Often feel grumpy, over-stretched and down? You’re not alone. Find out why mums are so bad at looking after themselves, and how you can easily squeeze some treats into your day.
Counsellor and hypnotherapist Susan Leigh shares some quick and easy ideas to give you an instant, positive lift to help you manage stress and put the fun back into your life again.
We all need a treat sometimes
There are times in life when we really need a treat. Maybe we’re feeling stressed, unappreciated or overtired. Perhaps we’re juggling the diverse pressures of work with the demands of family, partner or friends.
As mums we often give so much to other people that we leave little time, energy or emotion for ourselves. So no surprise if you sometimes feel desperate for a little time for yourself, or just even to do what you want for a change.
These stressful, pressured moments are typically our vulnerable times, when we reach for the instant lift of a glass of wine, cigarette, or bar of chocolate – a quick and familiar fix that never lets us down.
It’s often only later that we berate ourselves for being weak and picking the ‘easy’ option, the choice that’s not such a good friend after all.
So what can you do instead? Surely there must be a better, more virtuous (but still enjoyable) way to lift your mood and wipe the stress of the day away?
Quick and easy ideas to give you an instant lift
Luckily there are, and quite a few to choose from, too! Here are some suggestions for positive treats for when you feel in need of a lift.
Change your bedding
Freshly laundered sheets are always a winner. Why not add essential oils to the final rinse cycle? What a treat to snuggle up at the end of a busy, stressful day into wonderful, clean bed linen.
Sheets that smell good encourage better sleep and help you transform your bedroom into a relaxing, comfortable haven.
Book ‘me’ time into your diary
Be disciplined about scheduling some ‘me’ time into your diary and treat it as important as a date with a VIP client. Use that time to read a book, watch a film, or visit a lovely place like a park or a beach.
Rediscover those old music tracks you’ve not played for ages, laugh and cry over your old photograph albums, school reports and letters – find something to do ‘just because’ and revel in it.
Spend some money on yourself and book a massage, facial or manicure. Plan personal time for relaxation and regard it as time and money invested in yourself, your health and wellbeing.
Watch the sunrise
Get up early and watch the sunrise. Those early mornings when there’s no one else around can be delightful. Or enjoy the peace and quiet as you go for a walk, a jog, bike ride or do some yoga. It’s a great way to start the day.
Spruce up your home
Treat your home well and give it an injection of love and attention. Introduce bright cushions, prints and comfortable textures. Ensure that it’s a place you look forward to coming home to, and are happy spend time in.
It’s possible to refresh your home without too much expense. Candlelight and effective use of lamps can make a real difference to the ambiance. Fresh flowers in unexpected places like your bedroom or bathroom can also transform your home.
Spend time in your garden
A little effort in your garden can introduce colour, fragrance, homegrown produce, and somewhere to relax with friends, family or by yourself on a pleasant afternoon.
Feed the birds and enjoy happy hours watching your visitors. Your garden can become almost an extra room for you to enjoy.
Book dates to look forward to
Make an effort and book dates in your diary; arrangements that you can look forward to. Organise a walk with friends and family or discover what’s on at the local museums and art galleries.
Often there are interesting free exhibitions and concerts that would appeal to others. Join mailing lists and keep informed.
Phone a friend
Making a hot drink, then phoning someone you’ve not spoken to in a while, catching up on each other’s news and reconnecting can be a lovely way to spend an evening.
It’s also a lovely reminder of how many wonderful people you have in your life who are interested in, and care about you.
Make sure you treat yourself regularly
It’s important to make time for yourself and do things like these that you enjoy. These are just a few ideas to introduce simple treats, things to look forward to that you can incorporate into your day quite easily.
When you know that you’ve got regular treats arranged throughout each day or week, you’ll be able to manage stress better and free yourself from the desperate need for an unhealthy quick fix of sugar, alcohol or nicotine.
Yes, you can still enjoy that chocolate or glass of wine, but it’s done in a more mindful way, as a real treat, to be savoured and enjoyed.
Susan Leigh practises lifestyle therapy, counselling and hypnotherapy in Altrincham and Cheshire. Find out more on her website.Susan Leigh