Or just distracted by, well, everything, and wish you could get back to feeling peaceful and at ease?
As busy mamas, we’ve all been there.
Life happens, and I don’t think we’ll ever reach a nirvana of perpetual bliss. Still, when we feel stressed out or overwhelmed, we don’t have to cross our fingers and hope things magically improve.
I’ve found that when things start to feel out of control, there are simple steps I can take to restore my inner calm.
Even little changes can make all the difference, and help us move from feeling stressed out and overwhelmed back to feeling calm and revitalized.
11 Simple Habits For More Peace and Less Overwhelm
Habit #1: Laugh
You know what they say… Laughter is the best medicine, so make sure to laugh every day. There’s nothing better than laughing with your kids and hearing them crack up. See what you can do to get them giggling. If you have a friend who always makes you laugh, give her a call. Or watch a funny video, like this one. Or listen to a funny podcast, like Lady Business Radio. (This is not a comedy show, but Jess has a great sense of humor.) I also laugh a lot while listening to Meagan and Shana talk about fashion on The Style Hour.
Habit #2: Prioritize Sleep
There’s nothing more crazy-making than a chronic lack of sleep. To function at our best, we really need to make sleep a priority and strive for 8 or 9 hours a night. If this seems like an impossible dream, try making one day a week a go-to-bed early night. Another small step is to aim to go to bed five or ten minutes earlier than usual. Gradually work your way down to your ideal bedtime. You’ll thank yourself when you wake up feeling like a new person.
Habit #3: Let Go of Perfectionism
We can put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Still, I try to embrace “Better done than perfect” and remember that when years have passed, whether or not I did something “just right” is not something I’ll be worrying about. So focus on your big goals and intentions, and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Habit #4: Plan Dinner Before Lunch
We’ve all been there. It’s five o’clock, and you’re wondering, What’s for dinner? Aaghh! On the other hand, planning dinner in the morning is a great way to establish a feeling of calm and control for your whole day. Just knowing that you’re not going to be stressed out and scrambling at the worst time of day will help you breathe a sigh of relief.
Habit #5: Check In With a System
Your system may be as simple as a list, or a planner, or just your Google calendar. My own system is based on David Allen’s Getting Things Done, but I’ll admit that I sometimes let it go for a while. At the very least I need a daily to do list and my Google calendar to make sure I don’t miss anything. With so much going on between the kids, the husband, and me, I’ve got to use my calendar, or I will miss something important.
Habit #6: Think Kind Thoughts About Yourself
Is your inner critic really nasty sometimes? Negative self-talk can be really subliminal, but try to be aware of what you’re thinking about you. When you notice yourself thinking bad thoughts about yourself, challenge them. You are good, and you are enough.
Also, actively encourage positive thoughts about yourself. For five minutes, write down as many positive things as you can about yourself. These can be big or small things, serious or silly. Also take time to write down nice things other people have said about you.
Refer to your list or make a new list anytime you need a boost. Another small step is to think about your self-positives for the day as you are falling asleep at night. Training our brains to think good things about ourselves makes such a positive difference in how we feel.
Habit #7: Experience Moments of Stillness
Our brains are often in overdrive, a constant stream (waterfall?) of thoughts–worries, plans, memories, random musings… It can wear you out. Even just a little stillness can make a huge difference. Meditation is excellent for reducing stress and anxiety. Even five minutes a day can make a difference.
Yoga is another great way to add stillness to your life. There are many video workouts that are not very long, but even just five minutes on the floor in Savasana feels so good. One good calming yoga video is Yoga For Stress Relief. My daughter Lily doesn’t like it because she feels like we’re not doing anything. I think this is what makes it so good as a stress reliever. This is probably better done without small children or pets around (for maximum stress relief) since if they are around, they will be lying on top of you, which can be a little distracting.
Habit #8: Move Your Body
I do best with at least one walk a day, and if I don’t get it, I can tell I’m more stressed. When I walk my daughter to school, that’s good, but more is better, even if it’s just 20 minutes. Movement is also something great to do with the family. We have a children’s yoga video called Storyland Yoga that my daughters love, and I like to do it with them. We also like to turn on Pandora to the disco channel and dance together as a family. Do the Hustle!
Habit #9: Connect With the People You Love
Even if you’re an introvert like I am, who really needs your time alone, we all need connection, too. Make sure you connect daily with people you love who love you, too. Make sure you get a little time every day to talk and vent and be listened to and encouraged, and encourage others, too.
Habit #10: Help Other People
There is nothing like showing kindness and love towards others to help you feel good. Practice random acts of kindness. Smile at strangers. Hold the door for someone. Tell someone they look nice. Say thank you. Tell another mother you think she’s doing a great job. Write a letter to a friend just to let them know you care. Really listen when other people are talking to you. Look them in the eye. Be fully present. Encourage someone today.
Habit #11: Fill Your Cup
Do something every day that makes you feel good. Turn up the music and sing along with abandon. Take out the crayons and color for ten minutes. Play with your camera. Write in your journal. Read a good book. Watch a feel-good video. Take time to do something for yourself, even if it’s just for a little while. You won’t get very far if you’re emotionally running on empty.
Over to You
Is it hard for you to make yourself a priority? Which of these habits come easier to you? Which are harder to do?
I’d love to hear from you. What are you thinking and feeling, right now? Let me know in the comments.
P.S. Pass It On
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