The 3 {Stress-Busting} Rs for Moms:: Rest, Routine, and Ritual

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READING TIME: 3 min.

Being a mom is an important and rewarding job, but it’s also one that comes with its fair share of stress. I know I often get bogged down in everything that is urgent, negative, and exhausting, sometimes making it hard to find any sort of tranquility in my role as a mother. A stressed mom is not an effective mom though, so in an effort to better love and serve my husband and children, I’ve started incorporating some basic, but oh-so-important, principles into my life as a means of combating and preventing that stress.

Rest. Rest needs to be a rhythm, not a rescue. Build moments into your day, week, month, and year when you can truly rest. I don’t just mean making sleep a priority, although that’s important too. I mean making time to rest each day, not go-go-going until you finally collapse in exhaustion, which only compounds stress. This may mean saying no to some things that you might otherwise say yes to. It might mean reading a book during nap time instead of cleaning the bathrooms or not checking work email in the evenings. It could mean scheduling a weekend away with your husband or some girlfriends. It definitely means taking “busy” off the pedestal our culture has placed it on. Instead, we need to decide where our true priorities lie and create some margin in our days. Busyness robs us of the time to be available to those we love, and the time to practice self-care. Rest is essential, but we have to be willing to carve out those pockets of time so we can truly breathe in the middle of the “always on” exhaustion of being a mom.  

stressRoutine. Routines are essential. Most of us know the stress of trying to get children out the door to make it to school/church/soccer practice/wherever we need to be by a certain time, but they’ve suddenly turned into shoeless sloths with hearing issues. Routines help us (and our children) know what to do when. Kids thrive in routine. Mamas do too. If you’ve already packed school lunches and picked out clothes the night before, putting whatever you need to take with you for the day by the door, that makes the next morning that much easier. Similarly, routine means fewer choices, which equals less stress (seriously, they’ve done studies on this). Meal plan and do your grocery shopping for the week. Start a load of laundry each morning, moving it to the dryer by breakfast, and fold and put away after dinner. Whatever your daily pressure points are, identify them and then create a routine around them. I’m not saying this will magically make your kids put on their shoes and line up by the door like they’re a Von Trapp. It will help you feel less frantic though because routines make us proactive instead of reactive.

Ritual. Ritual gives us joy in the day-to-day. In other words, little celebrations and traditions are the countereffect to the stress and burdens we carry each day. Rituals make our children feel loved and give us breaks from all the to-dos and tedium, making the everyday special. I’m not talking about crazy or expensive ideas. Simply consider what will bring you happiness and energy in the midst of caring for your family or what will make those around you feel loved and cared for— simple things like a cup of coffee with your favorite creamer or pancakes for breakfast on Saturdays or going for a walk after dinner can do a lot to bring joy to our weary souls.

These three principles are not a magic bullet. We all have hard days/weeks/seasons, and sometimes stress is unavoidable. Furthermore, building rest, routine, and ritual into our everyday existence doesn’t always come naturally. It may take some soul-searching and a few conversations with those who know you best or other, more seasoned moms in order to formulate a plan for implementing these principles. It’s definitely something that takes thought, time, and practice. But the results are worth it. 

 

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