Relief for Stressed-Out Moms

Even a few minutes of relaxation can relieve the stress all mothers experience.

By FamilyTime


We all love our kids. Nothing is more satisfying than the time we spend with them, playing, singing, reading, snuggling. But let's face it. There are times when every mother feels overwhelmed.

The trick is to de-stress before the tension builds. This is easier than you may think, whether you are a stay-at-home mom or work outside the house.

Recognize Your Stress Factors
Motherhood is fantastic, but don't idealize it. Every mom can be pushed to the limit! Even June Cleaver had some rough spots with the Beaver. The secret is to accept the reality and deal with it.

When do you feel most stress? During the morning rush? At bedtime? When it's time to pick up toys and books and restore order? During trips to the supermarket?

What pushes your buttons? Crying children? Bickering children? Kids racing through the house playing wild games? A sink full of dishes? Piled up laundry?

Many times we feel overanxious and irritable because of lack of sleep or proper nourishment. Too much coffee, a carb or sugar overload can make us feel jittery.

Find Time for Yourself
We've read over and over again that taking a little time for ourselves is one of the best ways to relieve stress, but with young children at home, doing so can be next to impossible.

This does not make this advice any less effective. There are ways to get around the "all kids all the time" situation.

Depend on your husband to take over whenever possible. Don't hesitate to ask a neighbor, your best friend, or your mother to take the kids now and then, even if it's just so you can have some time to yourself. Don't feel guilty. If a a little free time reduces your stress level, you'll be a better mother.

If a new baby is overwhelming you, ask your husband or another family member to take the older children for an afternoon. Spend one-on-one time with the baby. You might want to do this regularly for several months.

On the other hand, hire a sitter to stay with the baby and take the older kids to the park or a museum. Give them your undivided attention for a few hours and everyone will feel better.

Discover What Lowers Your Stress
Study after study has shown that exercise is one of the very best ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Take a walk or a run, join a gym, ride your bike, take a dance class.

But what else works?

Here are some ideas. Some you can do with the kids, some are more solitary, and others are adult activities. Find time everyday to de-stress; find time every week to pursue something outside the house that pleases you.

  • Keep a journal, in a book or on the computer. Write in it every day for at least a few minutes.
  • Take a quick nap when the baby naps
  • Read a magazine or newspaper when the baby naps.
  • Lie down with some quiet music on the stereo when the baby naps.
  • Listen to music. Often.
  • Sing along to your favorite songs.
  • Dance to your favorite music.
  • Meditate.
  • Take a hot bath with a good book.
  • Bake a cake or cookies.
  • Eat a nourishing meal.
  • Talk on the phone with an old friend.
  • Meet a friend for lunch.
  • Join a mother's group.
  • Join a book club.
  • Join a choir.
  • Sketch or paint a picture.
  • Play the piano or guitar for a few minutes.
  • Sit in the sun for a few minutes. Sunlight is restorative.
  • Relax your housekeeping standards slightly.
  • Join a regular tennis game.
  • Take yoga classes.
  • Swim laps.
  • Weed the garden.
  • Rake leaves.
  • Rent your favorite funny movie and laugh.
  • Make a date with your husband. Keep it!

Whenever you can, get a good night's sleep. If you are sleep deprived (and if the kids are young, you probably are), recognize it and don't be too hard on yourself.

As well as sleeping, try to eat regularly and well. Balanced, nourishing meals keep your body in check. You'll feel better.

Sit back every so often and think about all you have in your life that is good, fun, and rewarding. Enjoy it! You deserve it.