If you have talked to any of your friends, relatives or coworkers within the last few months, you know that almost everyone has had some added stress. The global pandemic has caused legitimate concern for the health and safety of our loved ones. Many families are spending much more time together than they previously did, as workplaces have moved to the virtual office. Additionally, children are attending school from home full-time now and more parents are taking on the task of homeschooling to reduce the health risks of large crowds.
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Moms that are feeling overwhelmed, stressed out or simply exhausted are not alone. In fact, recent studies have shown that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused anxiety, depression and overall irritation in many individuals. As a mother, you already know how busy life’s responsibilities can be. Now with more of the family home for longer than normal, tension is higher in households across the United States – and probably in homes across the world.
Therefore, taking care of your emotional wellbeing is more important now than ever. Taking care of your family, maintaining your household and reducing your stress levels is vital during this difficult season. With individuals – many of who have never experienced the side effects of mental health issues – feeling emotionally drained, it’s important to understand what you can do to relieve stress and maintain your emotional wellness.
Below, I’ve outlined some resources and practices you can start in just a few minutes from the comfort of your home. Naturally, these methods won’t work for everyone. For many of us, however, these simple self-care practices can improve our mental health and give us the energy we need to tackle life.
Relieving and Managing Stress
The first step to improving your emotional wellness is understanding your stress. Keep in mind that stress is natural, and given the current global pandemic and economic crisis, it’s expected. You should not aim to eliminate stress, as this can cause you to put unrealistic expectations upon yourself, ultimately causing more stress. Instead, you should focus on finding ways to relieve and manage your stress in a positive, productive way.
Additionally, stress presents itself in a variety of ways. Some individuals experience extreme fatigue, migraines and irritability. Others may find they have tense muscles, cramps or stomach pain. And others, still, may find it difficult to fall asleep, experience increased anxiety or even panic attacks. Understanding how stress affects your body is the best first step to reduce stress.
Once you know what you need to target to feel better physically and mentally, you can learn how to manage your stress and relieve overall tension, allowing you to feel better and breathe easier.
Best Practices to Manage the Side Effects of Stress
If you’ve never experienced anxiety, depression or high-stress situations, you may find yourself feeling uncertain about how best to handle your situation. However, there are a variety of methods of self-care you can do to help yourself feel gradually better. Below, I’ve outlined some of my favorite ways to reduce and manage my stress.
Set Aside Time for Yourself
With your family home nearly all the time, it can be difficult to find time alone. For some, this isn’t a problem, but many of us value our alone time and struggle to feel comfortable when we are unable to take a breather. This is natural and with tension running high for everyone, it can cause overwhelmed emotions.
Create a daily plan and set aside time to allow yourself to relax. For many, this may require specifically scheduling time alone. There are a variety of ways to do this, such as:
Speak with your spouse and determine a time when you can leave the house and go for a walk, drive or simply enjoy being outside in the nature. Getting out of the house and away from your usual work can be so helpful.
Plan on taking a relaxing bath with lavender soap and oils, which has been scientifically proven to help relieve stress. Tell your husband you are going to take your me-time in the bath, leave your cell phone in another room, lock the bathroom door, and allow yourself to have half an hour of rest.
Take a nap. One of the best ways to help relieve stress-related fatigue is to allow yourself to recharge your batteries. A half-hour nap is a great way to improve your mental health.
Reach out to a friend. Let someone you trust know how you are doing. Make a phone call or go on a walk with a friend. It’s important to stay connected with others during difficult times. You may find encouragement in hearing from their experiences. You are not alone.
These are a few ways you can intentionally care for yourself. While none of them are drastic or extensive, allowing yourself a few minutes of peace and quiet refreshes the mind and improves mental health.
Relieve Muscle Tension
Another way to help improve your overall emotional wellness is to reduce the tension in your muscles. While this may seem trivial, when your body is holding less tension, you’re able to better focus and feel more energetic. Naturally, there are multiple ways to accomplish this type of stress-relief from the comfort of your home as well.
To begin with, you could consider purchasing a lavender neck wrap. They’re incredibly comfortable to your tense neck and shoulder muscles. They are made to be heated over and over again or cooled to your personal preference. According to research, using lavender helps relieve muscle tension and release serotonin to the brain. It allows you to relax and can ultimately help improve your mental clarity.
Alternatively, you could consider products such as an acupressure mat or a massage roller to target specific areas of the body where tension builds. Think about the last time you had a massage – remember how nice and relaxed you felt afterward? The goal is to provide yourself with these small pleasures from the comfort of your home.
Mindfulness is often recommended for patients who suffer from anxiety or depression. The practice of mindfulness, ultimately, encourages you to focus on the present. Consider what you can control and let go of what you cannot. Additionally, it encourages you to be grateful for what you do have and reframe your thoughts for more positive thinking.
There are many ways you can practice mindfulness. Some individuals enjoy journaling or writing out their emotions. Others prefer to use free meditation apps, which guide you through the mindfulness process.
Additionally, there are workbooks that you can use online to stay organized and mindful in your daily life.
Be Better, Feel Better
Ultimately, taking care of yourself is more important now than it ever was. We live in uncertain times which can cause relationship strain. However, if you understand how your stress is impacting your emotional wellbeing, you can work to improve your mindset.
Keep in mind, each individual is different and what works for you may not work for someone else. It’s important to practice positive communication, empathy and understanding, both towards others and towards yourself. Self-care, ultimately, goes hand-in-hand with self-compassion. This means understanding what will positively impact you and taking time to do it.
For those who are used to the constant, busy hustle and bustle of daily life, taking the time to practice self-care can seem tedious or even selfish. However, consistent and small self-care practices can help improve your overall mental health and refresh you soul for whatever comes next. It is an important part of taking care of yourself, your family and your day to day life.
Lastly, remember – you don’t have to eliminate your stress. Stress is a natural part of life, especially now. Focus on taking care of yourself and addressing your emotional wellness by reacting to stress, instead of trying to eliminate it, and you will be on the right path.
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