Navigating the Stress, Mindfulness, and Self-Care Cycle
Stress: We’re all familiar with the havoc stress can wreak on our bodies and moods, especially when raising small children. While it’s sometimes inevitable, there are steps you can take to ease stress and create a better environment for both you and your kids.
Mindfulness: Start by being mindful. Take a few weeks to monitor your stress levels. Identify the triggers, the physical signs of stress, your tone when speaking to your children, and your coping mechanisms. Once you’ve identified stressors within your control, make positive changes and set boundaries to manage its impact. Develop a plan for regular stress management to prevent it from building up.
Self-Care: Self-care means intentionally being kind and gentle with yourself. It encompasses positive self-talk and nurturing your body with the right things. Self-care varies from person to person and even from season to season. For me, it’s getting my hands dirty in the garden during summer, feeling grounded, and understanding my role in the ecosystem. In winter, I crave sunlight, warmth, cozy socks, teas, and hearty soups. Life transitions require different types of self-care, whether it’s marriage, divorce, birth, death, job loss, empty nests, or retirement. Post-pandemic life has been challenging, so I’m crafting a self-care routine as a single mother by choice. My obstacles include my youngest’s bedtime routine and managing a busy day. Here’s my plan: make time for myself to do nothing, get to bed earlier, utilize daycare’s Parents’ Night Out, seek professional relaxation, incorporate an easy exercise routine, and allow my mind to rest.
How to Prevent Your Stress from Becoming Their Stress: As a Single Mother by Choice, you set the tone in your household. When stress looms, be intentional about staying present with your children. Get down to their level, soften your voice, offer more affection, and remember their innocence, even when addressing misbehavior. Healing hugs and kisses work wonders for both you and them. Seek help when stress leads to hopelessness. I found a therapist to address work-related stress, but it’s crucial to establish a therapeutic relationship before it becomes a necessity.
Connecting with “Why”: On this particular fall day, I needed to get out of my head and leaned fully into spending the day apple picking with the children. Just watching them play and jump… connects me to my “WHY”. In this season of my life, self-care looks like connecting with myself and my kids. We went to a fall festival, and it was fabulous; we came home with a bag full of apples. How ‘bout them apples! 🍎🍏