5 Tips to Reduce Stress as a Busy Mom

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Sometimes it feels as though we can’t catch a break and get so overwhelmed with the to-do’s. If only we had more time in the day! Believe me, there are days I wish for that. But we don’t have that except for when the time falls back an hour once a year.  

Contributor, Ashlee with family As a wife, mom of 3, and business owner, life can get pretty chaotic which has increased my stress levels. My health (physically, mentally, and spiritually) is my top priority. If I’m deficient in one or more of these areas, it reflects on the way I show up for my family. I’ve had to take a step back and literally block time out of my day in my calendar to make sure I do certain things for myself.

Chronic stress will eventually lead to serious impacts on your health and quality of life.  If you’re finding yourself stressed, honestly you may not feel like you’re stressed, try one or all of these tips and see how it makes you feel. 

Breathe 

The first thing we do out of the womb is breathe. Breathing sustains us, gives life, and often gets overlooked. Taking a few minutes out of your day to breath can help reduce stress and anxiety, calm your nervous system, regulate your heart rate, and boost your immune system. 

A great method to follow is boxed breathing.  I recommend laying on your back for this exercise with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. If you’re not comfortable laying on your back you can prop yourself with a pillow or wedge.  Place one hand on your belly button and the other hand on your chest.  This type of breathing focuses on inhaling through your nose for a count of 4, holding for 4 seconds, exhaling through your mouth for 4 seconds, holding for a count of 4, then repeating for 10 more breaths.  As you inhale, you want to relax your abdomen as you feel your belly rise. As you exhale, your belly should return to its resting position. Your chest shouldn’t move much!  

I encourage you to try this one to two times a day. Especially when you’re having a rough day, remember that you have your breath. This can make a stressful day turn around in a few minutes!

Tips to breathe for stress relief

Move

The best way to boost your mood and energy is to move!  If you’re not one to exercise, don’t worry. Moving your body releases endorphins, which are your feel good hormones. It’s not a myth that exercise is good for you. It helps relieve stress, reduces your risk for heart disease and cancer, among many others. 

Hiking with family helps to lower stress

A good rule of thumb to follow is move your body 150 minutes per week, or 30 minutes most days of the week. If you’re finding this difficult to fit into your daily routine, try splitting it up and doing 10-15 minutes 2-3 times a day. Go outside! Go for a walk, a hike, ride a bike, play tag with your kids, support local and join a gym, pilates, yoga, or barre studio. The options are endless!

Another tip I like to give people is to think of movement as your daily medicine.  If you have a medication or supplement you need to take every day at a certain time, why not schedule your daily move in like that? Pencil it in to make it a priority.

And always remember to give yourself grace, mama! If you don’t get it in, don’t fret. You’re doing an amazing job! Sometimes your body just needs a rest. Take it when it needs it.

Be Still

When is the last time you took time to be still?  Took a phone break? Sat in pure silence? Journaled? 

As moms we tend to put our kids before ourselves and feel like we have to be doing something. Or look on social media because…what was I looking for? It just happens. I know you know what I’m talking about.  We tend to get so wrapped up in everything else, but we must also remember to take time to relax and focus on ourselves and our priorities. 

book, Get Our of You Head by Jennie Allen

What does being still mean to you? For me it’s praying, meditating while focusing on my breathing and positive words, or reading a book. The most recent book I read, “Get Out of Your Head” by Jennie Allen, discusses how we have a choice for our thoughts. I find this to be very fitting for this subject. We have a choice to let our thoughts spiral out of control or overcome our thoughts with truth and positivity. 

Being still doesn’t necessarily mean sitting in silence because we all know that’s not always an option. Try putting your phone by your bathroom sink, grabbing one of the books you’ve started but haven’t finished, and reading it before bed. (Don’t go get the phone when you’re done reading – go to bed!)  Chances are you’ll have a better night’s sleep!

See how you feel after you take some time away from the distractions and focus on what gives you joy!

Fuel 

Grocery shopping with child

Just as a car requires fuel (or electricity) to drive, your body needs food for energy.  The type of food we fuel our bodies with matters as well!  Food is medicine. Fueling your body with whole foods is a good place to start. When at the grocery store, aim for shopping around the periphery vs inside the store to focus on fresh foods like fruits and veggies. Start taking a look at  the ingredient list.  Choose foods with the least amount of ingredients and ingredients that you can pronounce. 

If you’re finding yourself on the go, try preparing the day ahead or at the beginning of the week to save yourself some time to ensure you get your veggies and fruits in for the day. Grabbing some nuts or simple energy balls are also simple snacks to eat while on the go! One of my favorite recipes for energy balls is:

  • 1 cup oats
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter (any kind of nut or seed butter will work)
  • ⅓ cup honey or maple syrup
  • ½ cup shredded coconut (super yummy when toasted)
  • 1-3 tsp chia seeds
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • There isn’t one right or wrong way to make an energy ball! Have fun and let your kids join in on the fun! 

Hydrate

Drinking water improves your overall function by keeping your joints lubricated, regulating Contributor, Ashleeyour temperature, boosting your immune system, improving your sleep and cognition. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your weight in ounces. Two thirds of this should come from water alone. One way to know if you’re getting enough is to keep a water bottle handy at all times. I like to keep a 32 oz bottle of water (the one I have in this picture) with me at all times. Then I always know how much I’ve drank throughout the day.  

Another way is to keep a diary of how much and what you are drinking throughout the day.  If you find yourself peeing a lot throughout the day, this may actually be why!  Not drinking enough water increases the concentration of your urine and can irritate your bladder lining, causing you to have to pee more!  If you know you aren’t getting enough water, slowly increase this.  Drastically increasing your water intake will make you have to pee more and may not make you feel great!  

If plain water isn’t your jam, try squeezing in fresh lemon or lime juice, or throwing in some frozen berries or freshly cut cucumbers! The options are endless!

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Don’t stress yourself out by adding all of these at once. Pick one and focus on that one thing for a week. Next week add a second goal. You’ve got this. If it’s helpful, make a journal and keep track of your progress. If it’s stressful, do what works for you. You’re in control of this and know your body more than anyone else. Enjoy the process!

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