9 Oct 2017

5 Quick Stress Relief Tips for Busy Mums

As I've now hit the big 4.0 I've found my body has started behaving differently than before and I'm finding how I deal with stress has changed too. Before I could manage more stress and it didn't affect me but now it seems that my stress is manifesting itself as physical symptoms so I'm having to find ways to manage it. Mine are appearing in the form of migraines and also Irritable bowel Syndrome - until I actually got these and linked them back to stress, I wouldn't have believed it myself.

Lots of the advice I came across just didn't work for my lifestyle, with two small children, multiple school runs and a business that takes up evenings I couldn't just drop everything and do some stress busting hot yoga or take myself off for a long walk. So below are my five top tips on how I get a little stress relief in my life at the moment.

Fresh Air

I've read lots of advice saying 'take yourself off for a long walk in nature' but this seemed impossible and with a 6yr old and 3yr old, trying to coerce them into coming on any type of walk just wasn't something that would work for us.  It would in all probability be a more stressful walk as I have to carry one whilst the other moans at me. So my quick fix is walking around the garden with headphones in and listening to a podcast or two, I usually make sure the kids are otherwise engaged with the TV or colouring or out in the garden running rings around me whilst I do it.

Failing that I go upstairs and stick my head out of a window and just breathe (breathe in for four...hold for two...breathe out  for four). Repeat as many times as you need.

DIY Neck Massage 

I get a lot of knots in my shoulders and neck - probably because I hold my shoulders up somewhere near my ears most days! My migraines (stress induced I think) started getting worse and more frequent and I stumbled on this remedy by accident. I started to get a bad head one day whilst sitting in traffic and so started rubbing the back of my neck and I could feel the headache becoming less severe so I kept it up and so far I've been able to fend off quite a few migraines since doing this. So use two fingers and massage at the base of your neck in little round movements, then work across the top of one shoulder and back to centre and across the other shoulder. I also move down my back finding patches that feel tender to the touch (surface touch really) and spend time kneading those until they no longer hurt.

Focus on Food

This has always been a tough one for me as I'm a bit of an emotional eater at the best of times but when my mood dips or I feel stressed, the first thing I do is reach for all the rubbish foods I can. I also forget to drink water and as I get dehydrated too it all becomes a downhill spiral...most days I try and drink two litres of water which helps with my migraines and keeps me hydrated. Now as soon as I realise I'm feeling stressed or down I'll go into the kitchen and pour a large (cold) glass of water and then Ill drink it in one go. It does need to be really cold and it gives me a sort of brain freeze feeling, I find my focus shifts to the cold water and away from the stress. I also try and snack on things that can boost my mood such as Omega rich foods (my go to is smoked salmon) but failing that I'd have avacado or some blueberries with fluffy cream - well a girls got to have some treats!

Write it all down

I have a notebook now that is dedicated to my brain, it may not always make sense and I definitely don't read it back but it helps get it all out on paper. I usually write it in list form (just because that's my favourite writing method). I try to worry about it for five minutes - setting a timer if I need to - and then I try and let it all go. It doesn't always work but by putting it on paper it really does make it seem a lot less stressful but please don't do as I once did before the notebook where I wrote on any old scrap before realising I'd written on the back of a form that I had to send back into school with my daughter! Now that created a whole new level of stress that day!!!

Give In to It

Now before you abandon all hope, this one isn't quite what it seems so don't just give in! Grab a hot-water bottle, a big fluffy blanket (or jumper) and surrender. Get yourself some calming scents like lavender, basil or believe it or not...a lemon. Sniff away on these whilst relaxing and try and get yourself to a place of calm. If its a super stressful day for me I sometimes put lots of perfume on (actually drown myself in it) to the point the kids look me up and down suspiciously and ask me where I'm going (as I usually only wear perfume when I'm going out out).

What next...

If all else fails just give yourself time and try and stockpile some little tricks that give you an instant de-stress. Mine is often as simple as sitting down with a hot coffee and a biscuit and pretending the 101 things I need to do just aren't there. There are also lots of apps that can help you meditate although be warned, I have one that sends a message at 5pm every day that says "Time to Meditate" and it drives me mad because I really don't have time to meditate at 5pm!!

Do you have any quick tips?
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