Motherhood can feel like trial-by-fire some days.
I love my kids more than anything on this whole planet but I have a confession: Some days are ROUGH and many of them can be pure chaos. From helping the oldest one in college long-distance, to coordinating rides and sports schedules, to making sure the little ones have everything they need, my kid lists can seem endless. I would never give up working for myself because it gives me so much flexibility to be with them, but being a mom-of-five while trying to work on 85 projects of my own (give or take) all at once isn’t easy.
I know that I talk about meditation all day every day, but even though I only need 4 minutes to get to my serene place, the truth is that meditation isn’t necessarily my only way to keep my calm when the kids are running circles around me and I have a deadline to meet.
So here are 7 easy non-meditation solutions that take me from feeling stressed to blessed in just a few minutes.
1. Follow your breath. I know that breathing plays a big part in meditation but it can be powerful on its own, too. Here’s what I do: I take a few moments to just pay attention to my breath. It’s as simple as it sounds. I notice that I’m inhaling and I notice that I’m exhaling. I don’t try to change it or slow it down; I just acknowledge it as it is in the moment. Here’s a video of a simple breathing exercise you might like to try.
2. Get creative! Coloring books for grown-ups have been all the rage the past couple of years but I like to make my own drawings. I create Bliss Notes (hand-drawn affirmations) that I share on social media. The joy that comes from creating something beautiful and inspirational is so good for the soul. And now I made it possible for you to make Bliss Notes your own with my Bliss Notes Coloring Pages. I use Bliss Notes as a moving meditation that also allows me to express my artistic side. Coloring is wonderful, but I would encourage you to do anything that makes you feel connected and creative. So, maybe give Bliss Notes a try or find something else that unleashes your inner artist (I recently took up crocheting, too!).
3. Get outside. Like, now. I’m lucky—I live on a beautiful farm with lots of land, far away from the noise of the city. I can take a walk around my property, or I can go hang out with my barnyard friends (we adopted goats, pigs, ducks, and a flock of chickens). Getting out of the house and into nature brings me back to a calm state every time. Even if you are miles from the countryside, you can find some peace in a local park, by a pond, or even on a small patch of grass outside. BONUS TIP: Go barefoot. Connecting to the earth through a method called “grounding” or “earthing” for just 30 minutes a day has been shown to reduce stress and even chronic pain and fatigue.
4. Netflix and (actually) chill. When everything gets to be a little too much, I am not at all opposed to calling a time out – for myself. I love to get caught up in streaming series, ones with a ton of episodes that I can just lose myself in. Trust me, there’s nothing like a Mad Men or Sex In the City marathon to make you forget your own problems.
5. Just say NO. I like to say yes to things that serve me and bring me joy but sometimes the best way to de-stress is to say NO. There is a power in carving out my own private bubble and not letting too many commitments bring me down. Make this a practice by creating visual space in your calendar. I use a physical paper planner, so it’s easy for me to glance at my whole week at once to make sure it’s not too packed. I like to see lots of white space in the evenings and weekends—that’s time for family and having unscheduled fun. Order my favorite planner here (and tell them I sent you!).
6. Start your day with gratitude. Every morning when I wake up I have three things I say: “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” I believe so strongly in the power of gratitude and its ability to drive more abundance and joy. When I’m stressing out and wanting to shout and throw a toddler-level epic tantrum, feeling grateful can be the furthest thing from my mind but I can tell you that is exactly when it works the best. Even in the toughest times, there is always something to be grateful for and it shifts my mindset from irritated to joyful. Say thank you. And mean it. Click here for a post about my favorite personal rituals.
7. Give up and give in. No, not in the “throw everything in the garbage and set it on fire” sense (even though it’s tempting sometimes!). But when all else fails, I remember that I created this life by design. I wanted to work in an environment where I could put myself in control of my time and be here with my family. That’s when I put the work aside—as much as I can–and practice allowing. I give up any resistance to my present circumstances and let myself enjoy my family. If they won’t let me work because they want to play, then maybe that’s exactly what I should be doing. Some days that’s all I need to shut up the stress and live my absolute best life. There’s always tomorrow to get back to work. I know—surrendering can feel impossible. That’s why I turned one of my favorite live talks into a digital workshop for women who feel overwhelmed by everything on their plate. Get all the details about Managing the Motherload: A Powerful Practice for Overcoming Overwhelm here.
More love for you means more love for your family.
Being able to create a state of peace and calm in any moment is crucial to my productivity and my ability to take care of my kids in a way that serves all of us. If I’m freaking out and anxious, then my kids will be, too. When I’m able to allow, let go, and go with the flow, my children learn how to do the same for themselves. So you see, creating peace for yourself actually creates peace in your environment.
I hope these tips serve you as well as they’ve served me. Let me know which tips you already use and which one you’re going to try first!
Rebekah “Bex” Borucki, founder of BexLife.com and the Blissed In® wellness movement, is a mother-of-five, TV host, meditation guide, author, speaker, birth doula, fitness and yoga instructor, and popular social media personality. Her first book, You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life (Hay House 2017), is available now, wherever books are sold.
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