10 Simple Ways to Nourish Yourself and Reduce Stress

 Pregnancy and motherhood can add new stresses to your life.  That’s not news.   Many Mommas are struggling with learning how to be a mom and taking care of a baby.  It’s all part of the process.  Maybe it’s a little too much of an American rite of passage.  Stressed out Mommas are almost a cliche.  A reality nonetheless.

Stress is something I know a lot about.   With two kids under 2.5 years, and my oldest with Autism, I was one stressed out Momma.  And, I’ll be honest.  Drinking a big bottle of red wine really appeals to me when I’m super stressed out.  I have a history of using alcohol during times of turmoil and hardships–like after I realized I had a miscarriage with my daughter’s twin.  Wine has been my coping tool, my comfort food, and my emotional escape.  Unfortunately, it has never truly made me felt any better. 

Recently, when my childcare situation fell through (again).  I worked at all my spiritual and mindful practices trying to keep the stress level down.  However, I was still lacking in the deeper self-care tools that I needed not to feel emotionally exhausted.  I found myself turning, once again to old habits.  It slips in very slowly, and before I know it, I’m drinking several glasses every night.  It’s a pattern that has repeated itself many times.  I stay up too late at night because I’m drinking and “relaxing,” then I skip my morning yoga practice here and there, then I feel terrible all day and decide I should have a glass of wine.   What a cycle, huh?  It’s not very logical, and yet I still do it.  Many of us use food and alcohol to help us feel better.   It’s very much a part of our culture.  Eat more, drink more, shop more–then you’ll feel better.  Can you relate? 

Breaking these habits can be difficult, but they can be done.  Observe and acknowledge if you have an unhealthy coping tool.  That’s the first step.  After I acknowledged I had slipped into my old unhealthy coping habits, I decided to start adding in simple acts of self-care and nourishment on a daily basis in order to help me through this time.   These small acts added up toward feeling true stress relief.   These ideas can be easily integrated into your life at any time to help you build resiliency for life’s many ups and downs.  Pick one or two that call out to you, and give it a try.  I dare you not to feel stress relief!  Add this in on a daily basis and bask in healthy, nourishing, self-care.   You deserve it! 

1)   Have Sex!  You might be thinking, “Yeah right!  Like I got time and energy for that.”  But, studies show sex can help be a great stress reliever.  Physical touch and your loved one’s presence can make you realize you aren’t alone, and you are loved.

2)  Listen to Music and Sing Out Loud!  Remember when you used to listen to music all the time?  Now, you might only listen to NPR.  Changing the dial back to your favorite songs from 2008 (the best indie rock year in my opinion) and belting it out will lift your spirits and bring a smile to your face. 

3)  Give Yourself a Home Facial!  Okay, this one might take a bit more time, but you are worth it.  Start with an extra long bath or shower.  Add in some essential oils like lavender or jasmine, and spend more time washing your hair.  Then, use a natural clay mask on your face or hair, and grab a book or magazine.  Ah, heaven!  Sit for at least 10 minutes before washing off the mask, and going straight to bed.

4)   Sesame Oil Self Massage!  According to Ayurveda, sesame oil has naturally grounding, nourishing qualities and is good for most skin types.   The art of self-massage is actually super simple.  Just use about a quarter size amount of oil and spread it all over your body.  Rubbing in circles at your joints is helpful, and up and down along your bones feels good.  Sesame oil absorbs pretty quickly and is great on your hair or face.  It’s a great alternative to lotion, which often is loaded with chemicals.

5)  Go to the Library!  Sitting in a quite public space is a rare gift.  Pick up a few interesting books or magazines, and bask in the quiet, calm environment.  I often find great inspiration when I go to the library.  It shifts me into a creative state of mind.

6)  Go for a Walk!  Walking in nature is incredibly healing.  After just minutes of hiking or walking in a park, I feel the city stress melt away.  Trees absorb all of the toxic energy and noise that we bounce around.  Let the sounds of the birds singing, and wind in the trees, take over your loud thoughts.  Breathe fresh air and take in all the smells. 

7)  Drink Bone Broth or Hot Tea!  Sip your warm liquids and look out the window instead of your phone.  Feeling the warmth in your hands, take a sip and trace the warmth down into your belly.  Nourish yourself from the inside out. 

8)  Make a Green Smoothie or Green Juice!  Green is the color of pure nutrition.  A simple green smoothie/juice is kale, celery, apples, and lemons.  Either blend together or put through a juicer.  The taste is sour, which wakes you up and energizes you.  Chew your liquid to feel full and alive!

9)  Write in Your Journal!  Go ahead, dust off that journal.  No one is judging you for neglecting it for so long.  Writing–especially stream of consciousness—writing can be a great way to let off some steam, and brain dump thoughts loaded with stress.    

10)  Get Eight Hours of Sleep a Night!  A good night’s sleep makes a huge difference in my outlook on life.  While eight full hours might seem like a dream, do whatever you can to get to bed early for your best shot at a good night’s sleep.   Eat a light dinner so that your belly isn’t full of food to digest.  Practice a few of these self-care ideas before bed to help wind you down.  Sleep is the most important element to your health and well-being. 

I hope these ideas spark motivation for you to take care of yourself and begin to reduce your stress.   Need more support in your life?  Check out my prenatal/postnatal doula and yoga services!