Feeling stressed? Anxious? Overwhelmed? You’re not alone. Juggling motherhood, a career, school assignments, extracurricular activities, household chores, and caring for aging parents while still trying to fit in time for your spouse, friends, and family is difficult at the best of times, and when you add in sick days and school holidays, it can feel downright impossible. Self-care is often the first thing we neglect when life gets busy because we convince ourselves that self-indulgence is a selfish act we don’t have time for. We get stuck in the suck, and fail to realize that in order for us to show up for the ones we love, we have to take care of ourselves first.
If you’re looking for stress relief activities for moms that you actually have time for so you can be the best version of yourself every single day, we’re sharing 12 of our favorite self-care ideas below!
12 Stress Relief Activities for Moms
1. BREATHING EXERCISES
The first item on my list of stress relief activities for moms is to focus on your breath. Deep breathing is incredibly effective at reducing anxiety, and it can help reduce stress as well. It does take practice, but when you get used to it, you’ll be able to do it with ease. Find a chair to sit down in and put your arms on the armrests. Take a deep breath in through your nose, lasting for about 5 seconds, hold your breath for 3 seconds, and breathe out through your mouth for 7 seconds. Repeat 10 times, or until your heart rate slows and you feel more centered and calm.
While I think everyone should keep a gratitude journal, I find it especially important and helpful in times of stress as it helps us focus on the good instead of the bad. Keep in mind that your gratitude list doesn’t need to be long, nor does it need to be filled with elaborate things. A warm cup of coffee, a good book, morning snuggles with your kids, a funny meme, a meaningful conversation with your spouse, and fuzzy socks are all examples of little things that can add a huge amount of joy to your life. The Five Minute Journal is a great guided journal to start with to get you into the habit of starting and ending your day with positivity!
One thing I often find frustrating in lists of stress relief activities for moms is that they always tout the importance of physical activity and the feel-good endorphins it produces, but doesn’t take into consideration the fact that moms can’t always lace up and go for a 5-mile run smack in the middle of the day. And while there are tons of free at-home workouts you can stream in your living room, that’s not always an option either.
What I’ve learned is that something is better than nothing. If you don’t have time for a full workout by yourself, there are always other options. Try a quick jump rope workout to get your heart rate up, do a 10-minute ab workout, challenge your kids to a hula hooping competition, or do some housework. When it comes to stress relief, sometimes it’s less about calories burned and more about moving your body.
4. HAVE A GO-TO SONG
Do you have a song – or playlist – that helps you calm down when you feel stressed or anxious? If so, try to get into the habit of playing that song (or series of songs) the moment you notice the tell tale signs of stress starting to take hold. Load the song(s) on your phone, computer, iPad, etc. so it’s always accessible to you!
Adult coloring books gained popularity a few years ago, and for good reason. Coloring relaxes the brain and is a great stress-reducing activity you can use to help keep your thoughts in the present moment. It’s extremely portable, making it a good option for lunch breaks, while traveling, when waiting in doctor’s offices, etc., and there are tons of great coloring apps you can use with your smartphone or tablet. Coloring is one of my favorite stress relief activities for moms because it’s something you can enjoy with your kids, allowing everyone to calm down and decompress.
6. JIGSAW PUZZLES
If you’re looking for more stress relief activities for moms you can enjoy with your family, jigsaw puzzles are a great idea to consider (this ‘Things I Ate as a Kid’ puzzle is a great one!). My mom and sister were always working on a puzzle when I was growing up, and once the puzzle mat was invented, it made it easy to store during the day.
For those who enjoy writing, journaling is another one of my favorite stress relief activities for moms. Writing in a journal provides a great outlet, helps promote a sense of calm, provides perspective, and can help identify triggers and patterns as well as provide solutions. It also forces you to focus only on the topic you are writing about, which is a great way to stay centered and in the moment. We’ve written a whole post about journaling for emotional well-being, including our favorite guided journals and journal prompts, which you can read HERE.
8. ORGANIZE SOMETHING
A great way to calm your mind when you’re stuck inside and full of nervous energy is to organize something. It helps promote a greater sense of control, which in turn will help you feel less stressed and anxious. Consider listening to music or an inspiring podcast while you declutter to keep your mind from dwelling about the past and worrying about the future.
9. GUIDED MEDITATION
A list of stress relief activities for moms wouldn’t be complete without guided meditation! There are lots of apps you can download to guide you, but if you’re looking for mindfulness activities that allow you to completely unplug, I highly recommend the book, Practicing Mindfulness by Matthew Sockolov. It contains 75 guided meditations that take between 5-20 minutes, along with practical advice to help you stay focused and to ensure you get the most out of your meditation sessions.
10. GIVE YOURSELF SOME TLC
Whether it’s painting your nails, shaping your eyebrows, repairing your hair with a hydrating hair mask, or trying out a sheet mask, there are tons of little things you can do from the comfort of your own home to make it feel as though you’ve indulged in a little TLC each week. These things may seem time-consuming (who has time to paint their nails when the laundry needs folding?!), but I promise you that it is time well spent as these activities will force you to stay present and in the moment, while also allowing you to feel indulged and important.
11. TAKE UP A HOBBY
Whether it’s blogging, photography, baking, or a home renovation project, find something you’re passionate about and make time for it! It will do wonders for your soul, and will help you stay focused instead of worrying about the past and/or future.
12. RELAX IN THE TUB
The last item on my list of stress relief activities for moms is to simply relax in the tub after a long and difficult day. You will be amazed at what a hot bubble bath with candles and your favorite beverage can do for your mind after a difficult day tending to other people’s needs.
I hope this collection of stress relief activities for moms inspires you to find new and creative ways to schedule a little ‘me time’ into your weekly routine. Remember that self-care isn’t selfish, and that the only way you can show up well for the ones you love most is to take care of your own physical, mental, and spiritual needs.