With its flowers and fragrant breezes, late spring is certainly one of the most beautiful times of year. But for parents with school age kids, it can also be one of the more stressful. A full schedule of recitals, sports games, testing, and planning for summer childcare can make even the most organized among us feel stretched. Beat back the stress with these simple, proven techniques.
1. Pick up a coloring book
Coloring books geared towards adults are hot right now for good reason – they’re a mindless and healthy way to zone out, reduce stress, and bring more color and creativity into your life. Studies show that any simple, repetitive action can help our minds become quiet and focused, so pull out the kids’ markers and colored pencils and get coloring!
2. Do yoga in your pajamas
You know how well yoga softens those edges and makes you feel human again, but getting to a class can be expensive and time consuming. Set your alarm a half hour earlier and do some asanas before the kids get up with the help of a DVD borrowed from the library or through a number of free or inexpensive online yoga classes.
3. Take a walk outside
Doing any physical activity is proven to reduce stress, but you don’t need to run to get that runner’s high! Try taking daily short walks, and instead of thinking about what’s worrying you, pay attention to your senses – what you see, hear, feel, and smell. Taking time to immerse yourself in nature can make a huge difference in your emotional and physical well-being.
4. Meditate on it
The wonderful thing about meditation is that it can be done anytime, anywhere. Spending even a few minutes in meditation can help bring back your calm and inner peace. Whether you’re walking, sitting in the doctor’s office, or watching the kids’ soccer game, try focusing on your breath as you inhale and exhale deeply. Your body will thank you!
5. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
Stress often happens when we let our thoughts spiral out of control. If you get to that place, spend a few minutes focusing on what you are grateful for – maybe it’s your family, your health, or the job that puts food on your table every day. Studies show that people who feel gratitude are happier, more satisfied with their lives, and feel less stress.
6. Join the kids in the pool
Remember that feeling of floating in the ocean and how relaxed it made you feel? It turns out that simply floating in water for a few minutes can sooth your brain waves and reduce your stress considerably.
7. Fill up that glass
While we’re on the subject of water, don’t forget to stay hydrated! The link between drinking water and stress reduction is well documented. All of our organs – including our heart and brain – need water to function properly. Becoming even a little dehydrated boosts the level of cortisol, a stress hormone.
8. Crank the tunes
According to a study published in the British journal Heart, slow or meditative music is a proven stress buster, so load up the iTunes with relaxing tunes.
9. Write it out
If something is worrying you, try writing it down to lessen the load on your mind. Studies have shown that simply writing down your worries and fears can help reduce them. No one ever has to read them (not even you!). When you’re done writing, throw the paper away or delete the document. It’s not the end product that matters, just the simple act of writing.
10. Get organized!
Few things are as stressful as being unprepared. Take a few minutes at night to get organized for the next day, including writing out a task list and looking over your calendar for the day. Knowing you have everything covered and in-control will set a positive and productive tone for the day. Try using an online calendar and connected mobile app such as Bievo so you always have your family’s calendar and task list handy wherever the day brings you.