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Simple Relaxation Tips for Stressed Mums

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The red mist descends.

My hands are clenched, my shoulders are up past my ears.

And I am about to explode.

And the cause?

Well, last week because I had like two spare minutes in the whole day to clean and the vacuum cleaner wouldn’t do what I wanted …

… and so I shouted at it!

Yep, I shouted at the vacuum cleaner!!

Because obviously the world is so totally going to come to an end if the floor’s a bit grubby and there are dust balls on the stairs …


And the real cause?

Deep seated “mummy stress” which builds and builds until the tiniest little things, which in the grand scheme of things just do not matter, make me mad.

I know there’s some super big stuff I need to work on to manage my stress better.

More sleep, less coffee, more exercise and a better diet would be a good start.

And really letting go of the “mummy guilt” about being a bit rubbish at everything would be even better.

But these are not overnight wins.

And in the meantime I need … really need … not to shout at the vacuum cleaner!

So I’ve been working hard the last week to use 3 super simple tips that helped me relax in the past and they have made a big difference.

Relaxation tips for stressed out mums

1. Tummy Breathing

Do ya’ remember tummy breathing from pregnancy?

Inflating your tum like a big balloon as you breathe in and deflating it flat as a pancake as you breathe out … or at least as flat as you can post baby 🙂

Well it’s THE best instant stress relief!

And there’s some science behind it … as you breathe slowly, your heart rate falls and as your heart rate falls all that pesky cortisol that makes you stressed disappears.

And without the cortisol, you can suddenly can see that the world won’t actually end because your daughter won’t clean her teeth or put her pyjamas on, however annoying it may be.

2. Counting Stinky Elephants

This is one of my daughter’s fave ways to calm down when she gets mad.

I’ve written about it before here but you basically just count stinky elephants very slowly … one stinky elephant, two stinky elephants, three stinky elephants …

Again it works ‘cos it slows my breathing and heart rate, but it also makes me smile as I think of my daughter smiling as she counts all those stinky, stinky elephants …

And  when I’m smiling, the whole world may not quite all smile with me but silly stress about the vacuum cleaner doesn’t stand a chance.

3. Face Massage

Oooh, what wouldn’t I give for a daily massage to smooth all my troubles away!! But even a basic face massage with coconut oil as I’m taking my make up off helps.

I started using coconut oil this year after totally decluttering my beauty regime.

And as soon as I massage it in I feel my shoulders relax and the physical tension of the day fall away.

It’s the simplest thing but those few minutes of calm before bed does wonders in helping me go to bed calmly and to let go of the day’s little trials and tribulations.

It’s certainly not an out and out cure for mummy stress and anxiety but it does help me sleep better and there truly are few things better than good sleep for reducing stress.

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Wednesday 15th of October 2014

I am currently completing a "stress less" workbook required by my health insurer (funny how it doesn't mention the complexities of American health insurance as a source of stress!) and your first two tips are the first two lessons--well, not stinky elephants specifically, but using a simple chant to calm oneself--so they are certainly supported by the "experts".

Face massage is something I really should add to my routine! I hurt my jaw more than 3 months ago when I fell asleep nursing. Massaging helps to relax the spasmed muscle so that I have less pain, but I rarely "get around to it". With cooler weather coming, my face will begin to get dry and flaky, so massaging with coconut oil would be good for that too.

My best stress-relief trick is writing "stretch" on my to-do list, which makes me take a few minutes to stretch my body and feel like I am "getting something done" rather than being self-indulgent. Often it gives me a burst of energy by improving my breathing, and it reduces tension to help prevent headaches and other pains.

I've also used The Rule of One Thing and Three Things to keep my priorities straight and avoid being overwhelmed, especially with a baby in the house.---'Becca

Alice Emma Thompson

Thursday 16th of October 2014

Luckily we don't have the health insurance stress Becca but good to see that the insurers approve of my approach if not of stinky elephants. Love the idea of putting stretch on to do list ... and the Rule of One Thing and Three Things, really great approach Alice x

Elizabeth Lund

Friday 10th of October 2014

Oh, love the face massage. I would love a back massage!! LOL. Another good one. Thanks!

Alice Emma Thompson

Saturday 11th of October 2014

It's the simplest thing Elizabeth but really does help - can really feel the tension slipping away ...

Brittany at Equipping Godly Women

Thursday 9th of October 2014

Good tips. The baby is refusing to nap and I have work to do... so I'm going to try some deep breathing now! lol

Alice Emma Thompson

Saturday 11th of October 2014

It doesn't get rid of what's causing the stress unfortunately Britanny :-( ...but really does help me calm down ...