Updated: Dec 9, 2019
I hear you sweet mummy, it's totally like Groundhog Day. The baby kept you up half the night, the other kids woke up late again this morning and no one co-operated to get out the door. By the time you actually got them to school (with minutes to the bell) and you crawled through rush hour traffic, you ended up being late for the meeting you were supposed to host. Again.
It doesn't get any prettier when you fall in the door at the end of the day with no idea what's for dinner and a cranky family at your ankles.
Stress is an avoidable presence our lives these days, but it really seems to ramp up when you are juggling the responsibilities of a family, even if you are a stay at home mum or studying. This means as women, we are all spending way too much time in “fight or flight” mode. And it’s taking a toll on our bodies through weakened immune systems, hormonal imbalances, high blood pressure, threats of Type II diabetes, and heart disease. These conditions shorten our lives and lower the quality of what’s left. And yet for the most part, they are completely avoidable!
How To Send Stress Packing
There are lots of strategies for managing stress, but when stress blindsides us with no time to prepare, we don’t need strategy. We need quick, practical steps we can take NOW that work fast and can be done anywhere. When stress launches it’s next surprise attack, try one of these proven stress relievers.
Breathing deeply is the single most effective way to stay calm. Everyone breathes, but a lot of us breathe the wrong way–shallow, fast, and high in the chest. This kind of breathing is restrictive, it increases our anxious feelings, and it fuels our body’s negative stress reactions.
Slow, deep breathing triggers a relaxation response, calming the body and focusing the mind. It increases the amount of oxygen in our blood, raising our performance potential.
Are you breathing the right way? To find out, try this: put one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen just below your rib cage. Now breathe. Which hand moves? If it’s the hand on your chest, your breathing is too shallow.
The trick is to make the hand on your abdomen move. Inhale deeply while you slowly count to five. Try to get your abdomen to expand instead of your chest. If you have trouble making it happen, try it lying on your back. With a little practice and patience, you’ll be able to shift into a deep breathing pattern automatically. Once you learn the technique of deep breathing, you can do it anytime.
After you have your breathing under control and are starting to feel a bit more clam, take it a step further and pour yourself a warm cuppa. Hydration can make us feel cranky and irritable. Be sure you are not dehydrated by sipping on a warm herbal tea. It's like a loving hug for your insides and if you choose well, can have mood boosting health benefits.
One of my faves for this purpose is Detox Tea by Arbonne. made with a blend of 6 botanicals. Herbs like dandelion, peppermint, elder flower, sweet fennel and licorice root are well known to soothe and detox the body gently. Catch your breath with a time out and follow it up with a warm cuppa.
Short Burst Movement
You're probably rolling your eyes. Yes, I am a personal trainer and advocate regular exercise, but this is different. When those overwhelming feelings take over you need to jar the senses and derail the panic, emotions and stress. One highly effective way to do this is by leaping to your feet and moving your body. A round of 10 jumping jacks, 60 seconds running on the spot or knee highs works wonders and triggers a happy hormone response. Stress doesn't stand a chance.
I guarantee you this works. The hardest part will be jumping to your feet when you just want to collapse from the pressure. But if you give it a go, you soon find a burst of energy takes over. Its also highly distracting, giving you something else other than the stress to focus on.
I recommend when you are on overwhelm, you pack the kids up and hit the playground. And by that, I mean you too! Get a fun obstacle course going, chase them through the equipment from one side to the other. This sort of sudden, short burst exercise is as good for the kid's mood as it will be yours. Don't think it will help? Prove me wrong and go try it!
Tempt The Senses
No, this is not a green light to binge on chocolate or your favourite comfort food. Tempting the senses with a calming or fresh scent from essential oils can do wonders in a stressful moment. For example, the Rescue & Renew collection of essential oils that I use, provides a sparkling blend of oils like orange, lavender, rosemary, and ginger to foster harmony. Just a few drops in a diffuser helps to promote a relaxing ambience to inspire an overall sense of well-being. Or I use my mini diffuser and have a deep breathe to breathe in the calming effects.