The hectic nature of the holiday season often comes with a catch twenty-two for many parents. The increased stress level leaves parents needing more time for self-care, yet the added business makes it harder to find time for it. Here are four practical ideas for self-care that help you save on both time, and stress.
- Don’t forget to breathe: you will be shocked at just how much of a difference taking a few seconds to practice controlled breathing exercises can make. The 4-7-8 technique is a common one to reduce anxiety in less than a minute. Hold your tongue to the roof of your mouth and breath in while counting to four, count to seven while you hold your breath, and breathe out for a count of eight with pursed lips. Repeat this two or three more times and you will notice your anxiety level significantly decrease. Another pattern to try if you are feeling particularly frustrated is 4x4x4x4 breathing or “square” breathing. Breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, and pause for another four before repeating three more times.
- Surround yourself with good smells: The sense of smell is the most primitive sense and the most closely linked to memory. Making your environment smell a certain way can have a significant effect on your mood and stress levels. Lavender, cinnamon, peppermint, and jasmine are among some scents that are naturally calming. Finding smells that remind you of good memories can also be a powerful way of improving your mood. By investing in essential oils and naturally made candles, you can be prepared for an easy yet soothing step you can take to fight stress.
- Keep yourself moving: During the bleak fall and winter months, it can be more of a challenge to find the motivation to stay in your normal exercise routine, especially if it involves outdoor activities. The extra effort is worth it, though, since exercise is a crucial aspect of improving mood and reducing stress. Finding even simple ways to get your blood pumping in the house can be helpful. Workouts such as burpees, lunges, or core exercises can be quickly completed in your living room and require very little equipment. You may even simply try to get your exercise in through some activities with your kids such as an intense Wii game.
- Get some laughs in your day: When your schedule seems saturated with things you are trying to get done, it can be easy to go through the day without something that makes you laugh. Laughing is an automatic stress reliever and is a known way to improve the overall quality of life. It could very well be worth your time to find and save quick funny videos or images to your phone that you can access if you need to stop for a quick laugh in your busy schedule.
Since self-care is so crucial to keeping yourself in the best state for yourself and your family, it is important to not let it slip through the cracks during busy times. We hope these tips will help!
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