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Mum's guide | How to reduce stress and relax

by Penina

Life can really take its toll on us mums. If you really want to have a stress-free day, take advantage of my top personal relaxation tips.

How to reduce stress daily

1. Don’t get out of bed – yet!

Before getting out of bed in the morning, consider staying in bed for half an hour. In the mornings I get up and go to the loo, turn on the heating and then return to bed with a cup of coffee, my mobile phone, a notepad and a pen. Then I spend a good half hour in bed, while drinking my coffee, planning my day and relaxing a little. I’m finding my days to be more relaxing since I started doing this.
The app I use to plan my day is Cozi. (Note: Not being paid to plug these guys!)
I use Cozi because it is perfect for mums and families. The app includes a calendar, shopping list, to-do list, journal area, spot for listing birthdays and more. I like Cozi because, in the to-do section, I can break my tasks up into the following:

  1. Morning Checklist
  2. Out and about
  3. Calls
  4. Desk
  5. Online / Computer
  6. Evening Checklist
  7. Projects
  8. Weekend

I also like Cozi because I can add items to my calendar based on the person in my family and also color code everyone!
For example, I’ve set my family up like this:

  1. Richard – Purple
  2. Saxon – Yellow
  3. Coco – Green
  4. Penina (Moi) – Blue
  5. Everyone – Orange

The color-coding is fab, because at any instant I can see where all our time lies – without having to read much! Also I can switch the calendar to only one person (e.g. Me) to see just what I want to do.
I find if I plan my day from my bed, I am much more relaxed upon waking up. I feel much less anxious about the day, because I know what I’m about to do. Also I am much more focused because I’ve actually woken up before I get up! If I get up straight away after waking up (without the coffee in bed) – I find I walk around like a zombie for a half hour or so and don’t achieve as much.

2. Take a walk in nature

OK. My next tip for mums is to take a little ‘me time’ in the day after dropping the kids off. A great idea is to take a walk, or go for a run, straight after dropping the kids off to school. This means getting up in the morning and putting on your exercise gear straight away. Once you have your gear on, you will kind of feel obligated to do something – even if you don’t feel like it. Once the kids have been dropped off, drive yourself to a location that is ideal. Spend 20 to 30 minutes out in nature. Take a breath and reconnect. Clear your head and sort out any problems in your head while out on your walk or run. I always think when I’m running that ‘running fixes everything.’ Well, it may not fix everything, but exercise really does help put things in perspective – and fast!
Similarly, on the weekend, spend some time with an animal. Animals are a fantastic way to relax. Cuddle up with your favourite furry friend, or take the dog out for a walk in nature. You will feel much more relaxed afterwards. The tail-wagging, lip-licking antics of a dog or the purr of a cat, will calm and relax you.
Finally, if you can’t get out in nature, bring nature inside. Find a YouTube Yoga video set outdoors in nature and do some outdoor-indoor Yoga. Well, you get my drift.

3. How to reduce stress during the day

There are numerous ways you can feel more relaxed during the day by doing some very simple things. Firstly organise one area of your life that feels disorganised. For example:

  1. Is your work desk disorganised?
  2. Is your kitchen pantry disorganised?

Literally – take matters into your own hands. Pick one area to organise each day and you will enjoy greater clarity throughout the week.
Also take small ‘me time’ breaks in the day. For example, take a long bath or do some DIY beauty and pamper treatments. Motherhood is a 24/7 job – so don’t feel guilty about taking these little minutes each day, when you need them

4. Out and about during the day

If you’re out and about at a mall, seek out one of those $2-a-go massage chairs. While out grab a $2 facemask from somewhere like the Reject Shop or consider making your own when you get home. These simple acts of self-love go a long way and they’re cheap!

5. Take a little time at lunchtime

Every time you have lunch go outside and place your face in the sun! If the sun does come out in winter, take advantage! Plus, it is important to keep those vitamin D levels up 🙂

6. Time on the couch

The most obvious time to relax is late in the afternoon or the evening when energy levels fall. Here are a few couch tips to ponder:

  1. Listen to some relaxation music on YouTube on your phone or headphones while on the couch
  2. Enjoy a nanna nap on the couch. Grab a pillow and blanket and make yourself comfortable. Note: Keep your Nanna nap between 10 and 20 minutes. This way you won’t feel groggy after waking up
  3. There’s no better remedy for stress than a chick flick. Pick a good one and indulge!
  4. Consider painting your nails while on the couch watching your favourite show
  5. Do little relaxing things such as doing a crossword
  6. Take up knitting while you watch your favourite TV show
  7. Journal your day
  8. Play with your kids. Chess anyone?

Note: Playing with kids brings back the child in you. Remember: Kids don’t have to worry about mortgages or bills. And while you’re playing you won’t have to either!

7. Create a relaxation zone at home

A nice idea is to create a relaxation room in your home. Consider using the guest room, if you have one. The guest room is the least used room in the house. Fill your relaxation room with beautiful and relaxing items, such as candles, plants, music, aromatherapy oils and ambient surroundings. Add any item that you know will induce a calm and relaxed mood. Make this room your own special room for relaxation. Finding a separate area for relaxation is important, because any other room will distract you and make you think of things you have to do or get done. Plus! Your guests will love the ambience!

8. Take a mental holiday

Take a ‘mental holiday’ for a week. Though you know you’re not physically on holiday, this act will reduce the pressure you put on yourself in life and will make you feel great fast.
As well as this, consider taking a digital diet. Take the entire day off digital on a Sunday once each month. You’ll realise how much digital is making you feel anxious and ‘information filled.’ Take a digital cleanse and do some nice anti-digital jobs – like setting up a kitchen herb garden or decluttering a closet.

9. Laundry time

Ironically, I find the laundry a very relaxing place to hangout in. This is because nobody in my family things to look for me in the laundry. There is also no television, computer, or anything else going on in that laundry that will distract me. I do find folding clothes up perfectly to be quite relaxing. Check out my other blog posts on ways to fold clothes perfectly. The laundry is a little bit of ‘Zen’ for me and feels a little like raking sand! Also, I get pleasure out of seeing the clothes of my loved ones perfectly folded. I think the smell of freshly cleaned clothes is also calming. Note: I am adding my digital radio in there – to add to the relaxation factor. I will be tuning into a relaxing channel of course!

10. Avoid cooking dinner

A really great way to relax is to not cook dinner at all. You may already be enjoying this pleasure, if you have purchased my Freezer Meals book. Freezer Meals gives you 28 days off cooking, because you only have one grocery list and one cooking session each month over a weekend. I experience a great sense of calm knowing that my dinners are cooked, there’s $400 more money in the bank and that I don’t have to cook pots and pans each night. I highly recommend not cooking each night. If you’ve been short on methods on how to reduce stress, this easy cooking system is a great way to start!

11. Heading to bed

If you don’t have to cook dinner, you will have plenty more time to do other relaxing things in the evening. Consider taking a bath in the evening. Dip your ears under the water, so you can’t hear a thing. This is very relaxing and you will emerge from your bath feeling amazing. Get into your pyjamas, enjoy a nice Chamomile tea and get yourself to bed at a reasonable hour. You will find that the simple act of going to bed early, is one of the best ways to feel more relaxed and energised for tomorrow.

12. In bed

There are plenty of ways you can relax a bit before going to bed. You could plan tomorrow. You could listen to relaxation videos, podcasts or hypnosis videos on your phone. (Note: I said ‘listen’ not watch. Watching will only stimulate your mind.)
Also, spend time in bed before going to sleep with a great book.
Using these methods, you will drift off to sleep quickly after winding down. Make sure your room is dark, and closed off to other noises in the house.

13. Weekend tips

Some simple ways to relax on the weekend include drinking a relaxing tea like green tea or a Chai tea. You could also calmly bake or relax in the kitchen cooking your favourite meal. Pick a meal out of a gourmet recipe magazine and enjoy the pleasure and relaxation of cooking in a slow manner. Alternatively, sit on the couch and flip through some cookbooks. I find this very relaxing, as reading a cookbook is not something you have to think about. You don’t have to take in any information. You can simply look at the pictures and find some inspiration for your next cooking adventure.

14. Music

Consider learning or playing an instrument. Music is by far one of the most relaxing things you can do during the week or weekends. I know that if I sing my children to bed with the guitar, they are asleep within minutes! Children, (the most active beings I know) are a great test for such theories. And this one works like a treat!

If you have any wonderful ways to relax or tips on how to reduce stress using practical methods, please leave them in comments below.
Happy relaxation!

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