As the summer draws to a close and the children are *finally* back at school Mum's all around the country are breathing sighs of relief. Rebecca Louise Kelly, Life Coach and Holistic Therapist and Philip Storey, Life Coach and Meditation Teacher at Haelan Therapy share their top stress-reducing tips to enable you to pause, do nothing and take time out for you...
Being a busy mum, is just that…busy! We often run around after everyone else; our children, our husbands, our partners, our friends. Everyone else but ourselves. We find that we reach the end of the day having not spent a moment thinking about what we might want and then when we do find a sliver of time to think about ourselves or do something for ourselves, we feel guilty for it. But how does that guilt affect your life? How does that guilt manifest itself and what is the impact on you, your partner, your children and your work? What is the cost of not doing anything about this feeling to you?
Guilt seems like an inevitable part of being a mum. There is always a list of things that we ought to be doing or ways that we ought to be doing things better. Our time is always stretched and we often use short cuts to get by, and then beat ourselves up about it. But here’s the good news…it doesn’t have to be that way. You can take time out for you and not feel guilty about it. Rebecca says “It’s about coming from that deep place of knowing that when you honour yourself, you honour those around you. That when you consider yourself ahead of your children and family (yes I know, really?!) and put your needs first and foremost, you become a lot stronger for everyone around you. If you leave your needs at the bottom of a very large pile and consistently feel guilty for even considering yourself for a second, you become weaker and more stressed as a result.”
So what would it feel like to stop and do nothing? If you don’t know how it feels to do nothing, it’s ok, but instead perhaps consider what could the possibility of doing nothing feel like? Philip explains, “Doing nothing, means putting you first. And whilst this can be a challenge to accept, it’s crucial that you take care of yourself. If you don’t take great care of yourself, you can’t be your best for your work, your friends and your loved ones. Perhaps it’ll surprise you to hear that one of the very first things we learn when we train as a life coach, is that we need to take great care of ourselves. If we don’t, we cannot give our clients the best of us. This is the same for mums too. If you don’t take care of yourselves then you cannot give your family the best of you either.”
So does doing nothing, really mean doing absolutely nothing? Well, it means being still and being with self. This can happen anywhere and it only requires a few minutes each day. Here’s is a list of things that Philip and Rebecca recommend you can try when you carve out a few precious moments for you:
Our Top Tips
1. The Belly Breath Meditation - Ask most adults how they breathe, and they’ll say that it’s up and down. Some might breathe from the belly and upwards to the shoulders. But this isn’t how we’re innately meant to breathe. We are meant to breathe in and out from the tummy. This is how we breathe when we are babies, and it only changes when we get to six or seven years old, once we are exposed to life’s stresses and strains. Yes, it starts as early as that in life.
So, picture a baby laying down asleep. You can see their belly breath so clearly, as their whole body rises and falls from the belly. Grab five to ten minutes at the quietest time of your day and get comfortable, whether that’s laying down or sitting on a chair or on the ground. Take three deep breaths and gently close your eyes. Place your hand on your belly button and breathe in and out through the nose. Feel your tummy expand and contract. Notice how calm and peaceful you begin to feel within just a few breaths. Do this for ten minutes and after a few days, you’ll notice a difference in how you feel throughout your day. It really is a beautifully simple technique and is a great one to try if you have trouble sleeping.
2. The Body Scan Meditation - If you would prefer something that checks in with the whole body, this meditation is for you. It’s called the body scan. Grab five to ten minutes at the quietest time of your day and get comfortable, whether that’s laying down or sitting on a chair or on the ground. Take three deep breaths and gently close your eyes. Scan your body very slowly, from the toes, all the way up to your crown. As you scan, breathe normally, in and out through your nose. Notice any areas of the body where you find pain or feel emotions. Breathe into these areas before moving on. If thoughts come, allow them to come and allow them to pass, return to scanning your body.
Philip suggests “with both of these meditations, it might take a week or two to start noticing the change in feeling. For some, it’s instant. Just be patient and trust that by spending this time with yourself, doing absolutely nothing, is perfect. Whether you feel something or not, trust that in that moment, you are giving to you, and everyone around you will benefit.”
3. Going for a soak - In 2002 a University of Wolverhampton study found that a daily bath taken at the end of the day significantly improved the mood and optimism of the participants. Rebecca suggests “Even the process of taking time out to run the bath, adding your favourite bubble bath or essential oil such as lavender, rose or geranium, will help to bring your heart rate down and boost your mood”. You may wish to play some music (see below) and light candles to create a relaxing atmosphere as well. Baths are not only great for unwinding and soaking away the stresses of the day but they also play an important role in boosting your immune system too.
4. Listening to music - Music can have a profound effect on our emotions and body. Sound therapy has long been popular as a way of relaxing and restoring our health. For centuries, indigenous cultures have used music to enhance well-being and improve health. A slow tempo can help to quieten your mind making you feel soothed and able to release the stress of the day. 432Hz (Hertz) is believed to be the frequency of the Universe and can help us achieve higher consciousness and balance our body. Music is easily accessible for most people, even busy mums and so it makes it an easy stress reduction tool. Singing bowls, drums, musical instruments or listening to a piece of music are all ways we can access sound to aid relaxation. The next time you notice signs that you are beginning to feel stressed, find an area where you can easily rest and listen to music some relaxing tunes. This might be 5 minutes before you go to bed or 5 minutes at a time when the children are asleep. Simply give yourself the space to lie down, close your eyes and listen. Rebecca suggests Canzonetta Sull’aria by Mozart, Watermark by Enya or Weightless by Marconi Union to be tunes that can enable total relaxation which have been scientifically proven by the Mindlab Institute to help you relax and fall asleep and are the most effective in helping to reduce stress and anxiety. You can listen to them HERE.
For more information about how we support busy mums to relax, switch off and take time for themselves, book in for a free non-obligation consultation at Haelan Therapy HERE. Haelan Therapy is a holistic therapy centre based in Hitchin, Hertfordshire which provides holistic treatments, life coaching, meditation and transformation days.