Ten ways to relieve the stress of motherhood

By Drum Digital
08 May 2014

Let’s be honest: motherhood is one of the most stressful, often thankless, jobs you’ll ever do. And although it’s nice to be spoiled on special days, getting rid of stress before it affects your health is your own responsibility every day.

Let’s be honest: motherhood is one of the most stressful, often thankless, jobs you’ll ever do. And although it’s nice to be spoiled on special days, getting rid of stress before it affects your health is your own responsibility every day.

Here are ten ways you can cut stress from your life:

1. A chill-out routine

Get comfortable as soon as you get home from work. Kick off your heels, forget about work and get into something comfy.

2. Take it outside

Vitamin D is the ultimate antidepressant. Allow your senses to be embraced by fresh air, the sound of the birds chirping and the tickle of fresh grass on your skin as you play with your kids outside. A change of scenery from the drudgery of work life will lift your mood right up and push the stress levels right down. And your kids will love spending some time outside with you.

3. Take mini-vacations

Putting in a full week’s leave might seem like the perfect re-boot but it can leave you feelings stressed. And if your kids are of school-going age, this limits you to school holidays which means your holiday will be even pricier. Rather put in a few mini-breaks over weekends. This will be a great opportunity for you to recharge your batteries fairly often, without the irritation of a flooded e-mail inbox.  It’s essential though that the break be compounded with a change of scenery or something fresh and exciting, such as checking out new restaurants, re-exploring your city, going to a nearby B&B for the long weekend or going camping.

4. Reach out

There’s the well-known saying, “No man is an island,” and it’s true. Turn to a support system. That’s what friends and family are there for. Nothing makes you feel better quite like hearing the familiar voice of your bestie or sharing a bowl of your mom’s soup while catching up on life and seeking some advice. It’s bound to reduce the stress and tension.

5. Unplug yourself

The constant buzz of the phone can be something you’re so used to it’s no longer nerve-wracking, but it can cause so much stress. If it’s not an e-mail or a missed call or another phone call or an SMS, then it’s a WhatsApp message or a Facebook notification or some other social media platform alerting you to something. Stop feeling pressured to reply to everyone all the time . . . and immediacy is so overrated anyway. Relax; you can’t always please everyone, especially not at your own expense. Here’s an idea, block notifications and e-mails after a certain time in the evening; there’s no need to be available after 9 pm, for instance. And at work, develop a routine of checking e-mails every hour on the hour rather than checking them as they come through. This will make you more productive and takes away the stress of feeling like there’s too little time and too many things to do.

6. Strike a balance

Don’t jam-pack your weekend with fun-filled activities that will only leave you exhausted by Sunday evening with absolutely no energy to tackle the week. Strike a balance; if that means a lazy Saturday for you and a hectic Sunday schedule then so be it. But take the time off, even from the fun activities. They’re draining too! Just chill; simple pleasures such as a warm cup of tea, a family picnic, a good novel or knitting allows some wonderful downtime. Take it – you deserve it!

7. Get a hobby

Settle your mind with something that makes you happy. Feel like you don’t have a hobby? Even better – you have the time to figure it out by experiencing different things. Try yoga, hiking, knitting, gardening, baking, painting. Whether or not you find something you love, you’ll be de-stressing along the way and creating a beautiful garden or a new scarf for your niece, or some yummy treats for the weekend.

8. Stop tension in its tracks

Before you stress out completely, acknowledge the signs and nip it in the bud. When you feel overwhelmed, take a quick stroll; it does wonders for clearing your mind. If you feel like that’s going to take away too much time in your day, do a simple meditation at your desk or some breathing exercises.

9. Escape and reset

Drag your brain out of the work gutter by resetting it. To do that ? get out of the house and experience something that transports the mind. Movies, concerts, book launches, art exhibitions, comedy shows and sporting events all provide wonderful ways of escaping the drudgery of everyday life.

10. Be grateful

Get a gratitude journal and record all your blessings. It might sound cheesy but the cause of tension and stress often lies in perspective. When life seems tough we’re always focusing on all the things that are making it impossible at that point. And that’s absolutely normal. But a gratitude journal where you record what you’re thankful for every night will help you to regain balance and perspective. You’ll see that it’s not all grey and dreary and that the rainbow is peeking out from behind the clouds. Sometimes it just takes noting these things down to realise them.

- Faiza Mallick

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