This doesn’t require 2 hours of meditation daily or locking yourself in an isolation chamber. There are simple things you can do during your day to conquer stress:
Exercise. Yes, we know you’re crazy busy. Yes, we know you barely have time to pee, let alone put on your sneakers. Which is why all we’re asking is that you commit to 10 minutes. That’s it. Do something easy, like walk around the block or flip on a fitness channel and join in. Try to find something you like and stick with it. If you’re done after 10 minutes, fine, but chances are, you’ll say, “I can do another 10!”
Listen to music. Studies have shown that music can change your mood and reset your emotions. Upbeat tunes beat the blues, and classical tempos soothe frayed nerves. Make a playlist for each of your less-than-desirable moods—angry, fried, panicked, exhausted—and listen to them accordingly. Don’t feel obligated to listen to your children’s music. A sing-along with Elmo would stress anyone out!
Go shopping with a friend. It’s amazing what a little girlfriend time and a shoe sale can do for your sense of well-being. Too busy to go out for long? Take advantage of your lunch hour—the freedom it brings is one of the greatest benefits of working.
Laugh more. Watch a funny movie, sitcom, or the latest hit on YouTube. Research shows that laughter produces a positive physical effect as well as a psychological one. Fortunately, this strategy works with kids too.
Get outdoors. Take the family on a picnic in the park, a hike, or a visit to a rose garden. Or simply go for a walk around your neighborhood. Nature is a source of calm, and studies show that you can even benefit from looking at a picture of the outdoors, so display picturesque shots at home and work.
Help someone. Shifting from your problem to another’s will help you refocus. Plus, it sets a good example for your kids.
Excerpted from Working Mom Survival Guide, by Suzanne Riss and Teresa Palagano; a Working Mother magazine book, © 2011 Weldon Owen Inc.