Things are a little crazy right now.
If you’ve been following Movement Duets for awhile you know that we’re continuing to expand our training options of in-person and our online group training program Fit Mom Foundations, we’re in the middle of our 2nd annual Making Time for Mom 21-Day Challenge and we’re also preparing to host our workshop, Pregnant to the Core, next month. In addition to all of this, I work part-time at a chiropractic clinic. And to add an interesting twist to the mix, my husband and I share a car and we’re parents to a beautiful, busy 21 month old boy. So….yeah, like I was saying, things are little crazy, haha!
All of this said, even though a lot of it has been good stress, my stress levels have been a little high lately. Now I know that I’m not the first mom to have high stress or a hectic schedule, but living in a frenzied state just isn’t for me (is it for anybody?). So, I’ve had to step up my self care game in order to not let my candle burn at both ends. You know what they say, “If momma ain’t happy……”
Here are three ways that I’m taking action to reduce stress in my life:
- Working out. This should come as no surprise. Working out is literally my therapy. When I get in touch with iron I can feel my tension leaving my body. And it’s not just what I feel or what I think, there have been numerous studies showing the benefits of exercise on your mental health.
Almost everybody has heard that exercise helps combat stress by releasing endorphins and other feel good hormones into your body, but more than that, exercise has also been shown to help your brain cope more efficiently with stress. According to an article by the American Psychological Association psychologists believe that “exercise thwarts depression and anxiety by enhancing the body’s ability to respond to stress” by giving the body the opportunity to practice dealing with stress through the imposed demands of physical activity.
So, exercise equals less stress and makes us better at dealing with stress in general….that’s a pretty good deal! And you don’t necessarily have to put in an hour at the gym to get these effects. Simply getting outside and taking a brisk walk can do the same thing!
- Prioritizing instead of multitasking. Multitasking has typically been praised as a super skill. I mean, heck, it’s usually something that people list as a strength in job interviews! And let’s face it, as a mom multitasking is sometimes necessary. But, what I’ve found is that multitasking has been decreasing my quality of life.
I’m constantly placing the demand on my brain to switch gears. I co-own and run a business, I have another part-time job, I’m a wife, mother, friend….I’m answering text messages, emails, writing Facebook posts and breastfeeding the baby, sometimes all at once! I can get so bogged down on trying to be as productive as possible by doing all of these things at once that I feel like I’m not actually being as productive as I thought! And, as is turns out, there’s research to support this:
According to Stanford researchers, “People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time.” And I’ve definitely found this to be true in my life.
Beyond being less efficient and productive overall, I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to be present with my husband and son, the two most important people in my life! And as the most important people in my life, they deserve more of me. As I’ve started to prioritize my tasks, completing them one at a time as they’ve needed to be done, I’ve actually felt more productive and therefore less preoccupied during my family time. Plus, I’m seeing more of my family and less of my phone, which feels insanely wonderful.
- Getting out of the house on the regular. In the past I’ve had more of a tendency to hide out when I get stressed out. But, what I had hoped had been the result has more often been the opposite. Don’t get me wrong, I highly value alone time. And especially as a mom that opportunity seldom arises, so to take advantage of it is key. But, I’ve also found great solace and support in leaning in on my friends and family.
And so, I spend regular time with others outside of the house. Sometimes this involves my son and sometimes is doesn’t, but either way, spending time in a different environment with someone who “gets” me always leaves me feeling heard and refreshed.
On the other hand, if I’m feeling stressed and family/friend time is not an option, another way I get out of the house on the regular is just getting outside! Going to the park and going for a walk does wonders for the soul. And even if I don’t actually speak to another person while I stroll, just being connected by nature always does the trick.
Stress is an unavoidable part of life. It’s one of the ways that we grow and develop resilience! But, letting stress take hold of your life in a way that feels constant and defeating can lead to some heavy feelings of anxiety and depression. It can even raise your blood pressure and weaken your immune system!
This is where self care comes in (we’re talking A LOT about this in our Making Time for Mom Challenge). As moms we are constantly doing everything for everyone else and things can become a real grind. I want to challenge you to not be afraid to be a little selfish! Take some time for yourself to exercise, to be in the moment and to spend time outdoors or with others, or to de-stress the way that you know you’ll enjoy! You’re just as worthy of time and attention as everyone else, and I’m certain you’ll thank yourself for it.
P.S. If exercise is part of your self care game, we’d love to have you come try a training session! Check out our list of services and class schedule here. Or, if you’re not local, check out our online option as well. Ready to get started? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.