Oh my goodness, mamas, last year was hard. I can’t be the only one holding my breath hoping that it will end soon. Some days, the duration of this season just feels too hard.
If there is anything 2020 highlighted for us, it’s where our foundations were not strong. There’s an adage that says we can either reduce the amount of stress or we can increase our resilience to it. It’s years like this that we realize our only option is the latter.
Cortisol, in our children and ourselves, is raised when we experience highs and lows. If we can move through each unexpected twist or turn while being able to absorb the shock in a more even-tempered manner, then we can reduce the toll taken on our bodies and minds.
Here are a few things that I do with my kids to help when I feel like I can’t escape the crushing stress around me. I offer these because the simplicity of the practices may provide great benefit and resilience as we continue to navigate the tough times.
Singing + Humming
I’m not a singer. Like, I really really hate singing in front of others. But my kids keep a safe space. And honesty, it works! I stick to music that is uplifting or neutral. This seems obvious, but try singing a sad song and watch out quickly your eyes well up.
Sometimes I do well up with joy while singing, but I will take that any day.
An option to quiet the kids, when the overwhelm is about to hit its maximum: sing, hum, sing in our minds. We start by singing out loud, then by humming, then just sitting quietly and singing in our minds. It almost always brings the kids from level 10 down to level 3 or so.
An added bonus: humming increases nitric oxide, a molecule needed for optimizing so many processes in the body.
Abhyanga – Oil Bath
I am told this technique sounds so fancy and out of a busy mama’s ability to do. But I promise you two things. 1) It is within reach and 2) very little preparation is needed.
Abhyanga is essentially a self oil massage, followed by a warm/hot water bath or shower. Whenever I am feeling particularly scattered, or I notice the same of my kids, this is our go-to. To make it extra special, the bath can include epsom salt.
The oil we use is sesame, particularly in the winter.
This is an Ayurvedic technique used for thousands of years as therapy. One of the benefits is the ability to calm our nerves.
Get Outside – Nature Bathing – Fresh Air
Last, but certainly not least, is just to get outside. When it feels like it’s too difficult, and we don’t know what to do next, my kids and I get the bikes and go for a walk.
Fresh air is so uplifting. Moving our bodies increases endorphins. Endorphins help us to get through the difficult times and with more mental clarity.
I hope if you’re looking for answers on how to move through the too hard days with a little extra grace, these sparked some encouragement. It is possible to get through crushing pressure. Sometimes we just need a little reminder and a little love from our village.