It seems that being a mum and being stressed are two sides of the same coin. It’s true that mums are the ones that get most of the tantrums and the cut knees and the tears at bedtime. It’s also true that the idea of relaxing for Mummies sounds a bit like taking a trip to Mars before breakfast tomorrow – it might be an interesting concept but it’s pretty unrealistic.
However, we’ve got a list of 8 things mums can do to relax. You might not think you have time but running around on the hamster wheel of parenthood will only get you so far before you start spinning around it uncontrollably. Take our advice and have a break from clearing up your kids toys from the living room floor.
Identify What You Dread Most
This might sound a strange one to start with but, sometimes, the key to relaxing is to take the power out of the thing that’s stressing you out. Now, because you can’t take the batteries out of small children, try identifying what situations stress you out most and adapt accordingly. For instance, the morning rush can be a pain because kids rarely get ready quickly. Lay the clothes out the night before and you’ve got less shouting to do in the morning while you drink your coffee.
Factor in Downtime
Yes, it might not be straightforward or easy to say that the hour between 7pm and 8pm on a Saturday night is going to be yours, come what may, but there are strategies you can use to make sure kids won’t want to bother you during that time. Maybe that’s the hour you let them watch their favourite television show or you enforce some quiet time with stars or other rewards at the end of it. That hour to relax could be quickly become your saving grace.
Have a Bath
Relaxing in a bathtub is a sure-fire way to loosen those muscles and relax a little. However, the knocks on the door can put paid to your alone time. Every mum’s been in the situation where they’ve got one foot in the bath and screaming erupts across the hall. Maybe this is what you can do in your weekly time to yourself or maybe you run them ragged one Sunday to make sure they fall asleep and give you time for a soak.
Give Yoga a Try
Now, it’s true that yoga isn’t for everyone and some mums can feel especially inflexible after a long day at work or looking after the kids. The great thing about yoga is that it isn’t the type of exercise that wakes you up – it’s the kind that relaxes you, making it perfect to try after the kids are in bed. Thanks to online videos, you can learn the yoga basics without the need to throw down your mat in a public place, so there’s no fear of being embarrassed!
Linked in with a hot bath are those little pampering tasks that we seem to forget until our muscles are wound up so tightly that you expect to hear the springs pop at any moment. Small pampering sessions can save your sanity, even if it’s something as simple as wearing a face mask while you bathe or – in extreme circumstances – make tomorrow’s sandwiches. You could also try stress-busting essential oils in the bedroom to help you relax before bed.
Find Something to Laugh At
How do you feel when you’ve had a good, long laugh? As long as it’s not the type of hysterical laughter that follows the discovery your child been cast in a play and you need to make the costume, you probably feel quite good. So, find something that isn’t anything to do with the family. No matter how funny you find those videos of your child giggling, move away from those and find something for a five-minute fun fix. There are so many cat videos on the internet that you’re spoilt for choice!
Escape into Another World
Don’t worry – we’re not talking about finding your way through the back of the wardrobe into Narnia. We haven’t figured that one out yet. However, escaping from everyday worries by reading a book for twenty minutes is a good way to let your mind unwind. If you don’t like the printed word, there are always audio books and non-fiction can be as relaxing as fiction if you’d prefer. Podcasts are an option if you’re looking for something a bit livelier, and they can all be listened to with headphones in to avoid the clamour of home life. Christmas is coming very soon, why not find some cheap Christmas decorations and bring Christmas to life in your house.
Listen to Some Music
If listening to stories or non-fiction isn’t your thing, what about putting some music on and unwinding to that? If you can tick two boxes and listen to it while having a bath, your precious relaxing time will be doing double-duty. One piece of advice though – you might be a fan of hip hop or heavy rock but choose something a little more sedate to unwind to. Head-banging in the bath might end with a hospital trip if you’re not careful.
Relaxing isn’t easy for mums, especially if you allow that guilt to creep in about taking any time for yourself while the kids are between the ages of 0 and 18. The thing is, unless you take care of your stress levels, you’ll stretch yourself too thin and everyone will suffer for it.
Make finding little pockets of time where you can relax a priority. Yes, it might come further down the list than washing school uniforms and cooking dinner, but it needs to be on the list somewhere. If you find that you’re prioritising cleaning the wheelie bin out above having a bath and taking twenty minutes to yourself. If you don't feel that you have lots of time on your hands, why not play with your children's favourite dinosaur, craft or unicorn toys. Whatever they like... play with them and watch as they thrive is a great way to take a break from the world.
We would love to hear your top tips for relaxing as a Mum, let us know in the comments section below...