I would like to say that I’m a pretty chill mom, but I’ve had those moments where I struggled to unwind from the day. My mind seemed to race to the next household tasks at hand, tackling homework, figuring out dinner, what was left from work to complete with assignments, attempting to navigate missed calls, and being engaged with the kids. I found myself going from zero to one hundred when it came down to trying to unwind in being totally wired, or I would clock out to take a nap, yet I still found myself restless. I recently tried some new techniques that really seemed to release some of the anxiety from the day to just unwind in giving myself permission to relax from what all transpired from the day.
It’s like as women and mothers many of us have trained ourselves to be always on call, alert, and ready to report to duty. We can glorify being busy as a badge of honor, a facade of caring devotion though martyrdom, and as a sense of validation in not giving ourselves the permission to rest. We have to give ourselves the permission to relax, unwind, clear our thoughts, and dare I say it moments of stillness to do absolutely nothing without guilt. It doesn’t have to be a long time frame of idleness. The longer we wait in holding off the laundry the bigger the pile grows, but we have permission to catch our breaths in gathering our thoughts before knocking down a few baskets of laundry.
I am a naturally wired person, and I have been a busy bee since childhood. I found that once I entered the workforce, became a mother, and our family expanded it became more difficult for me to just “take a chill pill” in not doing anything in any given moment. I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, but I decided to devote time to apply a little self-care this year. I tried some new things that I initially thought were quirky, but they were some peacemakers of calm that really helped my anxiety. I also revised some old faithful things that l use to enjoy, but in juggling the kids I let slide in making the excuse of saying I didn’t have time to them. I may not get to treat myself everyday with some of the gestures that I’ve now adopted in giving myself permission to relax, but I make sure to do at least a few once a week for a little treat for myself.
Here are a few things that I’ve learned in giving myself permission to relax:
- I discovered breathing meditation: Breathing meditation makes you focus your energy in concentration of your breath. I prefer to do breathing exercises in the morning or at the close of the day before bed. There are a few helpful videos online that you may use on YouTube on breathing exercises. I sometimes sneak in a breathing exercise at work on my planning when it’s been a stressful day.
- Unplug: Unplugging was a major game changer for me. I felt like I had to answer every call, text, and check every notification that came in on my cellphone. I felt guilty if I had a needy connection in being always ready to reply to them to not create any unnecessary tension in the relationship. It was exhausting! I have a certain time of the day that I unplug from everything and everyone for a few hours to regroup from giving out so much energy.
- Exercise : Exercising has so many benefits beyond getting tone in being in shape. Exercising is a great stress releaser in burning more than calories, but exercise burns the tension from the day. I’ve introduced yoga in my work out exercises which helps keep me centered and chill. I throw in a little Zumba, Afrobeats, and Hip Hop dance for fun.
- Wine to Unwind From The Day : I attended a wine tasting that was very thorough in sharing the benefits of drinking a class of red wine. I struggled at first with purchasing my first bottle of red wine for personal reasons. I later spoke with my doctor along with a few close co- workers who shared how a glass at the end of the day helps relieve tension and anxiety. It really helps me on days where I find myself more on edge then others to cool down with a glass of red wine, and drinking red wine helped me fall to sleep on restless nights.
- Spend Time In Nature There are so many scientific studies that prove that being in the beauty of scenic natural environments is relaxing for the mind and body. I live near the beautiful Savannah River area, and I always feel better after a stroll on the river. I get a two for one in spending time in nature with relaxing for a cool down combining fitness and the beauty of whatever habitat I choose to explore. Recently my daughters and I had a dinner picnic outside following work and school in the backyard which helped us all relax from the day.
- Watch A Good Movie Flick : I don’t get to watch t.v. often, and I feel like a couch potato if I sit down in front of the flat screen to long. However, it’s relaxing to kick back occasionally on my comfy sofa in having my snacks on deck to watch a good movie at home or catch up on a good series. I like to go to the movies alone or along with the kids to relax from a long week on the weekends.
- Cancel Plans: I hate being flaky, but occasionally I will cancel time consuming mundane obligations that I know will wear me out later in not being worth the bother. I have to fight my inner people pleaser who spreads herself to thin in not wanting to disappoint others if I say I can’t do anything. I find myself overwhelmed with my anxiety on go when I spread myself to thin. There’s nothing like a day when you’re truly not on edge to be on call where you can relax to catch your breath, and you can relax with your family.
- Have A Good Time With Good Vibes: There are so many benefits in spending time with people who bring light, laughter, and love in your life. I find it relaxing catching up with a friend for a Saturday lunch date, a good phone conversation, or a brief outing. It’s a relaxing energy boost to have some positive adult interaction as a busy mom as a healthy deflection from the normal routine.