simple self-care hacks for working moms
Stress-reducing mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or yoga, are highly effective. This can now even be backed up by ample scientific evidence. Unfortunately, most of us fail when it comes to implementing those precious stress-relieving tools on a daily basis, especially women who have difficulty coping. More recently, 2020 has worsened the situation for women drastically, especially women who work home next to their kids. Additionally, women are expected to be calm, and collected, all while looking good at the same time… as a woman, you should show poise in every situation while dazzling those around you with a “radiant appearance”.
Once women give birth to their first child, life as they know it changes in an instant: sleepless nights and a suddenly unpredictable daily rhythm which becomes the new norm. Many women feel overwhelmed by all those changes, accompanied with hormonal changes and hardly any time left to relax.
how to integrate mindfulness techniques into a fast-paced lifestyle?
I am constantly in search of effective solutions to help working mothers achieve greater resilience. Some approaches have proven to be successful for me. There are great experts who provide profound knowledge and know-how regarding mindfulness-based solutions for everyday life. Kate Northrup talks in her book “Do Less”, about self-optimization for women. Kate (following the traits of feminism of her mother, Christiane Northrup), invites women to pay more attention to the female cycle and thus master life more effectively and resiliently.
As a matter of fact, self-mastery is vital for coping in this fast-paced society. One of your biggest assets might be mastering your capabilities, in order to bring greater value to yourself and others. Having said that, I also recommend the bestselling book from Kate Northrup to women who long for more financial self-determination “Money, A Love-Story”.
1 unleashing a woman’s superpowers: live in sync with your cycle
The “Cycle Syncing” method by Alissa Vitti, the founder of FloLiving, invites women to live in sync with their feminine powers. If you allow yourself as a woman to live in harmony with the monthly cycle, you get so much more out of life: prosperity, health, beauty and contentment. This is old knowledge - newly interpreted for the 21st century!
You can compare your infradian rhythm to the four seasons as our energy levels shift with our cycle. Over the past year, I have made an effort to live according to my female cycle.
I prepare for new projects in the first half of my cycle and leave socializing, pitching or presentations for the ovulation days.
Diving deep into projects works best later in the cycle, in the first part of the luteal phase.
A few days before the menstrual phase and during menstruation, I allow myself to lean back and reflect. It is normal to have little energy on those days or feel less social. I have stopped beating myself up for it.
If we manage to live in sync with our cycle, we encounter less resistance and we get far more done. Thus, cycle sinking is the best biohack for women I can think of.
2 self-mastery for women: start with simple habits that stick
A tip in advance: reduce your mindfulness exercises to the simplest level. They must fit into YOUR everyday life and meet YOUR needs. Take it slow. Small steps can have a big impact in the long run. Your plan to meditate for an hour a day is worthless if you discard the idea on day one when your kids disrupt your peaceful moment after the first 10 minutes.
Therefore, focus on tiny steps, such as short diaphragmatic breathing techniques, which you can also do while driving a car or cooking. Have you ever experienced anxiety when driving? On the other hand, have you ever experienced the stress-reducing effect of deep breathing when being stuck in traffic?
3 simple breath work for mothers
Breath work stimulates the flow of energy in the body and helps with insomnia and digestive problems. It is even one of the most effective detox tools we have.
When I’m driving on busy roads or when I’m stuck in traffic, I manage to keep calm with the 4–7–8 technique. Deep inhale to the count of 4, hold the breath while counting to 7, exhale to the count of 8.
To correctly learn stress-relieving breathing techniques, I highly recommend the ‘Breath is Life’ — Breathwork & Pranayama’ course by Michaël Bijker. I find his courses so hands-on and versatile. I am currently training under his supervision to become a breath work instructor myself, and I truly appreciate his course on Udemy. Via the app, I choose very brief breathing, meditation, and yoga exercises which last between 5 and 15 minutes. It even fits into everyday life for mothers with a tight schedule.
If I only have 5 minutes, I just do a few rounds of Kapalbhati: a short forceful exhale followed by an automatic inhale. You can do a set of 3 rounds: begin with a couple of slow diaphragmatic breaths, then alternate strong 30-second Kapalbhati breaths, with slow deep breaths, bringing the navel centre towards the spine during the exhale. End with a couple of slow deep breaths. This exercise has both a calming effect, but it also increases your metabolic rate and it improves your digestion, which in turn helps control your weight.
4 breathing for more clarity of mind
Here is a powerful exercise that gets your mind clear for the day. It has a rhythmic pattern that stimulates your glandular system and your nervous system.
To begin, place your hands on your belly. Inhale deeply, followed by a deep exhale a couple of times. Close your eyes and start with this 4-segment breathing technique:
Take 4 short inhales without exhaling. You can prime the effect by raising your hands simultaneously. Exhale 4 short times while lowering your hands in 4 sequences down to the hips. The slower your breath, the sharper your mind will get. Continue the breathing sequences with a smile on your face for a couple of minutes.
Allow each inhalation to be an act of abundance. Let each exhale be the act of letting go. Let go of everything that does not serve you, like fear and anger.
Eventually, take a couple of slow deep breaths. Inhale deeply and hold, then exhale slowly and completely. Open your eyes. This is strong deep breathing, followed by slow deep breathing. You are now able to exhale much longer than you normally would.
You can watch this breathing exercise guided by Tina Sodhi in this video. You can also watch a short version of this effective breathing exercise on my Instagram.
how not to feel overwhelmed by implementing mindfulness techniques on a daily basis
All that talk about self-care and mindfulness can feel overwhelming when your attempt to fit it into your lifestyle fails. The breathing techniques I have introduced last no longer than a few minutes. If you are totally caught up in daily activities, then I advise you to set up a little habit-reminder: you can set the alarm clock at different times throughout the day when you want to be reminded to do 5-minute body & mind hacks, like deep breathing, some stretching, dancing, singing, journaling or whatever else helps you to activate your rest and digest mode. That will not only keep you from burning out, it will also preserve your health and beauty.
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