Feeling waspish? Like you just want to lash out? Perhaps you didn’t get enough sleep the night before? Or maybe you just feel frazzled with your kids at home for the summer and the never-ending stream of things that you need to get to? Yes, even moms could use a time-out.
You are not alone in feeling out of control. With 60 percent of all human illnesses linked to stress, no one is immune. Further studies go on to show that stress is contagious. So if you don’t want to give your bad mood to your kids, since you’re the adult in this equation, it’s up to you to call a time-out on yourself.
Here are 4 easy ways to flip a switch on stress and improve your mood with a time-out.
1. Take timeout for a shower.
For years and years, people have claimed that their best ideas dawned on them while they were taking a shower. That makes sense since it’s the last room in the house where you can be alone.
Your kids likely know to not bother you when taking a shower. So hopping into the bath is a quick and effective way to call a time-out on yourself and on your thoughts. You will emerge, 10 minutes later, smelling fresh and feeling the same. At least, you will be tackling the rest of the day smelling good.
2. Give yourself a shoulder rub.
Massage is an effective ways to relieve stress. But since you only have minutes before the next kiddo crisis, you likely do not have time to book yourself a session at a massage parlor. You still have options. For a tense neck and sore shoulders, try a hand-held massager that medical professionals use on patients. This massage tool can be used on any sore muscle of your body and costs less than an appointment with a massage therapist.
The immediate relief from tension in your shoulders will go a long way to improving your mood and helping you be a little more chill the rest of the day.
3. Look at pictures of when your babies were cute.
You love your kids, but sometimes they can get on your nerves. All parents have been there. Try this time-out tactic. Pull out baby pictures of when little Johnny was a Mr. Squishy and spend some time reacquainting yourself with his baby days. You will feel a dopamine rush to your system that seeing cute things triggers. Yes, it’s scientific. The effects are the same as if you were to eat a chocolate bar.
If you are feeling game, you could even invite Johnny to look at the pictures with you, giving you a feel-good activity that you can do together. Most kids love seeing parents coo at their baby pictures, as it reaffirms to them that they are loved. And of course, an added bonus is that you’ll be a little more forgiving of whatever antics Johnny gets up to for the rest of afternoon. Double win!
4. Pick up the phone and talk to a friend.
Don’t settle for texting, which we now know is a leading cause for neck tension. Instead, pick up the phone and reconnect with a friend or a family member. Sharing your struggles and talking about what is bothering you can be a powerful form of therapy. Giving others a chance to be the strong one in the relationship for a change is a good way to keep a balanced relationship. After you have had your chance to vent, be sure you return the favor when you can. We all need that listening ear from time to time.
Home life can feel crazy at times, and your family is counting on you to not lose your cool. If it feels like pulling teeth to take that timeout, remember that you’re doing it for your family’s benefit as much as for your own.