I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel like my brain has too many tabs open. And those tabs quickly multiplied when I welcomed Sofia.
Perhaps since becoming a mum, you’ve experienced it too; that feeling of overwhelm and overstimulation that makes even the simplest of tasks seem so tiring and difficult.
I think we can all admit that the last thing we want to do when we feel this way is work out. Like a computer with too many tabs open, it’s more tempting to ‘shut down’ with a glass of wine on the sofa than it is to get up and get moving.
Even getting your exercise gear out of the wardrobe can feel like too. much. effort.
I can say from personal experience that stress is a real motivation killer!
When left unchecked, stress is almost certain to prevent you from achieving your health and fitness goals and if you aren’t in the right mindset for exercise there’s little chance you’ll do it.
It’s not just dwindling motivation you have to contend with. Stress can stop you from achieving your goals in lots of ways:
What I’ve found is that exercise is the very thing that helps me manage stress and overwhelm. With each rep, it feels like I’m shutting off those metaphorical tabs one by one.
20 minutes later I’m feeling lighter, clearer-headed, and ready to take on the world. I know for sure that making time to move my body makes me a better mum too!
Still, when your shoulders are bunched up with stress and your mind is so full it feels like you might explode, I understand how difficult it is to make the decision to work out.
The secret, I believe, lies in finding ways to prevent and manage stress, so it’s not encroaching on your goals.
Here are a few things I believe will help you manage your stress a little better – I know they’ve certainly helped me!
I know, I know, that’s easier said than done, but there’s no shame in reaching out to those around you.
Whether it’s emotional support you need, someone to mind the kids or a little help around the house, asking for help can really take the load off.
Have a think about what tasks and to-dos are causing you the most stress right now. Maybe there’s someone you could delegate them to?
As a busy mum, you’re no stranger to a schedule. But how often do you carve out time on that schedule for yourself? Scheduling your me time is crucial.
Every week, when planning my schedule I make sure to find pockets of time for myself – and I encourage you to do this too. This includes my workouts – which helps as a procrastination queen!
Mark these small windows of time on your calendar and treat them as appointments that aren’t to be missed.
Another way to save valuable time? If you’re at home, start the day with your workout gear on or laid out ready for a before-the-school-run sweat. If you’re planning to fit it in during nap time or once the kids have gone to bed, set everything up whilst they are awake!
When I’m feeling overstimulated, and I don’t have Sofia in the car with me, I’ve made a habit of turning the radio off. These silent drives help me close off those metaphorical tabs and feel more balanced and calm.
You could give silent walking a go too – no music, no podcasts, just walk! Try it. It’s so refreshing and time alone with your thoughts will do you the world of good.
I can’t remember when I first discovered breathwork, but I can tell you this: it’s one of the best stress-relief tactics I use – and it’s something absolutely everyone can do.
Even your little ones! (I’ve been practising breathwork with Sofia and in terms of managing stress and regulating our emotions, it’s beneficial for us both.)
I’ve found the key with breathwork is being aware of when you need it. Maybe your little one is having a tantrum and you can feel your temper rising, or you feel overwhelmed because you’ve so much to squeeze in before the school run.
Use these moments to breathe in for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 4, and exhale for a count of 4. After about two minutes, you should find yourself feeling calmer.
Stress isn’t going anywhere. It’s all around us, and when you’re a mum it can sometimes feel like the plate-spinning and overstimulation are unrelenting.
We might not be able to tell the stressors in our life where to go, but we can certainly find ways to cope better with them – and in turn, find more ways to prioritise ourselves.