I don’t know about you but I feel like I’ve had a hectic few weeks despite not really doing anything. It’s this time of year I think, everything seems to come to a head at the end of twelve long months. We’ve had coughs, colds, teething, sleepless nights, fertility drugs side effects and slow realisations that I’m going to be thirty eight in less than two weeks (sobs into wine). The kid has had permanent snot face since she started nursery in September (the joy of shared germs) And teething hit her hard a few weeks ago. This lead to a stint of interrupted sleep, traipsing the corridor back and forth in the small hours between her room and ours, running on mumbie mode (zombie mum). Everything then came to a head and I found myself weeping down the phone to my mum, wine in hand. To help me get out of this funk, I’ve reverted back to a few simple things, that help me relax. To get me feeling more ‘me’ again.
There is lots of talk right now about being,’ mindful’. Being mindful means being in the moment, switching off your mind to all other thoughts, cares or worries and being present in whatever you happen to be doing. But, attempting this is pretty tricky when the majority of us have kids, especially if like mine, they shout a lot. How are you supposed to be ‘in the moment’ when your two year old has done a poo on the kitchen floor? Is it possible to ever switch off our thoughts? Well, yes sometimes it is. And the best way I’ve found to do this, is by trying meditation. This needs to be done when the kids are in bed, at nursery or whatever, but basically not when they’re in the vicinity. I watch this video clip (which is only thirteen minutes long) to get me feeling a little more relaxed and with it. It’s a really simple way just to get you thinking about being still. Something that is rare in our busy lives.
Another thing that helps my state of mind, is being in the fresh air. With a busy two and a half year old, I need to get her out a lot (she’s akin to a small terrier) and actually when me and her have had a rough week, getting out just the two of us can really help us re-connect (sounds daft, but it’s true) After her teething hell week, I took her to one of our favourite National trust places and running around after her, climbing trees, rolling down hills (her, not me. Okay maybe me too) really made a difference to how I felt. Fresh air is like a natural elixir when you’re feeling stressed. It’s tricky at the moment because the weather is fairly dull, but when possible, standing in some open space, looking about can help give a momentary sense of peace (if you just dull out the children shouting)
Exercising can really help if you’re feeling stressed or a bit down. I have weekly hockey training, but often if I’m feeling a rubbish for whatever reason, I don’t want to go. I’ll think of every reason possible as to why I shouldn’t have to go, the weather, leaves on the pitch, unexpected item in the bagging area. But regardless, I always drag myself along and once I’m there I genuinely feel much better. Some of my fellow players who have stressful jobs, say that going to training makes then feel a lot more relaxed. Running about, chatting with your mates, sweating and generally not focusing on that thing that was making you stressed, helps to get rid of any ill feeling and gets things out of your system. There’s a science to it too. Exercise releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. So giving you a high, without the illegal bit. Boom-town.
A simple thing which doesn’t require much effort is switching your phone off at a certain time each evening. This is a hard one as if you’re like me, I’m constantly on my phone, checking twitter, instagram and various other things. I’m a bit addicted. My daughter often tells me when we’re out and about to, ‘PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN!’ which is a telling sign really isn’t it. I find this constant access to social media can add to any stress that I might be feeling, because I just don’t switch off at the end of the day. So more recently, come 8pm every evening I’ve been turning my phone off religiously. I find it forces me to listen to my husband (ha!) to watch that programme that I actually wanted to watch, or to pick up that magazine I’ve been meaning to read. It forces me to relax.
And last but not least is seeing friends. I always find that in stressful times, seeing some fellow mums, friends or family and having a good natter helps me de-stress no end. Offloading worries and concerns, maybe having a weep, talking about the crap week you’ve had over a cuppa and cake can really help. It’s true. Often I find by the end of a good chat, I feel like a weight has been lifted.
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