Sidestep Stress in 3 Easy Steps (for busy moms)

It is pretty safe to say that moms from all stages and walks of life are what make the world go ‘round. It doesn’t matter if you’re a mother to children, adults, or fur-babies (in the case of yours truly). Moms take care of seemingly everyone and everything, except they often put themselves low on the priority list. Does this sound familiar?

In recognition of all the hard working, busy (and yes, stressed out) moms, I became inspired to write this blog to share some simple stress-busting tips. I have witnessed (and experienced) firsthand the toll it takes when we burn out by busting out our schedule with way too many ‘to-do’s’ (and too few ‘take-care-of-me’) activities.  The end result is a downward spiral, making us feeling defeated, depleted and discouraged, derailing us from our health goals even further. This effect is cyclical - if you’re running on empty, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to give your all to others. Much less, to yourself.

So, this Mother’s Day, take some much-deserved TLC. To help, here’s our top 3 tips to refresh, recharge, and refocus (so you can continue to be the awesome take-charge, get-things-done, mom that we know you are :)!

1.    Schedule dedicated 'me' time.

What is something we all crave, never get enough of, and makes all busy, stressed out moms feel more relaxed than anything else? That’s right – 'me' time. Signs you’re not giving yourself enough ‘me’ time include irritability, crankiness, and well, more irritability and crankiness (lol).

So, get out your scheduler and start writing in designated ‘me’ time. Don’t let anything else get in the way of it – it’s as important as any other appointment you make (in fact, more important!).

Ideas:

  • Take a relaxing bubble bath. I’m talking go all out – candles, rose petals, and a big delicious glass of wine (and not the cheap stuff – you deserve only the best). Ahhhh….you can feel the stress melting already, can’t you?
  • Three words for you: Bed, book, breakfast. That’s right – breakfast in bed with your favourite book (or Netflix, I won’t judge as I do the same!). There is just something about a lazy morning that is so wonderfully rejuvenating. For those of you with little ones thinking “I wish, that’s never going to happen!”, perhaps this isn’t the best option for you but perhaps it can happen with some careful planning including a cooperative hubby and morning kids' activities outside the house.

What type of ‘me’ time resonates with you? Take 30 seconds right now and brainstorm all your favourite ‘me’ time activities and then make a regular routine of putting them into your weekly schedule. Comment below your favourite stress-busting 'me' time activity!

2.    Eat what you love, mindfully.

I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I hear my clients express how ‘bad’ or ‘guilty’ they feel for eating certain foods, or at certain times, or certain amounts. While I addressed this in detail in a recent blog, the key point here is to realize that all foods really do fit!  By thinking otherwise, creates stress.

Whether it be ice-cream (my personal favourite), chocolate, buttery movie theatre popcorn, cake, or cookies (or a combo of all the above!), have it, enjoy it, and don’t feel the least bit guilty or stressed about it. The key is to eat mindfully (in other words, consume said food consciously until we feel satisfied vs scarfing it down till only crumbs remain and we feel stuffed). When we eat in this intuitive way, we feel content with less food, cravings subside (i.e. we’re programmed to want what we think we “can’t” have so by opening that door to all-foods-fit, you’ll ironically start wanting less), and best of all, you all the stress you feel about what to eat and how to eat begin to melt away.

Ideas:

3.    Get moving.

Research irrevocably shows that we are happier, healthier, and less stressed when we exercise on a regular basis1. Yet only 15% of us actually exercise on a regular basis2! This is pretty ironic considering up to 30% of Canadians report they are stressed3.

The truth is, not everyone loves to exercise. I get that. But we all love to move (our bodies are designed for it!) so it’s a matter of finding what type of movement (aka exercise) is enjoyable for you. Just like with your diet, why eat foods you don’t like? It’s a recipe for disaster as you’ll never sustain eating that way. Rather focus on foods you love, and physical activity you get excited about, and before you know it, you’ll be reinventing your routines to create a healthier, happier, and low stress lifestyle.

Ideas:

  • Go outside for a walk
  • Put on your favourite playlist and dance up a storm
  • Take a yoga or fitness class
  • Play outside with your kids
  • Chase your dog in a field 

What’s the Bottom Line?

It’s important to recognize that stress is a part of life and we can’t make stress magically disappear…so it’s all about the small steps to help shake the stress away. The 3 stress-busting tips we shared today actually do have a bit of a magical effect though – you can’t escape that warm, glowing feeling of being your best 'you' when you begin to put yourself first with ‘me’ time, mindful eating, and movement. Know a busy mom that could benefit from these tips? Share this blog with her!

Last words of wisdom here - oftentimes, when you refocus on your needs, you may uncover some areas of your health that could use some tuning up. It’s okay to ask for help, and that’s why we created the Fad to Fab – Craving Healthy Habits Program – a program exclusively for busy women who are fed up and ready to become their healthiest self with simple, sustainable, and realistic lifestyle changes. Get the details here!

 

References:

1. The benefits of physical activity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/health/index.html. Accessed May 13, 2017.

2. Directly measured physical activity of Canadian adults, 2007 to 2011. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-625-x/2013001/article/11807-eng.htm. Accessed May 13, 2017.

3. Perceived life stress, 2014. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-625-x/2015001/article/14188-eng.htm. Accessed May 13, 2017.