Stress is a normal part of life. It is simply a physical, emotional, and psychological reaction to anything that requires attention or action. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to function!
However, when in excess it can feel very uncomfortable. Stress can not only feel unpleasant, it can have adverse effects on your health. This can be different for everyone, so if you think stress is negatively affecting you, it can be good to take a closer look at how it is affecting you– this could be anything from impacts on work or relationships, to physical fatigue, problems sleeping, or reduced immunity.
We know that reducing our stress is good for our health, but it can feel almost impossible to find ways to reduce stress when you’re a busy mum. The good news is stress reduction doesn’t have to be a taxing task. You can start by making small changes that, with practice, can become simple healthy habits that make maintaining your wellbeing manageable.
Exercise is like medicine for stress! By exercising, you are giving your body a healthy outlet for excessive stress. You can really feel your body relax after working up a sweat. But when do you find the time or energy to exercise?! If there simply isn’t the time or capacity to schedule regular exercise, that doesn’t mean your stress should have to suffer. Simple changes like walking to the shops instead of driving, or choosing the stairs instead of the lift can give your body the boost it needs to fight off unnecessary stress. It might not sound like much, but your mind and body will thank you!
Like exercise, healthy food fuels your body to fight stress. Eating a wide variety of healthy foods like wholegrains, fruits, vegetables, and proteins allows your body sufficient energy to function optimally and maximise physical and emotional energy. Healthy foods fuel our immune systems, promote good digestion, and reduce inflammation. This can leave you feeling physically and mental at your best. If keeping up with healthy cooking is too taxing, consider cooking in bulk to prepare for the week, or try a meal prep company to maximise your time.
Connect with friends and family
We all want to feel loved and connected. Feeling a sense of closeness and unity to someone or something is a fundamental part of life. Social connection allows us to let off steam and release tension, making it an important part in stress reduction. Even something as simple as a quick coffee with an old friend can give you the boost you need to get through a busy week. Where you can, make social connection a priority and feel the benefits.
Practicing gratitude is a fast-track way to feeling positive. It’s about giving thanks for what you have right now. Gratitude helps you to stay in the present, rather than worrying about the past or the future. It allows you to accept all the good that life has to offer. Even when things are tough, there is always something to be grateful for. By acknowledging what is good in your life, it makes the burden of life’s stress a little smaller. Slow down and take a minute every day to think about what you are grateful for.
Try consciously thinking about, or writing down, something you’re grateful for at the end of each day. You can even do this as a family at dinner time and share one thing each.
Everyday I choose three things I am grateful for and write it down in a gratitude journal. I love getting to the end of a week and seeing all the great things I’ve acknowledged in the last week!
Your breath is your anchor to the present moment. Deep breathing slows down the mind and encourages the relaxation response in our body. It has a strong calming effect and is a powerful weapon against excessive stress.
Whenever you start to feel overwhelmed or anxious, try to focus on your breathing. Attach mindful breathing to everyday tasks– like washing the dishes or brushing your teeth. Before you know it you’ll be practicing healing breathing throughout your day! It’s a great way to control stress long term.
Like breathing, mindfulness can slow down your thoughts and reduce stress. Mindfulness is about turning off that ‘auto-pilot’ and acknowledging the present moment. Using all your senses, mindfulness allows you to stop and appreciate all that you have around you.
- Watch the sunrise or
- Listen to music or a meditation like my short morning meditation.
- Enjoy the taste of your
- Take in the smells while cooking
- Enjoy the feel of a cozy
Try Yin Yoga
Take some time for yourself and give your body what it needs to recharge. Yin Yoga is a slow, restorative Yoga that is suitable for all bodies and experience. By slowing down your mind and body, you are gifting your body with gratitude and relaxation. Yin Yoga releases stress, worry and unease. The slow movements encourage you to sit with your emotions and learn to accept them. This can have lasting benefits with your mental wellbeing, well beyond the end of the practice.