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Parenting today is harder than ever. With 75 percent of moms in the workforce and at-home moms taxed beyond belief keeping up with complex activity schedules, stress is taking a toll on moms. Unfortunately moms who get stressed and run down cannot give their best to themselves or their family. So what are moms supposed to do to get some rest or relaxation? Here are 5 tips to relax and allow you to have more strength and energy. So many moms feel guilty taking “me time,” but, as studies prove the unhealthy aspects of stress, this time away is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. If you have nanny or babysitter, this is the time to use them as a way to not only care for your children but also care for yourself. If you do not ask your partner, ask some family or even barter with friends by watching the kids while each of you get an hour to yourself.
Quiet the mind – The first and most important tip is to quiet your mind. Sometimes your mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy. If your rest time is filled with to do lists, remembering items you forgot or feeling guilty about missed events, you are going to end up feeling worse coming out of your alone time than you did going in. Take this time to quiet your mind and say, “For 60 minutes, I will not be thinking about anything pertaining to my family. I am going to give my mind and body a rest.”
Connect With Friends – With free time, some moms prefer to reconnect and recharge with friends rather than being alone. Spending some time with good friends is a wonderful way to decrease stress. Make sure that you choose friends who can bring you positive energy, who lift you up, make you laugh and help you bond. Sadly, sometimes so-called “friends” can make stress worse if they are competitive or toxic. So whether it’s a call or Skype with an old high school friend or coffee with a local mom, choose wisely and spend time with friends who make you feel happy.
Feel The Burn – Countless studies have shown that working out can decrease stress and improve health. Of course, for busy moms it is much easier to think about working out than actually do it. However, if you have the time alone, try to pick an exercise that you can look forward to and enjoy. Some moms love going to a class so they can connect each week, while other moms love a quiet walk around the block. Do not focus on burning calories. Instead, focus on listening to music or walking while watching a new show make the time a way to feel better and stop the chaos of daily life. Do not make working out another hard “to do” on your never ending list. Make it something that is easy to attain and something that you enjoy.
Give Yourself A Timeout – If you have someone taking care of your kids, sometimes moms wish they could simply “crawl back into bed.” As one client said to me, “I literally just want to jump in bed and watch bad TV, but I feel guilty doing that if the kids are downstairs.” Whether the kids are with the sitter, your husband or even old enough to play on their own, there is nothing wrong with taking a timeout to rest and regain your strength. I always tell moms that every job gives you a break except motherhood, so you have to see breaks as acceptable and necessary to do a good job. Think of it this way: If you leave your children for an hour but come back happier, calmer and ready to connect with them, isn’t that better than staying with them when you are tired, stressed and more likely to yell? It’s OK to give yourself time to rest, or read a book or watch TV –whatever it is that will make you happier and able to be a better mom works.
Go On A Date – In my work with couples, I see so many who have not had an alone date in a long time. It could be days, months or even years where partners have the ability to reconnect alone without the children. Studies show great benefits for children who see their parents in a loving and kind relationship. Although parenting and work can take every single drop of us, staying connected to your partner is key to your health and the well being of the whole family. Try not to focus on the money spent on sitters or the guilt of asking family as these alone dates are critical to a strong partnership. It’s helpful to remember your relationship before kids and remember your special bond or love. This added strength will help get you through the tough times that come with being a parent and handling the stress at home will be easier when you are both connected as a united front.
Tammy Gold is a licensed therapist, certified parent coach as well as a national parenting expert who regularly appears on outlets such as Good Morning America, The Today Show, Fox and CBS News. She also writes for items such as the Huffington Post and The Bump.com. Tammy has been working with parents for over a decade and her book Secrets of the Nanny Whisperer is the first time a therapist merges aspects of psychology into finding and achieving high level childcare.
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