Stress is the biggest killer – it’s thought to be the leading cause of heart attacks. Whilst you can’t always remove stress triggers from your life, you can find ways to relieve stress before it turns chronic. I mean, I don’t think we can remove the kids but there’s some other good little ideas!
Exercise is a great way of flushing out the stress hormones (aka – cortisol) from our bodies, replacing it with feel good hormones (endorphins). If you’re stressed at work, you may even be able to fit in a five minute workout in your lunch break to release some of that stress – anything that raises your heart rate is likely to get the endorphins flowing. When I was on maternity leave with the kids I joined a Mum & Baby Workout group and I absolutely loved it!
Take a hot bath
A hot bath similarly releases endorphins all around the body as well as lowering blood pressure. Who knew exercising and hot baths could have the same effect!? I know which one I’d pick! A bath is a great way to destress after a long day at work or with the kids, many people claim that Epsom salts can help to make them feel more relaxed too, so a scoop of those may be worth a try.
Meditation helps to clear the mind of stressful thoughts. You only need a couple spare minutes to meditate making it another easy thing to do on your lunch break or just before bed, some people find listening to music and meditating works well – when I feel particularly anxious I find a quick Headspace session before bed really works wonders! Other friends of mine, combine meditation with yoga or pilates.
Get more sleep
I know, it’s easier said than done with little ones around but lack of sleep and stress often forms a vicious cycle. When you haven’t had enough sleep, you’re more likely to get stressed – at the same time, stress makes the mind more alert, preventing you from getting to sleep as easily. Make sure that you’re getting at least six hours a night – this helps your body to feel more rested, so you don’t wake up feeling stressed and start the cycle again.
Get a helping hand
I am the worst for this – taking on too much responsibility! But asking for help can help to relieve this burden and in turn relieve some stress. This could be anything from delegating work to a colleague to getting a family member to looking after the kids for a couple of hours. Getting married? Hire help in the form of a wedding planner. Moving house? Hire house removals to help. If you can’t find anyone to offer physical help, sharing your problems is just as good – emotional support can be just as valuable.
Take a well-earned break
Too much exposure to one stress trigger can cause chronic stress. You may not be able to remove the trigger from your life, but you can always take a break; take time off work to plan a holiday or simply to have some time to yourself to relax at home. If parenthood is wearing you down, then book a babysitter for a night so that you can enjoy letting your hair down!