Part 2 Of A Stress-Reduction Series for Moms
We race through our days barely coming up for breath. We have our work either at home during self-quarantine or we are essential personnel and are continuing to work outside the home. We also may have a partner who is doing their work thing and trying to get it done either at home or out there in the world of essential work.
And we have our children, who no longer have the freedom of movement or opportunities for connection with other kiddos that they were accustomed to pre-COVID and whose education, recently has become much more our responsibility than it has ever been before. We have so much on our plates.
Sometimes it feels like it’s them or us.
Some days the choice seems heartbreakingly simple: We can attend to them (our families) or ourselves. I have been struggling to get my own work done and give my kiddo the support he needs to get his schoolwork done. Forget about healthy cooking and housekeeping.
And let’s not forget about our own need for mental health and balance. Just because the world has changed dramatically doesn’t mean we don’t have the same needs for self-care that we did before this new “normal.” In order to do as much as we can, given the current demands on us, we need to take some steps to care for ourselves and keep our spirits up.
In the face of economic uncertainty, fear for the safety and well being of our elderly family members and/or family who are essential personnel, and staying healthy and available to our kids, self-care and stress reduction are more important than they have ever been.
One simple thing I like to do is a daily gratitude practice. It takes only a few minutes and allows for a positive and grateful outlook just before bed.
I like this practice because it reminds you of all the little things in your day there are to be grateful for. Having this reminder just before sleep, helps the mind stay with the positive aspects of your day and feel peaceful. I believe it leads to a better and more peaceful nights’s sleep. I hope you find it helpful.
Each night at bedtime, review your day from when you awoke in the morning until bedtime. Name all of the things that you are specifically grateful for on this day. It could begin with a great cup of coffee, a snuggle with your kiddo or partner, a yummy breakfast. And so forth. This sets the tone for going to sleep with a grateful and peaceful mind.
Avoid generalizations such as “I’m grateful for my family,” and instead say something that specifically happened today such as “I’m grateful that Chris made me breakfast.”
You can also turn events that you normally would perceive as neutral or negative into positives with this practice. An example of this could be oversleeping and barely having time to throw some clothes on before a Zoom meeting. In your gratitude practice, you could be express gratitude for the extra sleep and that you didn’t miss the meeting.
This shift in perception helps us to see our day in a better light and future events through a more positive lens.
You can modify your evening gratitude practice by either writing this into a journal or saying it aloud, taking turns, sharing your gratitude list with someone else. I sometimes do this with my son, as I am tucking him at night. Or you can voice record it or type it in to one of your devices. (However, I strongly recommend being device-free for 30-60 minutes prior to sleep.)
Better sleep and a more optimistic attitude are great allies in stress management.
Try this every day for two weeks. You should very quickly begin to see a shift in attitude and an increase in feelings of optimism and appreciation.