Are you looking for some tips to renew and replenish? You’re not alone.
While children are an immeasurable source of joy and love in our lives, being a caregiver comes with added stress. Often seen as a negative, it’s important to remember that stress is quite simply a reaction to a change or a challenge.
Each mother and caregiver may face unique stressors, but many demands of motherhood and the stressors experienced are basically universal. Time, finances, self-doubt, relationship demands, and loneliness are just some of the stressors at play.
What Impact Does Stress Have on our Lives?
In the short term, stress has its bonuses – it helps you be more alert, and have more energy to get things done. But long-term stress is another story, and can lead to serious health problems down the road.
Did you know that women are more likely than men to report symptoms of stress, including headaches and upset stomach? Women are also more likely to have mental health conditions that are made worse by stress, such as depression or anxiety.Reference: 1
How to Get Stress Levels Down and Quality of Life Up
Below are some self-care tips to help keep your stress-levels down and your quality of life up:
- Sleep. Focus on “sleep hygiene” – simple practices that can help you get a healthy, restorative rest, regardless of the time spent in bed. This means skipping that late afternoon coffee, and creating a digital curfew of 2hrs before bedtime, and using a sleep mask.
- Journal. Take 20 minutes a day to write in a free-flowing stream-of-consciousness style. Notice feelings that are just under the surface.
- Easy Listening. Listening to relaxing music, a song with a strong message you need to hear, or even some rock and roll you loved in high school.
- Mindful Sipping. Make yourself a nice drink like chamomile tea, hot chocolate or juice and sip it slowly.
- Get Out. Schedule at least one uninterrupted hour with a close friend. Go out for coffee or a drink, talk on the phone, go out for dinner, or go for a walk together.
- Get Active. Go for a walk (High Park or the boardwalk along Lake Ontario are great choices), go to the gym (Masryk-Cowan has a free gym), or start a swimming routine.
- Savor. Choose something you’re going to savour instead of just doing it (taking a shower, riding the train, walking, chopping wood, or reading magazine).
- Meditate. Try dropping in for the free Sunday Meditation Group put on by Meditation Toronto at St. Paul’s Trinity Church on Bloor. If you can’t pick up the class, you can download this free mantra meditation album, or try this simple one: Close your eyes, breathe deeply, focus on your breath, and repeat “All sounds return to the breath, all thoughts return to the breath, all distractions return to the breath.”
- Try Something New: Go someplace in the hood you’ve never been before – a park, the beach, an art gallery, a new route to the grocery store.
- Get Support: Try signing up to a program designed to help women with coping, stress, and self-esteem, such as the Peer Learning and Empowerment Group offered at the local Parkdale Community Health Centre.
Looking for more? Check out our Calendar and come enjoy yourself at Creating Together. If you need somebody to talk to, our staff are here for you. If you need additional resources, ask about our resource library designed to help parents and caregivers with different need.
We’re here for you – you’re not alone.