probably snapped at the kids a few times. Instead, we packed the kids into the car and went to the beach at Sand Key Park.
It’s easy to take for granted that we live minutes from beaches that people will spend hundreds of dollars on travel and lodging to visit.
I mean Clearwater Beach has been named the top beach in the country several times! We have the Dunedin Causeway beaches where you can actually drive onto the beach and park your car so you don’t need to lug things a quarter mile while making sure the kids don’t run off.
So of course this involves putting together all the beach stuff and getting sun block on the kids. But there’s something about being with nature that is inherently relaxing. While there, make sure you take a few moments to truly feel and enjoy the sun, the breeze, the feel of the water on your skin. The water is nature’s self-care.
Those mindful moments can undo more stress than you’d imagine.
Visualize your relaxing place
If you aren’t able to actually visit the beach, finding a couple minutes to visualize your relaxing place can bring about a relaxation response.
Close your eyes, take a couple deep breaths, and use all five senses to put yourself in your favorite calming setting. It could be a cabin in the woods, laying in a field of blue bonnets, or swinging in a hammock.
The most important thing is to imagine the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and sensations you would have if you were actually there.
It may sound silly, but doing this actually lights up the same parts of the brain as when you’re physically in the situation! It’s the reason you see golfers pausing before they take a difficult shot. Visualizing themselves hitting the perfect shot is almost as good as taking a practice swing.
Visualization is self-care you can do from the comfort of your own home.
Use a Gratitude Journal
Have a journal handy or a note app on your phone where you can write down a few things you are thankful for. During those stressful moments when the kids aren’t listening, it’s easy to focus on just how overwhelming and impossible motherhood is.
When you get hooked into that state of mind, everything your kids do will just be another frustration adding fuel to the fire.
Pausing to write down 3 to 5 things you’re grateful for in life (be specific) can help prevent your mind from going down that negative path. Even in the most difficult moments of our lives, we can often find ways to feel blessed.
No you shouldn’t leave your kids at home without supervision to go for a run, but you can include the kids in a 5 minutes of craziness exercise routine.
Put on some tunes and have a dance party. Set a timer and have the kids run around being as loud as they can while you do jumping jacks or run in place. Do a few laps around the backyard while counting how many steps it takes, or noticing any wildlife.
Doing this can both help you re-center yourself, but also it can actually help kids calm down a bit if they’ve been hyper.
A lot of kids need to “speed up to slow down.” Just asking them to calm down doesn’t work, but physical activity sort of burns off the energy so they are more focused and easier to work with afterwards.
This is one of our go-to methods to occupy the kids. We have a playlist built on YouTube with fun songs like the Witch Doctor, Hakuna Matata, and What Does the Fox Say (ugh) that we stream to the TV through our Chromecast.
It auto-plays, so we can actually get some cleaning done while they’re dancing. More often than not though, we’re all twisting and jumping around together with lots of smiles and laughs. Self-care and entertaining the children… heck yeah!
Take a Mindful Drive
I can’t claim credit for this one, it was my lovely wife who found it useful a couple weeks ago.
The kids were getting on her nerves and they couldn’t go outside because of the weather, so she packed them into the car.
Our youngest was occupied with a snack, while our 3-year-old found it was fun to pretend nap… until she saw the peacocks in Dunedin.
Didn’t know that was a thing, but they all enjoyed watching the peacocks roam for awhile in relative peace and quiet!
All you need to do is focus on what’s around you in the present moment. Again, hard to focus when the kids are loud, but many kids who are going crazy at home will settle down for at least a few minutes in the car.
Loading the kids up for the sole purpose of driving can be a short break for a busy mom.
While you’re driving, instead of listening to music or talking to your kids while you’re frustrated, try noticing the beauty of your surroundings. Focus on the trees, the clouds, the feel of the steering wheel in your hands.
Being in the present moment, mindful of what’s around you helps to calm the intrusive thoughts that are so often the cause of frustration or low self-esteem.
The more often you’re able to practice being mindful, the more benefits you’ll notice in your daily life.
Hope those five tips will help you during those frustrating times we all experience when watching the kids we love.
If you think that they aren’t enough to really help you deal with the chronic underlying stress, please reach out for a free consultation. I’d love to chat with you about how your life could look. I currently have a few openings for new patients if we’re a fit.
Call me at 727-498-1809 or use the button below to schedule a consultation call.