(BPT) - Many moms say back-to-school season rivals the holidays as the most stressful time of the year. The whirlwind spans from shopping for supplies to scheduling new fall activities. Whether you’re a single mom, a Mr. Mom or a traditional parent, nearly everyone can benefit from reducing stress during this busy time of year.
Nancy Peplinsky, founder and executive director of the nonprofit Holistic Moms Network, offers some of her favorite ways to relax and stay calm. “There are some very simple and inexpensive things every busy mom can do in just a few minutes to reduce stress,” says the mother of two.
* Breathe deeply: Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a teaspoon of organic olive oil. Rub it into your temples, on the back of your neck (where many of us feel our stress), or on the soles of your feet. Cup your hands in front of your face and breathe deeply for 30 seconds to inhale the scent and grab a little calm. Try it before chauffeuring the kids to and from their after-school activities in rush hour traffic.
* Try tea time: After yet another hectic shopping trip, brew yourself a cup of chamomile tea. Add some local raw honey and enjoy! If you can sit to drink it, even better. In the evenings, look for teas containing valerian, which promotes sleep.
* Create calm: Lying awake at night thinking about the next day’s schedule? For sleeplessness due to mental hyperactivity, try Coffea cruda (Latin for green coffee). This is a good example of the principle behind homeopathic medicines. Whereas drinking caffeinated coffee heightens alertness, a micro-dose of the coffee bean helps relieve similar symptoms brought on by stress.
There is also Ignatia amara (Latin for the St. Ignatius bean) for nervousness and hypersensitivity due to everyday stress. Try it when you’re anxious about your tasks for the school fundraiser or feeling guilty if you can’t find the time to be involved.
Easily found in health food stores, these non-prescription medicines work naturally with the body. For more information, visit BoironUSA.com.
* Take a timeout: When you find yourself unproductively worrying about the costs of school supplies, extracurricular activities and tuition, stop! Devote those 10 minutes to quiet meditation. Relax, quiet your mind, and focus on breathing. Check out some great apps like Headspace to get you started and to guide you.
* Defuse arguments: Communication is key. Set up a strategy before you head out shopping and share it with the kids. Explain that there is a financial limit for spending. Guide kids to stay within the budget by presenting choices between items, including the expensive trendy clothes they want. This will make them feel empowered and help them grow. Also discuss and agree on a bedtime before school starts.
* Power down: Sleep is vital for anyone to function optimally. For parents and kids alike, get into the habit of powering down all electronics at least an hour before bedtime to decrease sleep disturbances. Research shows these devices stimulate the brain, which should be avoided at bedtime. Also, cut off caffeine and sugar after a certain time, and avoid eating a heavy meal before bed.
For more tips and support on raising a family naturally and to locate the Holistic Moms Network chapter nearest you, visit HolisticMoms.org. “Moms need to be healthy to support their families,” Peplinksy says. “Reducing stress keeps moms healthy so we can be more effective parents.”