We’ve all been there. It’s 6pm and you feel like everything has gone wrong today. Your little ones have refused to eat everything you’ve put in front of them, you’ve been grumpy with everyone, the washing machine broke and you’ve just realised you’re out of milk so you can’t even make yourself a cuppa.
Rather than count down the minutes until your kids’ bedtime (when you can sink onto the sofa with a glass of wine) we’ve got five really easy and practical ways to make yourself feel better…
1. Have a shower. Might not sound like the most obvious thing, but it will really help freshen you up and blow away the grumpy cobwebs. If you’ve got a baby or toddler, set up a little play area in the bathroom while you shower. Even better, put your favourite song on while you’re showering and sing to your little one as loudly as you can.
2. Take some deep breaths. It’s proven to de-stress us and you’ll instantly feel better. Take a few moments to close your eyes. Practice inhaling deeply through your nose for a two-second count, pausing for two seconds, and then exhaling for another two seconds. This will help stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system, which quietens down your stress response.
3. Walk outside on the grass in your bare feet. Yes really! ‘Grounding’ is the practice of exposing yourself to the ground, usually with your bare feet to help stimulate energy, improve immune function, and boost happiness. The theory states that the earth’s magnetic field can lower stress hormones.
4. Stroke your (or your neighbour’s!) cat. Research shows that this lowers blood pressure response to mental stress. Your little ones will probably enjoy spending time with an animal too.
5. Share your day with others. Text some mum friends to tell them what a disaster your day has been, or tell Facebook about it. The response is bound to make you feel better and you might find that some of them have had a worse day than you, which will put your day into perspective.
6. Count your blessings and write them down. “Research has shown that counting blessings is an effective coping strategy for both new mothers and new fathers,” says Robert Emmons, Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Davis. “In parents of two- to three-month-old infants, being thankful was related to less stress and greater perceived spousal support,” he says.
7. Recognise that no one’s perfect. Despite what the parenting books tell us, there isn’t one way to raise children, and if they have a day when they eat no fruit and veg, they’re still going to be OK!
Give yourself a break and remind yourself that you’re doing a good job! What are your favourite ways to save a bad day?