Series: 30 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress without Leaving Home (16-20)
Heads up, mama!
On October 6, I began the first part of this series “30 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress without Leaving Home.” Every other week, I’ll release the next post in this series. Each one will outline 5 tips to help you reduce stress. Hopefully, you’ll come away from this series learning not only ways to cope with feelings of stress, but you’ll actually feel better because you’ve taken the time to practice some of them.
Missed the previous post in this series? Click here.
16) Wear something you love
I left the house last Tuesday to pick up a grocery order that I placed the night before. And it felt pretty great to slip off my yoga pants, put on a pair of skinny jeans, and do my makeup.⠀
But you don’t have to wait until your next Target run to get all dolled up.
Even as a stay-at-home-mom, there have been plenty of times I’ve gotten dressed just for the hell of it. Because I knew that changing my clothes would help reset my mind.⠀
Maybe it works much like how walking into another room makes you forget why you walked into that room in the first place, but maybe getting dressed sends a similar signal to the brain: new outfit = new beginning.⠀
I don’t know why, but changing my outfit seems to help me reset.
So if you’re feeling like maybe today isn’t your day, try a wardrobe change! Head over to your closet and pick out your favorite outfit. Who cares how fancy (or not) it is. If you like it, put it on! Who says you have to save your best clothes for going out in public? ⠀
Wearing your favorite thing can give you an instant mood boost, a quick shot of dopamine. And anytime you get a chance to boost your dopamine levels, you’ll be pushing those stress hormones to the wayside.⠀
Your kids, if they’re like mine, will probably ask you, “Where are you going?” but that’s okay. Just tell them, “Mama wanted to try something fun.” Maybe it will inspire them to get dressed for no reason, too.⠀
17) Bath time, anyone?
Baths seem to be one of the main self-care go-to’s. And for good reason! I can think of few things more relaxing than soaking in a tub of warm water. But for the most stress-relieving benefits, consider adding Epsom salt to your bathwater.
Did you know that there is magnesium sulfate found in Epsom salt, a mineral that our bodies need? And if you’ve been under a great deal of stress lately, you just might be deficient in this important mineral. Fact: some 80% of us are deficient in magnesium. Stress can deplete your magnesium levels so it’s important to replenish those to keep your body at its healthiest.
So, if you’ve been feeling tired and anxious, a nice, hot (but not too hot) bath with Epsom salt might contain just enough magnesium to help you recharge and calm down.
Also, consider having your magnesium levels checked and supplement if needed. These are the magnesium supplements* I take every day to help manage anxiety (per the okay from my doctor).
*This link is an Amazon affiliate link. You can read my full affiliate disclosure here.
18) Throwback playlists
My kids are hatin’ on my music choices lately because I’ve been blasting songs from albums I used to listen to during my high school years. And dancing and singing along.
A while back, I learned that our teen years are typically the time when we pay the most attention to music. Probably because we don’t have bills to pay or kids to raise yet.
And when you listen to music from that era of your youth, it will most likely bring up a bunch of good feels. At least, for me, it does.
So, if you’re looking for a way to lift your mood, find your favorite throwback tunes in iTunes (I get free Apple Music through my Verizon plan) or just go get those dusty CDs you’re still holding on to and play one of those.
I’m pretty sure you’ll instantly transport to those carefree days of first loves and no responsibilities.
19) Get your meditate on
I know everybody is all like, “you should meditate” so I’m not going to say that.
But I will lay out 3 reasons why meditating is oh, so good for helping you master mom stress.
- It forces you to just sit and do nothing for a few minutes. This time allows your brain a chance to catch up and process a few things. Because your brain is happier when it has time to sort things through.
- It helps train your mind to focus on the present. So often, you walk around thinking about what just happened or what’s about to happen. Before you know it, daily meditation will have trained your mind to stay focused right now. It’s true. I’ve had it happen to me.
- It helps retrain how you react to stressful events. I’d have to look up the science to tell you exactly how it does this, but I’ve personally experienced this as a benefit to my meditation practice. (And I went through a period where I didn’t meditate as often, but I was still finding myself reacting to things more calmly. So I would say it is a long-term change, but don’t quote me on that.)
Now, let me add this:
I know that some people believe you’re not supposed to think while meditating. And while that’s partially true, you should not feel like you’re doing it wrong if your mind wanders and thinks. ⠀
For that reason, I’ve always preferred guided meditations instead of just sitting in total quiet. You’ll find plenty of free videos to follow on YouTube. I enjoy meditations from Jason Stephenson, but in the past, when I first started, I used the free ones in the Calm app.
For more details on the benefits of meditation for moms and more resources to check out, read this post I wrote here:
20) No phone before bed
If you’ve been reading my 30 Ways to Reduce Stress without Leaving Home series, you’re probably not surprised by this one because I’ve mentioned phone use quite a bit.
Like you, I use my phone for nearly everything.⠀
- To search stuff.
- Pull up recipes.
- Check email.
- “Hey, Siri. Remind me to…”
- Place Target orders.
- Scroll Instagram.
- Text friends and family.
- Take pictures.
- Pay bills.
- Shop for groceries.
- Watch YouTube.
- Listen to Podcasts.
I honestly don’t know how I did life before I bought my first iPhone in 2016 (yes, I was late to adopt). So, when I say that you might want to try giving up your phone before bedtime as a way to help reduce stress, I know that I’m asking a lot.⠀
But phone use before bedtime does NOT promote quality rest.⠀
Aside from the fact that staring at your phone’s screen messes with your natural melatonin levels, the things that you’re doing on your phone before bed are only adding to the stresses you’ve already accumulated for the day.⠀
Your brain consumes input from what it sees (on the screen) and what it hears (if what’s on the screen includes audio). But your brain doesn’t process all that information right away. Your brain has to wait until you’re asleep to process some of it.⠀
So, when you check your email, the news, or your social feeds one last time before laying your head on your pillow, you’re adding to the things your brain needs to process at night.⠀
Checking those things could trigger stressful feelings and when you’re stuck feeling like that right before bed, it makes it difficult to even fall asleep.⠀
To which your brain is like, “Great, woman. I’ve already got enough sh*t to process and now you’re not going to give me enough time to do it since you’re too stressed to even fall asleep!”⠀
So how do you avoid your phone before bed?⠀
- Set your phone to Do Not Disturb in the evenings.⠀
- Do not use your phone within 30 minutes (to start) before bed.⠀
- Gradually increase that time by 10 minutes per day until you’ve reached 1 hour before bedtime.
Doing this totally changed things for me (I currently avoid use 2.5 hours before bed), and I know it can change things for you, too, mama.
To recap this fourth post in the series 30 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress Without Leaving Home, here are ways 16 through 20 to reduce stress without leaving home:
- Find something you love to wear and wear it!
- Take an Epsom salt bath to replenish magnesium lost due to recent stress.
- Play some of your favorite songs from your teens.
- Meditate a few minutes each day.
- Don’t use your phone before bedtime.
Yes, some of these might sound silly, but sometimes silly things can be just what we need to take a break from the seriousness of life.
I hope that you’ve found these helpful today, mama!