10+ Ways to Calm Down | for stressed out moms
We are constantly being told about how stressful mom life is. We are bombarded with the message that no matter what you do, mom life is going to be stressful. Yes, stress is part of life. God never said that with Him in your life you would never be stressed. Rather, God's word says, "I can do ALL THINGS through Chris who GIVES ME strength" (Philippians 4:13). God will be with us when we are stressed, He will give us peace and He will help us find ways to calm down.
When we are stressed, the first thing we need to do, NO EXCEPTION, is go to God with our problems.
"Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." - 1 Peter 5:7
After we've gone to God and maybe seeked counsel from your spouse, a mentor, or trustworthy Christian, then I believe God has provided us with different tools to help us chill out when we are super stressed and worked up. He created us to find solace in Him but He also created different ways for us to relieve stress and tension. Just remember, go to God first.
Ways to Calm Down When You're Stressed and Overwhelmed
As I said, this is the most important and first thing you should do when stressed. If you don't do this first, these other techniques will not work at all. You may be saying "Duh!" to praying first but let's be honest...I know I'm not the only one who either forgets to pray first or who doesn't know what to pray when I'm stressed.
Your prayers don't need to be complicated! A great way to start is to pray Bible verses. Psalms is a great place to start but there are also lots of other verses written by disciples, throughout the Bible that you can pray. Three verses you could pray include Matthew 6:9-13, Psalm 3:3-7, and Psalm 27:1-5.
Who doesn't love grown-up coloring books!? I sell Usborne books and even though we specialize in books for kids, we sell grown-up coloring books because we know that basically all moms love to color. I am a terrible artist. I've always loved art and art classes but I am terrible at the actual art part of things. But it doesn't matter! Does coloring make me happy? Yes? Then I'm going to color because it's one way that I can physically release stress and express myself.
For some people, exercise is a major way to relieve tension. I go through seasons with exercise but typically it's not my go to. Never has been. But for some mamas, exercise really helps! I mean it does help you have a healthier body and it releases endorphins which make you feel happier/less stressed.
One thing I do that immediately helps create a calm atmosphere, even when I feel like a crazy person, is to put on Worship music in the background. We use Apple music and I have two playlists that I use; Not to Today and a general Worship playlist. Feel free to steal them and if you don't have Apple music, check out the songs that are on each playlist and add them to a Spotify playlist or whatever you use to listen to music.
5. Brain dump
I was first introduced to this coping technique when I was in elementary school. I had a hard time falling asleep because I couldn't turn off my brain. So, a therapist suggested that I keep a notepad beside my bed so I could write down whatever was spinning around in my head. I still use this today, when I feel behind on my to do list/life, I just make a big long list of all the tasks I'm holding in my head so I can see everything visually.
6. Take a break
If the kids are making you feel claustrophobic and overwhelmed, just take a break for a few minutes. Put yourself on a "mommy time out" for a few minutes in the bathroom. If you have the opportunity, go out all by yourself and just sit in a coffee shop or even just go grocery shopping by yourself. When you come back you will feel refreshed and can look at things with a fresh perspective.
7. Nap (it's Biblical!)
Even in the Bible they understood the importance of naps during long days. In Mark 4 Jesus was napping on a boat when a storm hit and disciples freaked out. But no worries, because God was well rested from his nap, he was level-headed and calmed that storm right down. If you have little kids, take a nap when they nap or stick their favorite movie on and close your eyes for a few minutes while they are entertained. If you need to, trade nap time with your best friend, have them watch your kids for a few hours so you can nap and then do the same for her!
Sometimes a little escape is just what you need to calm down. Just like taking a break, escaping into a fictional story or a faith-based book that provides you with practical life tips will give you a chance to refresh yourself and come back with a fresh perspective.
If cleaning helps you calm down, you are welcome to come over to my house!! But seriously, cleaning is so satisfying that it can really help you calm down when you're stressed and overwhelmed. Not only can you SEE the result of the cleaning, you get to check things off of your to do list.
10. Make a to do list
Maybe you are overwhelmed because you haven't even made a to do list in the first place. Mom brain is real so we need to put systems in place to support our brains. I use Trello for my personal to do list and I use Asana for all things business-related. I used to use paper to do lists but I was always losing them or rewriting them because they didn't look nice enough (major time waster!). You do what works for you! Just put a system in place to help you keep track of all of your tasks.
I've journaled off and on and right now I only use a prayer journal where I basically talk to God about what is stressing me out and give thanks to Him. There are lots of journaling resources out there, you do what works for you because something different works for everyone. But sometimes, writing it all down helps you visualize everything and gives your brain room to breathe. It's basically a more formal brain dump.
12. Count to ten...or ten thousand
Sometimes when I am super stressed and overwhelmed and I start to feel the panic set in, I need to take a step back and take some deep breaths. I'm pretty sure there's a Daniel Tiger song that says something like "when you start to feel mad, take a step back and count to ten." Daniel Tiger speaks some real truth, mama. Give yourself a chance to process everything so you can respond rather than react.
What's your favorite way to calm down (after you've prayed!)? Share on Instagram with #iamajoyfulhomemaker so we can all benefit!