Try one each day until you've tried them all!
My tip is the easiest and the hardest because it is all about a change of attitude. If you have any expectations about your children—who they are, what they will do, how they will act—you are bound to be disappointed and will find yourself battling your children like they are the enemy. Give up expectations, step into loving acceptance, don't force your will on them, and you will give them a gift of self-esteem that will last a lifetime! I wish someone told me this one when my children were young!
Every day, spend a little time looking and smelling nice. It has an instant pick-me-up that boosts your mood and confidence all day.
Plan ahead. If you don't ask you won't receive. Ask your hubby to care of the kids on Thursday because you have a girls night out. If he has legitimate plans (not just a "we'll see" kind of answer) negotiate for another night. In the best of all worlds plan at least one regular night where he is completely responsible for the children each week. Many women don't like to relinquish their care for the children. Help him learn. Both of you will come to expect and enjoy the change from your regular routine. Win $550 Worth Of Luxury Goods From Henri Bendel!
Daniel J. Tomasulo
As an overworked mom I have just recently realized that the single most predictable way for me to unwind is to see a movie in a movie theatre. With this new realization I am now being very proactive about seeing movies because it's actually more about my mental health than the movie itself. So I suggest finding the most predictable activity that unwinds you (but doesn't require anyone else to avoid being at the mercy of other busy friends) and arrange your schedule so it happens predictably!
Elizabeth Doherty Thomas
I highly recommend a gratitude journal or an end of the day check-in with a loved one. Ask the question "What was the best part of this day," or "What are you grateful for today." Even better do this naked while cuddling with your honey. Love Bytes: Are Mama's Boys Better Husbands?
Take joy in the mess. There are toys and shoes strewn about, homework papers left on the table, water from the dog bowl splashed on the floor, and dust on the furniture. Any mother can see there is work to be done. But the mother who deliberately focuses on the creativity of a child's crazy Logo car, on the joy of a child's drawing left on the table, on the pleasure of new words learned in a book dropped on the floor, or on the laughter of her child when they picked the flowers now wilting in a vase, will attack the mess with less tension and greater joy for what the mess represents.
Get your full eight hours of sleep! Sleeping eight hours balances your hormones and gives you more energy. You'll have more patience and be more fun for your family. Getting even a half hour more sleep each night can lower your cortisol which calms you down AND prevents aging and disease.
Give yourself the permission to put yourself first. Self-care is not selfish. It's what replenishes you so that you can show up with the best of yourself, a place where you actually have that much more you can give. I invite you today and everyday to create a "30-minute Me" ritual. Do whatever you want in those 30 minutes, change it up, it's your time. Breathe. Enjoy!
Using your breath to feel a greater sense of self-care and love is the best thing for any Mom (after all your breath is always with you!). I suggest using a "Hot Soup Breath" like I teach kids since they can learn it, too. You take air in your nose, and blow it out your mouth like cooling hot soup. Repeat in cycles of 3 and feel relaxed right away.
Yell out, "Dance time!" Drop what you're doing, turn up the radio or pick out 3 or 4 of YOUR (not your kids) favorite songs on your iPod and start wiggling, shaking and dancing. The unexpected break in routine will have everyone laughing. But, even better, you'll begin producing oxytocin, your stress-reducing hormone, which makes you feel loving, nurturing and caring again. You'll gain a fresh perspective, get the blood flowing, and some endorphins too—all making you feel sane, in control and happy!
Take a bath when the kids are in bed. Light a candle, put oil or bath salts in the water to make it smell heavenly, and turn off the lights. Breathe deeply and slowly. Breath in peace and love, breathe out stress and let it be washed away.
Susan Dutton Freund
Whether you're a new mom, second-time mom or mom with adult children, you'll always be a mom. This revelation is sometimes overwhelming, so scheduling and taking "Mommy Me Time" is critical at any age. On those super-busy days it may seem impossible or feel selfish—except, of course, when you need to jump in the shower. Make a promise to yourself to shower daily (You'll be surprised how many moms forgo this simple pleasure) and tack on five more minutes to stretch, focus on your breathing, empty your mind of all tasks, and turn attention to your needs. During this time, identify one way to show yourself some love this week…then do it! Your new-found five-minute 'Mommy Me Time' empowers you to stay motivated to achieve your goals while being the best mom you can.
Plan out your days, every day, with your own joy in mind. What would YOU love to do, for and with yourself and for and with your children. Set aside a special time every day for you to participate in your own joy—a hobby, a phone call, an online event, that book you've always wanted to write, a letter, a poem, a craft or a work of art. Then DO it. If you don't finish, that’s okay, you've had some time for joy, and that makes everything else weigh a little less.
As mothers, we're always feeling guilty, and too often over the wrong things! Like putting time and energy into our primary grown-up partner, or even just reading a book alone. The fact is our kids need to see us modeling self-care, which means quiet, alone time and tending other relationships. Then we're more there for them when we're with them.
Pray to see it differently! Instead of seeing the toy-littered floor and the dirty kitchen as evidence of "not being good enough," find the goodness in it. "I'm grateful that my children have all these creative outlets for their energy, and I am preparing such nourishing meals to help them thrive."
When we take a walk in nature, the energetic vibrations of the trees, plants and birds literally recalibrate our energy so that we feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Nature walks are an ideal opportunity for parents to connect with nature's healing energy while teaching children to appreciate and connect with the natural world. Sharing nature as a family creates more peaceful interactions and a reduction in stress levels for the entire family.
There is only one way to self-soothe that is always accessible, free, and plentiful−your breath. In times of stress, or in times when you simply need to connect with your spirit and soul, close your eyes, and take several deep, cleansing breaths. First, blow all the air out (focusing on ridding yourself of stressors and toxins and negative thoughts/beliefs), then breathe in deeply (focusing on taking in abundance, connection, and love). Finally, finish with a deep exhale, once again ridding your body and mind of what is not needed and retaining the love and positivity that is needed to face the day with grace and equanimity.
Dr. Hillary Goldsher