Budget Friendly Stress Busting Ideas for Moms
So what do you do if you don’t have a bunch of money to spare to have fun and relieve your stress? Well, unless there are some serious issues you don’t need expensive therapy and there’s no reason to shell out a bunch of cash for high-price exercise classes. We’ve got a number of great ideas to prove you can beat that stress without breaking the budget.
First Remember This: If Mom’s Not Happy, Nobody’s Happy
“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” ~ Tenneva Jordan
You’ve probably heard the saying, “If mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy,” but have you really thought about what it means? We mothers try to do everything for everyone else, often leaving ourselves feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. That stress, in turn, affects our loved ones – the very people we are living each day for.
Think about it. If you’re stressed out, worrying about all the things you have to do each day, it affects the kids. You rush them, you get impatient and they start to feel that stress too. So even if you feel you can’t reduce your stress just for you, realize that when you’re stressed out, it negatively impacts those around you.
With that in mind, let’s get to our stress-busters…
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie
Sometimes it’s hard to do, but when you start your day in a positive frame of mind and are thankful for the things you do have (and you almost certainly have plenty), it’s much easier to face what the day throws in your face.
Each morning and throughout the day, remind yourself what you are grateful for. Whether it’s your children, your spouse, the roof over your head or the food on your table, you have plenty to be thankful for. Maybe it’s your career, a special friend or a beloved pet. When you remember those little things, you have a much more positive outlook that takes you through the day.
The great thing is, gratitude and appreciation costs you absolutely nothing. In fact, staying positive makes you healthier and probably means you’ll save a ton on Advil and other self-medication. Take a moment each day to remember what you’re grateful for and it makes just about everything else more bearable.
“Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else.” - Judy Garland
It’s one of the worst things you can do to yourself…comparing yourself to someone else. You see the mom who looks great and does it all, and you think that you should be like that as well. The problem is, we’re not all the same and you have no idea what that woman’s life is really like. All you know is who you are, so be you.
We moms are notorious for being people pleasers. If we’re asked to volunteer at school, we do it without question. If a neighbor needs a favor, of course we do it. Added to that, we’re constantly running around for our families and putting our own individual needs last.
It really doesn’t make sense, does it? We teach our children to think for themselves, to do what’s right for them, and yet we don’t do it for ourselves. It’s time we stand up and be a role model, right?
When it comes to people asking you to help out, consider the following before simply saying yes like you might normally do.
· Don’t say yes right away. Let the person know you’ll get back to them. Give yourself time to consider because there’s nothing worse than saying yes right away and regretting it five minutes later.
· Don’t let flattery get the best of you. Sure, you might be a great organizer or baker, but there are plenty of other people out there with the same skills who can do that job. It doesn’t always have to be you.
· Drop the guilt. We have a lot of people demanding our time and some will make us feel guilty because we don’t offer enough of it. If you are truly neglecting someone, then you may need to take that into consideration. But in most cases, you have to realize you are only one person and you can only do what you can do.
Now that you know that you have the power to say no, it’s time to look at everything you already have on your plate.
“One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Building on Stress Buster #3, it’s time to make some serious changes to your current schedule. Stress often comes from over commitment and doing too much. Shave those commitments and ask for help.
If you’re someone who likes to make to-do lists and feel good when you’re crossing each item off that list, you’d feel even better when most of your list is crossed off, right? Well, the secret to that is easy. Make a shorter to-do list. Most of the things we put on our to-do lists aren’t really essential. They might be nice to have, but not essential.
It is okay to let things go a little. If the floor isn’t sparkling, the kids will still thrive. If the garage is in a bit of disarray, the sun still shines the very next day. Give yourself a break and schedule less in your day. You’ll feel better and you’ll have more time to appreciate all those precious moments that come from living and enjoying life.
“Your child will be better prepared to tackle the bumps on the road of life if he has been given the gift of guided independence.” ~ Jacquie McTaggart
It’s time for our children to experience some independence and responsibility.
Obviously, how much free range you give your children, will depend on their age and maturity. But chances are, if you’re like many mothers, you aren’t giving your kids the credit they deserve. Give them a little freedom to do things for themselves like walking to and from school, and you might be pleasantly surprised.
Children should be given daily chores and their responsibilities should increase as they get older, especially if they expect more allowance. People don’t get raises at work simply because they’re getting older, but rather because they have more responsibilities, so don’t budge on that one.
You can teach your children to:
· Make their school lunches
· Help with dinner or make a weekly meal if they are old enough
· Do the dishes
· Help with laundry
· Take out the garbage
· Organize the recycling
· Feed and care for pets
· Be responsible for their own darned rooms!
Raising responsible children means they’ll be able to take care of themselves when they reach adulthood. Teach them those important things now and you’ll prepare them for success in the future. Plus, it means that mom doesn’t have to work so darned hard every day.
“Time is what prevents everything from happening at once.” ~ Marvin Cohen
If you approach your day in a go, go, go fashion, then you’re probably killing your productivity. Make yourself more efficient by taking a little bit of personal time each day. When your brain gets a break, it functions a whole lot better when it’s working.
Some ideas for taking time for yourself:
· Stop to eat your lunch and don’t do anything else. Eat mindfully and enjoy your food and quiet time.
· Go for a walk. Fresh air is a great rejuvenator.
· Sit down and relax. Just 15 minutes of taking a load off and doing almost nothing is good for you.
· Take a bubble bath; give yourself a pedicure or something else you enjoy.
If you can’t seem to find enough time in the day to do these things, then make the changes you need to make it happen because everyone deserves a little bit of time to themselves each day. Ask for your spouse’s support or talk to your children and make it work. Older children can care for younger children. If you only have younger children, set them up with an activity and ask them to give you a little bit of “mommy time.” Tell them that if you can have that bit of time, you will be able to do something they’d like right afterword. Whether it’s going to a playground, playing a game or doing a craft, reward them for letting you reward yourself.
“Friendship is one mind in two bodies.” ~ Mencius
It’s easy to get caught up in our family life with children, our spouses and all the obligations that come with all that. When I hear about moms telling me they haven’t talked to any of their girlfriends in a long time, my heart breaks. We all need someone who understands how we feel, to chat with and to just have fun with. We’re women and we need the company and support of other women.
Make it a priority to keep in touch and see your girlfriends regularly. Even if you can’t get out of the house, arrange a little at home get together when the kids have gone to sleep.
You need adult time, and while your spouse should definitely be included in plenty of your adult time you do need to keep your other friendships alive too.
I’m sure we’d all love to get to the spa and get a nice, but often overpriced, couples massage, but it’s not in the cards for us. So read up how to provide a great massage. Get some oils and massage tools and have some fun with it.
Massages are great for stress-relief, ease pain and tension, help control your blood pressure and can give you an immunity boost. All these things are good for your overall health and help create a happier and less-stressed you. Plus, it can be a whole lot of fun, so go for it.
Sometimes when we’re stressed out, the last thing on our minds is sex. In fact, it can seem quite unappealing when we’re tired and just want to get to sleep. But just like how we may not feel like exercising when we’re stressed out, it’s really one of the best things for us. Say yes more often and watch the daily stress wither away.
Did you know?
· Sex burns 300 calories per hour? Okay, most of use probably won’t be going for a full hour, but it’s good for your waistline for sure.
· It boosts your immune system. A study of college students in Pennsylvania found that those who had sex once or twice per week had increased immuniglobin A.
· It might help you live longer. In different studies, it has been reported that regular sex can boost your longevity.
And the best thing of all is sex is absolutely free. You’ll never break the budget having more sex, so enjoy.
If you’re constantly saying you never get out because you can’t afford a babysitter, forget about that excuse. Certainly, there is someone in your life who also feels trapped at home because it’s too expensive to pay someone responsible to care for the children. Now, instead of both of you feeling sorry for yourselves, why not exchange babysitting services so you can each get much-needed regular breaks?
Get a free babysitter, so you can:
· Go on a date with your spouse or significant other. You need time together without the kids because it’s your relationship that holds the family together. If you happen to be single, maybe it’s time to meet someone new and enjoy some time out.
· Meet with a friend. Go for coffee or bring homemade appetizers to share at her house. And if you brought a bottle of wine to share, no one should bat an eye. Just make sure to get a safe ride home.
· Use the time to get errands done, all by yourself. Now, I think it’s better if you spend your alone time having fun, but I completely understand the excitement of getting groceries without someone begging to buy everything that catches their eye. Or maybe it’s the opportunity to try on some new clothes for yourself, without fear that your little one will escape under the change room door and run for her life.
It’s a win-win situation for all. You get you time and your family or friend gets their own you time. What’s not to love about that?
If you happen to like the equipment you find in gyms, you can make your own home gym, too. An exercise ball and a few weights don’t cost too much money and can provide you with enough to get a very good workout at home. If you’re looking for cardio machines, you can probably find some used ones on websites like craigslist.com.
You can also work to incorporate physical fitness in your everyday life, instead of simply making it an extra chore. Walk or ride a bike instead of taking the car on local errands or tasks. Whether it’s to school, the store down the road or soccer practice, making it a habit is not only good for your health, it’s also good for the pocketbook. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk during your lunch hour. Be mindful of the opportunities your day presents to you and you’ll find new ways to get physical throughout the day.
We’re bombarded constantly with digital media all day long. We have our iPhones, and we’re connected to our computers. Then, in the evening, we settle down to watch some TV, play Farmville or some other digital pursuit without really communicating with our family members, who are also plugged into some other digital devices.
Make an effort to get unplugged and stop all those things that beep at us constantly, disrupting everything we’re doing. Whether you unplug in the evenings or choose an unplugged day for your family, there are many benefits. You’ll be able to focus on those things you’ve been meaning to get done, and if the family is all unplugged you might be surprised at the fun and connection you can all have together.
No matter what you do from here, remember that relieving the stress you have is all up to you. You can blame your jerk boss or that pesky PTA President who keeps asking you to help with just about everything, but it’s up to you to decide if you need a change.
You’re already a take charge mom who has a lot on her plate. Move all those unnecessary things over and put taking care of your wellness on that plate. If you’re already doing a thousand things each and every day, certainly you can banish the stress for your life, too.
When you learn to say no and reprioritize your daily life, you’ll find more time for the things that bring you happiness and joy. You know, you really can have it all…you just need to define what “having it all” really means.