Yes, the coronavirus has slowed aspects of our lives – but for you, mama, life seems busier – and perhaps even more stressful than usual. No matter what your version of motherhood looks like, there are always new roads to navigate. But despite the craziness, you deserve to feel relaxed. Here are some simple ways mamas can de-stress this difficult season:
1. Be Like Your Kids
First, I’m sure everybody knows that exercise is a healthy activity and can reduce stress levels. But sometimes just hearing or thinking ‘I need to get some exercise’ is an overwhelming task.
So approach it differently.
Start doing the activities your kids are doing (age-adapted, of course). For instance, take a look at your children. No matter their age, unless they’re watching television or reading, they’re probably moving around. If you do what they do, you’ll be more active.
Are they crawling around on the floor? Do it. Are they jumping rope? Take a turn. Are they climbing on your outdoor play-set, swinging on the swing, playing hopscotch, or baseball? Join in. These are great ways mamas can de-stress and have fun!
Most importantly, there are several benefits when you just jump in – especially when it’s a fun outdoor activity:
Your kids love the attention and interaction.
You will move more – and probably use muscles you didn’t remember you had!
You’ll likely laugh a little (maybe even a lot). The combination of moving around and laughing is an excellent mix of endorphins.
2. Turn Off the News
Turning off the news is one of the simplest ways mamas can de-stress. In the same vein, most mental health experts will tell you to look for the positive and try to choose gratitude in stressful situations. But right now, it seems almost impossible to find a positive source of input.
Of course, that’s not really true. You just need to look in a different place.
Therefore, mama, you will need to turn off the news and spend a lot less time consuming social media (like next to no time). To fill in the gap, find a pretty spiral notebook or journal and start making a list of the things you are grateful for. As your list grows, you start to look around more and notice wonderful things that have been in hiding.
3. Splurge on the Good Stuff!
While you’re consuming less of the bad, I encourage you to splurge a little on the good.
I’m talking about local, seasonal produce. There is nothing better tasting (or more nutritional) than fresh, local produce. To clarify, I’m not saying you need to break your budget. I’m just suggesting you choose your favorite seasonal fruit or vegetable and splurge on it. Where appropriate, grab some locally grown sweet corn, peaches, berries, or watermelon.
Have your own garden? Then, make getting and eating it a big event with your children. You and your family will all benefit from the delicious flavors, higher nutrition, and even build a family memory or two.
I have precious memories of my parents and siblings each eating nearly a dozen ears of just-picked sweet corn! Of course, now, my children enjoy ‘our event’ of eating fresh sweet corn too.
4. Stay Connected to Mentors
Staying connected to friends and family is a little more challenging right now, but it’s possible to follow social distancing recommendations and still connect with others. And there’s always the online video options.
At this point, we all know how to stay connected. But I want to focus on who you connect with.
It might seem like the perfect time to call a friend and vent your frustrations. However, talking about the negatives isn’t going to help you de-stress in most cases. Instead, reach out regularly to mentors who can fill you with encouragement. You need to know you are doing a good job, mama.
A mentor will inspire you to slow down and smell the roses.
5. Rest in God’s Presence
One of the best ways mamas can de-stress during this challenging time? Spend time with the Lord.
Our culture pushes lots of methods for self-care. Culturally driven self-care puts the focus on ourselves. But, as I wrote in my book, The Self-care Impact: Motivation and Inspiration for Wellness, the enemy benefits when we put our energy into popular and cultural methods to improve our lifestyles because we put our focus on ourselves instead of the Lord.
When we focus on ourselves, we feel more stress. When we focus on the Lord, we find rest and peace and are given the calm consistency that helps us overcome our struggle of just slowing down. We find:
The blessings God places around us
Opportunities to serve the Lord
Opportunities to allow the Lord to equip and prepare us
You need that, mama.
Featured Image Credit: Omar Lopez