Life as a mom is hectic. When I’m not physically in go-go-go mode, my mind is constantly running through my endless to-do list. It can be overwhelming, and I was finding myself constantly in need of some rest and relaxation. You may be thinking “I don’t have time to stop to relax,” and I’m here to tell you: yes you do, and more importantly, you should.
If there is one thing I’ve learned through my battle with depression and anxiety is that if I don’t make the time for myself to do something calming and clear my mind, my feelings of intense stress will never get better. In order to be my best self, I need to make self-care a priority. This is true not just for those suffering from mental health issues, but also for parents. We put the well-being of our children first all the time, often at the expense of ourselves. But I’ve noticed that when I’m not putting taking care of me on my list of priorities my family suffers the consequences along with me.
Bringing some relaxation back into your life really can be more simple than you think. Try finding something that you can make the time to do, even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes a day, whether it’s reading a book, doing a crossword or sudoku, knitting, writing, trying some brain teaser puzzles…anything that can help you de-stress from the crazy day-to-day life of parenthood. Once you include it into your daily routine you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to keep up with.
For me, I decided to start colouring. I bought some adult colouring books and a package of nice pencil crayons and just gave it a try. I figured I used to love colouring so much as a kid so I’m sure I’d still enjoy it now, and I was right. It’s honestly incredibly calming for me. I become so focused on what I’m doing that soon I realize my body feels relaxed and my mind has stopped racing through that endless to-do list.
While I often sit down to colour after the kids have gone to bed, I have also found time to do so during the evening before their bedtime. Setting the example of putting my phone and tablet away to colour has sometimes given my son and daughter the idea to also take a screen break. My daughter has even grabbed her own colouring book and crayons and sat contently with me while we both coloured.
So, parents, I encourage you to try finding a hobby you can easily sit back to enjoy for a short time during your busy day and watch how your stress levels and your moods change as relaxation takes over. Sure, you’ll still encounter stressful parenting moments. I certainly do! This won’t suddenly transform you from being a hot mess mama, but at least you will be more zen.