Relax, Mom! Seven Ways to Take Five

Sure, a weekend at a spa would be lovely, but realistically that’s just not going to happen right now. However, you can still decompress and recharge your batteries with these five-minute mood-boosters:

  • Take it outside. Head out for a walk with (or without) your baby in tow. Fresh air and (if you’re lucky) sunshine have a way of making everything seem a little less intense.
  • Stretch and breathe. A couple of full-body stretches and deep-breathing exercises will get your blood flowing, reduce muscle tension, and kick-start the release of feel-good hormones in the brain.
  • Write it down. Expressing your thoughts and feelings — even just to your journal — can help relieve pent-up frustrations. Find a quiet spot, be honest, and let the words flow.
  • Put on some tunes. Go mellow or metal, whatever suits your mood but do let yourself get carried away (at least for a few minutes) by the beat, the lyrics, the melody. (Singing along and/or dancing are definitely encouraged.)
  • Yuk it up. Watch a funny movie, call a friend who makes you laugh, or just giggle with your baby. The simple act of smiling can work wonders on your mood.
  • Meditate. Find a peaceful spot, quiet your mind, and close your eyes (or focus on something nearby). Then breathe slowly and deeply, imagining yourself releasing your tension with every exhalation. Visualizing a favorite place where you are calm and happy can also ease frazzled nerves.
  • Snack smart. Ho Hos are a no-no, but low-fat, high-carb foods like whole-wheat bagels or pretzels and air-popped popcorn can trigger the release of soothing brain chemicals (without sabotaging your diet).