Here is an overview of the talk “Moms, reclaim your life!”:
As a mother, you tell yourselves many stories about your expectations for yourself and about others. Sometimes the stories can be helpful and other times the stories stand in the way of feeling calm and happy. Those stories are the thoughts, the beliefs, and the judgments that you take as fact. When you find that you are not coping with a situation as well are you would like, and that you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or stressed, try asking yourself:
- Am I stressed or overwhelmed? This part is raising awareness as to when you are starting (or in the midst) of the story about what is going on and how you are handling things.
- What am I thinking/telling myself? These thoughts could be about yourself (I can’t handle this. I’m incompetent) or the thoughts could be about the situation or others (This is too stressful. They shouldn’t act or speak like this.)
- Do I believe this thought to be my reality? And is it guiding my actions in a helpful way? Become aware that a thought is just a thought. It is not a fact! Since you create your thoughts, you can change those thoughts.
Act like an athlete
Mothers tend to go, go, go all day without taking any breaks! They have the goal of giving the best to their children and families. Yet by burning themselves out, mothers are not able to give and give without burning out. This is when you start to become grumpy and short-tempered and yelling at the kids. This behaviour does not seem to be on the list of goals for giving the best to your family!
The research shows that taking even small breaks can be beneficial to sustain our energy. Small or minibreaks are defined as 30 seconds to a couple of minutes. Even though this may not seem that it will be helpful, the idea is that taking these breaks more frequently (say every hour) will help renew and sustain your energy.
Some ideas to do during the microbreak is to:
- Take 3 slow, deep breaths
- Take your pulse for 60 seconds
- Listen to relaxing music
- Massage your shoulders or your scalp
- Drink a glass of water (slowly) while sitting down
- Slow stretching
- Visualize a relaxing place (i.e. beach, forest)
- Repeat a saying or mantra
- Smell a favourite fragrance
- Massaging hand cream slowly into your hands and forearms
Also, by doing short breaks, it is more likely to be done (which means it will be beneficial) than trying to fit in an overwhelming 20 minute meditation every morning 9
Although we know that exercise, sleep and nutritional eating is important for us, I think that lack of breaks is an overlooked area that can help sustain energy (and sanity!) for mothers.
Let me know how these ideas work for you and what creative ideas you have come up with!
I will have the rest of the ideas from my talk in the next blog…so stay tuned for more ideas to help handle the stress of motherhood!
If you would like to chat about further ways to get started with dealing with the overwhelm of motherhood or life in general, please call or email Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-375-3010.