Give a Massage
Yes, a massage for yourself would be awesome, however, you sure can’t get one in five minutes or less. What you can do is give your child or baby a quick massage a few times a day. I know, it sounds nuts, right? However, research shows that when you massage someone else it initiates a drop in the stress hormone cortisol, which helps calm you down quickly. Bonus, the benefits of even a quick baby or child massage are far reaching. Studies show that massage can result in a more relaxed child, increased bonding, regular sleep patterns and more. A happier, more relaxed and rested child is absolutely a less stressful child for you. If you’ve never experimented with massage, no worries, it’s easy. Most massage experts recommend that child massages last 30 minutes, but research shows that smaller, quicker massage sessions can also be beneficial if you’re short on time. See the links below for advice.
There’s no big secret as to why blowing bubbles relaxes you. Most relaxation techniques focus on breathing exercises, because slower and deeper breathing is proven to have a calming effect. Bubbles are considered so relaxing that many hospitals even advocate bubble blowing for children before they undergo a medical procedure. Bubbles not only fit the relaxation bill but this is something you and your kids can do to chill out together. To make some non-toxic bubble mix, fill a reusable mason jar with about three-parts water to one-part eco-friendly dish soap. Mix gently and then dip a bubble wand into the mixture and blow away. To really benefit have a contest to see who can blow the biggest bubble – this requires that you exhale slowly and carefully, which is more relaxing than blowing fast. If you want to make your own bubble wands, use some thin twisting wire or even dip a recycled spool of thread into your bubble mix – remove all the thread and any paper first. If it’s a sunny day blow bubbles outside, but if it’s miserable, drape an old sheet over your couch and blow away in the living room. It’s just soap!
Accept That Not Everyone Will Like You
One of the hardest parts of being a parent, in my opinion, is the criticism you get from your peers. Seriously, we’re all in this together, yet, those that have judged me the harshest aren’t strangers, but other parents. It starts when you’re pregnant – home birth or hospital, and never ends. From formula feeding vs. breastfeeding to co-sleeping to homeschooling to pink LEGO blocks to silly little things like baby slings or not putting a hat on your baby, other parents will judge your every decision and it can be stressful. Learn now that not everyone will agree with you, or even like your parenting decisions. Come to terms with this and stand up for what you believe in without letting others get to you. When another parent starts in with, “OMG I’d never do…” allow yourself the luxury of tuning out.
Take five minutes and remind yourself about the last time someone gave you a parenting compliment. Think about why you make the decisions you do and consider something great you’ve accomplished with your kids. Maybe you serve healthy meals or buy organic toys. Maybe you’ve managed to clear out plastics or your child made you a “Best mama in the world” card. You have a lot to be proud of, so although it’s hard to ignore mean comments, try to focus on the positive. With practice this gets easier. It sounds over simplistic, but stewing over some other parent’s opinion of you accomplishes nothing and wastes time. Is it really worth it?
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