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