While rife with joy, motherhood can be demanding and punctuated by stressful moments. Constant demands for time, energy and attention can leave mothers spread too thin and feeling frustrated. Having a few tried-and-true relaxation techniques in your parenting arsenal may help.
Studies have shown that deep breathing exercises offer myriad health benefits, including relaxation. Deep breathing can also be used to recondition the body’s response to stressful stimuli and limit the production of harmful stress hormones.
With all the time they spend worrying about the needs of others, many mothers feel like they don’t have time left to spend on themselves. But setting aside a few minutes each day, or an even larger block of time once a week, for some good old-fashioned pampering can leave mothers feeling refreshed.
Pampering yourself can be as simple as setting aside some time for reading or a relaxing cup of tea, or as grand as keeping a regular appointment with yourself for a massage, facial or mani-pedi at your favorite local spa.
The beautiful thing about coming into the day spa is that you just leave everything else outside. You come in, you put your phone away, you go into the treatment room where children can’t get to you, work can’t get to you and you just enjoy a nice treatment and people being focused on you,” said Michele Phillips, owner of Bellagio Salon and Day Spa.
Get Some Exercise
Regular exercise improves health and an overall sense of well-being. A workout can trigger the release of feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins, in the brain. Exercise can also improve sleep. Although any type of exercise can provide relaxation, it’s important to choose an enjoyable activity such as walking, swimming, tai chi or yoga.
Form a Strong Support System
Many people think of Hillary Clinton when they hear the words, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but the saying is actually based on several African proverbs that promote cooperative child rearing. Even if you aren’t willing to let “the village” weigh in on your parenting skills, a strong support system can be an invaluable asset for mothers. Whether it’s scheduling a play date so you can have some time for yourself, providing a listening ear or some sage solicited advice, knowing women who understand what you’re facing can be a boon for mothers.
Having a support group of fellow mothers has been essential for local mom Kim Knox, who joined the Scripps Health-sponsored parenting support group, Parent Connection, nine years ago.
“I didn’t have many friends or family members who were having babies at the same time as I was, so I wanted to find other moms in the area so I could spend time with.” Knox said. “When you’re worried about something that’s going on with your kid and you find out that everyone else has had that thing too, or maybe they’ve talked to their doctor about it already and he said not to worry about it…being able to benefit from all of our little everyday stresses really helped.”