by ELENA DOLGONOS, M.D.; Scripps Coastal Medical Center, Encinitas

Sanity-Saving Tips for Mom

scripps_elenaMoms become expert jugglers – housecleaning, feeding the baby, working, carpooling, playing chauffeur. Wearing all these hats can make everyday life hectic. Fortunately there are ways to stay calm, sane, and stress-free in the midst of normal family chaos. Short of building a futuristic robot that does everything from cooking and cleaning to making sure the kids get to school, these nine tips should help.

Drink plenty of water.
Mild dehydration can affect your body before you realize you are thirsty. Lack of water can cause headaches, fatigue, and lack of energy.

Stay away from those golden cream-filled sponge cakes.
When you’re tired and hungry it’s easy to reach for unhealthy snacks, keep up your energy by trying to eat something every two to four hours and selecting nutritious snacks, such as string cheese, fruit, and cut-up veggies. Eating foods with low nutritional value will only add to your stress and your mood swings.

Get out of the house.
Even if you are exhausted, go outside for a rejuvenating walk because fresh air and exercise can help put everything in perspective.

Let out your creative self.
Create something each day, even if it is just a doodle. This will help you stay connected to yourself.

Ask for support.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for support, even if that is as simple as calling a friend or checking out a blog. Arrange for a babysitting swap with friends, or ask a trusted family member to watch the little ones while you exercise or get some sleep.

Laugh.
Whether giggling or guffawing, laughter is good for you and your family. Laughter reduces your stress by increasing the endorphins to your brain and relaxing your muscles. It should be easy to find humor in the antics of your little ones.

Be grateful.
Try writing down three things every day for which you are thankful. Having an attitude of gratitude provides perspective and brings you to the present.

Take time for yourself.
Understand that you most likely won’t finish everything on your “To Do” list – ever. So take time each day to do whatever you like. Some moms wake up before the family to read and enjoy a cup of uninterrupted coffee or tea. You may choose to carve out some time to meditate, take a bath, or simply listen to music. Make sure your family understands that this is “mommy’s time.”

Play with your kids.
Have some stress relievers you can do with your children, such as drawing, blowing bubbles, dancing, and playing with pets. Stroking the cat, feeding hay to the bunny, playing catch at the park with the dog, or even watching fish glide in an aquarium can reduce stress and can also teach your children to care for others.

Raising a family has its challenges but learning to relax and giving up the idea of perfection will let you and your children enjoy the ride, bumps and all.

Elena Dolgonos, M.D., is a family medicine physician at Scripps Coastal Medical Center in Encinitas. Dr. Dolgonos has expertise in a wide array of primary care services, including women’s health, pediatrics, adolescent health and geriatrics.


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