If you’re at home with one, two or, lord help you, three or more kids, there’s a good chance you’re run off your feet for most of the day. Trying to keep up with your kids, on top of everything it takes to keep your house running smoothly, can be intense at the best of times.
So how can you recharge, when there’s no time to go to the bathroom, never mind the spa? Tiny moments. Try one of the techniques below, to bring you back to a saner version of yourself.
Breathe—This one seems pretty obvious, but you have no idea how little of your lungs you’re using, when you breathe without thinking about it: less than one tenth of your lungs’ total capacity, according to Wikipedia. Add in a bit of anxiety or just the general feeling of being pressured to fit everything into your day, and you are likely taking teeny tiny breaths.
Try a quick exercise to deepen your breath, if only for a minute, and see how things improve: inhale for a count of four, hold for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, and hold for a count of four. Repeat. This is called “box breathing.” Count as fast or as slow as you feel comfortable, but gradually try and slow your counting down, over time.
Stretch—This is another simple thing you can do that will bring your attention back into your body. You don’t need to be a pretzel, or do some elaborate routine, you just need to stretch enough to release some muscles you may be holding, and get the blood circulating.
If you’re sitting, try this: lean over so your chest is resting on your knees, with your arms hanging down. Then sit back up and twist in each direction, from the waist, to look over you shoulder. Finally, reach your hands behind your back and clasp them together, straightening your arms as much as you can, to open your chest. Bonus points if you can take an extra minute to sit on the floor, with your feet together and your knees apart for a cobbler stretch, to open your hips.
Stop slouching—This is easier said than done, especially if you’re lifting a baby half the day, and possibly still breastfeeding. Mothers just get into the habit of slouching, and it saps your energy.
Here’s a tip: there’s a really cool part of the body called the xiphoid process. Best name ever, right? It’s a piece of cartilage located at the bottom of your sternum, basically where the bottom of your bra hits, between your breasts. Now imagine you’re showing the world that xiphoid process of yours, like it was the most beautiful jewel in the world. Can you feel your shoulders square and your chest lift? Doesn’t that feel better? Talk about a simple way to energize yourself.
Laugh—Sometimes this can be hard to do, during a particularly challenging day. Take 5 minutes and head over to YouTube to laugh at kittens falling off tables or goats yelling. Bring your kids over to the computer, too, so they don’t think you’re crazy, laughing away by yourself!
Dance—Sound dumb? Not the dancing type? Too bad! Go find yourself the cheesiest pop song, your favourite AC/DC tune, or even something upbeat by your kid’s favourite singer, and turn it up. The point is to move. Get your kids up and dancing with you, for some bonus points, and to ensure an easier nap or bedtime. It will get your blood pumping, and you’ll definitely smile a bit more easily, once you’ve done it.
Let’s face it: none of this is rocket science, but when you’re in the thick of raising a crew of littles, a gentle reminder of what you can do to find a moment of zen is a beautiful thing.