You might think you have your best stress relief techniques in the bag, but it all changes when the baby comes home. Moms are under exceptionally high stress whether it’s their first baby or just the most recent addition. Fortunately, there are a variety of techniques available that don’t require a lot of time or money. Stress relief on the go is a must for busy moms who are juggling a variety of hats. However, it’s also important to remember which stress relief trends should be avoided.
Reaching for alcohol, cigarettes or recreational drugs is surprisingly more common than people think. We live in a culture where shows like Cougar Town not only highlight the rampant use of wine for stressed moms but nearly encourage it. There are “wine bags” designed to be taken to soccer games, and it’s a trend for moms to sip on wine in “adult sippy cups” in front of the kids. Of course, the occasional imbibement is normally fine, but it can be a slippery slope to addiction.
Anti-anxiety medications can also be highly addictive. The US is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, with these painkillers prescribed for long-term and chronic pain in some cases. The highly addictive painkillers provide a feeling of euphoria and are sometimes sought out recreationally even after the prescription is over. Moms who prioritize healthy stress reduction techniques position themselves to best handle the demands of their most important job.
Addiction isn’t just for drugs and alcohol. There’s also sugar addiction, which is an even more socially accepted form of stress relief. Some studies have shown that addiction to sugar can be just as powerful as addiction to some drugs. Sugar is a major ingredient in a number of comfort foods, but lack of a nutritious diet will leave moms feeling sluggish, tired, and without the energy to be the best parent they can be. Plus, an excess of sugar can lead to weight gain, and obesity comes with a variety of its own risks.
Getting the body moving and the blood pumping is one of the best forms of stress relief. It releases endorphins, a natural high, and helps keep the entire body healthy. Moms who love whichever fitness regimen they choose are also modeling healthy behavior for their children. Many gyms offer free childcare services, or joining a moms group for outdoor walks, runs, or biking is a great way to feed your social health needs.
“Postpartum” officially refers to any person who’s given birth, although moms with newborns and younger children may particularly benefit from postpartum specific classes. Seeking out a class like postpartum yoga is a great way to learn what your body can do at this point, with modifications especially for new moms.
Many postpartum yoga classes also include an option to bring a baby to certain classes, as well as a juicy savasana session to help mom relax. Learning various meditation techniques is a great way to bring yoga home. Pranayama, or breath control, can also be learned in yoga classes. Different pranayamas yield different results, so you can customize your breath to increase energy, calm down, or stimulate various parts of your brain (such as creative or logical).
Another great stress reliever is music. You already know the power of it, from your workout jam playlist to the slowdown list you created for relaxing bubble baths. Listening to the right kind of music to soothe and calm not only works for you, but also for your children. It’s also a tool to help limit screen time. If you’re the type of mom who likes background noise but doesn’t want to model screen addiction for the little ones, consider music or a white noise machine. Most babies respond well to white noise to help them get to sleep, but it can work for moms, too. If your child is young, you already know how important it is to try to nap when they do. Lull both of you to sleep with the help of these machines.
What are your favorite stress reduction strategies?