We’ve all been there.
You get to the end of the day and have absolutely nothing left. Your house is a mess, your to-do list is longer than it was when the day started and you are pretty sure your kids hate you.
It’s a good thing not every day is like that (and I make sure and remind myself of that on those “off” days)
As moms, it is so easy to get into the habit of taking care of everything that it is easy to forget to take care of your own needs. If you are feeling overwhelmed at the end of the day, it is probably because you need a little TLC.
1. Go to bed early. A little extra sleep can go a long way towards fixing things. Things always look different after a good night’s sleep. I know for me, when I’ve had a rough day, often I can blame it on not getting enough sleep in the first place.If you are struggling to get enough sleep at night, check out these tips to help you sleep better at night.
2. Remind yourself bad days don’t last forever. This seems so basic but, I promise, it helps. When things are rough, I remind myself that they won’t be rough forever. In the moment it can be hard to remember that. If you need to, say it out loud.
3. Snuggle with your babies. There are very few things that make a bad day better than snuggling with your kids. Take a few minutes and read some bedtime stories, snuggle on the couch, or play with some toys. Set aside whatever happened during the day and turn your focus to your kids.
4. Give yourself permission to veg out. Sometimes you just need to shut your brain off. There’s a story that I always remember when I have a lot on my plate. A psychologist was teaching stress management to some college students when she pulled out a glass of water. The students expected the glass half full question but instead, the psychologist asked them to tell her how heavy the water glass was. The answer surprised them. The weight of the glass doesn’t matter. What matters, is how long you hold the glass. We can have very heavy burdens but allowing ourselves to put those burdens down for a while and rest can help us to move forward.
5. Read a book. At the end of a rough day, escaping into a good book can be a great way to put down your troubles and give yourself a break. If you need a good book recommendation, I love this site that suggests books based on your favorite authors and books you have enjoyed in the past. It takes the guesswork out of finding a book and lets you get reading as fast as possible. If you have a Kindle (the Paperwhite is my favorite), you can download your book right away and avoid the hassle of planning a head or scheduling in a trip to the library.
6. Take a quiet bath. There’s so much noise in our lives everyday. When we get overwhelmed, sometimes taking a step back and disconnecting can do us good. Soak in a quiet bath and just let your mind be still. If you want to make your bath extra relaxing, you can try our DIY Lavender Bath Salts.
7. Plan something you can look forward to. When you’ve had a hard day, having something to look forward to can completely change your state of mine. It can be something small. Schedule a time out to run to your favorite spot later in the week. Make rough plans for your next vacation. Buy movie tickets and schedule a night out with a friend.
8. Binge watch a new TV series. There’s nothing that helps with shutting your brain off more than a great binge watching session. After a rough day, I really love my Amazon Prime account because they have some great TV show options that I can stream for free as part of my membership. If you don’t have Amazon Prime yet, you can sign up here.
9. Make a “Have-done” list. Forget your to-do list. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great list (check out my favorite daily checklist here), but on rough days, you need to focus on what you did get done, not what you didn’t. Write down all the things you did today. You may be surprised at how much you really got accomplished.
10. Enjoy a great meal. I’m a big fan of food, especially after I’ve had a rough day. There are few things that cheer me up better than good comfort food. Finding the time to go to the grocery store and plan a meal when I’m stressed just isn’t going to happen though. On those nights, I’ll often pick up my favorite takeout. Lately, I’ve found something I enjoy more. My family has been using Blue Apron to relieve some stress and eliminate the hassle of meal planning/shopping. Blue Apron delivers fresh ingredients right to our door and, so far, we’ve loved everything that we’ve made. There’s something so relaxing about making a great meal when you don’t have to do any of the prep work. Check out Blue Apron and sign up for your first delivery here.
11. Give yourself a massage. Having someone give you a massage isn’t always an option (wouldn’t that be nice), but you can always give yourself a massage. This is self-soothing at its best! You can sit and massage your own feet. Just prop one foot at a time up on your leg and massage your foot. If you want an option that requires a bit less work, look into a hand-held massager. I have this little hand-held massager. My kids get a kick out of it so it isn’t hard to convince them to use it on my back. For something simple, but effective, this scalp massager is a great way to relieve the stress of the day, especially if you suffer from tension headaches.
12. Turn on your diffuser. Aromatherapy is a great way to recover from a rough day. Essential oils can lift your mood, brighten your spirits, and make your home smell amazing. Lavender oil is very calming and one of my favorite ways to relax at the end of the day. I’ll often add lavender to my diffuser or put a few drops on my pillow at night before I go to bed. Orange oil is another favorite and a fabulous mood lifter. You can get my favorite essential oils here. Feel free to send me a message if you need suggestions.
13. Practice self-talk. After a rough day, we usually need a bit of building up . . . but there’s no reason we can’t be the one to do it. Ask yourself a few questions to put things in perspective:
- Is there anything that happened today that can’t be fixed?
- Are things likely to look better in the morning?
- Is this a problem that is going to last forever?
- Is there anything that I can do to solve it right this moment?
After asking those questions, allow yourself to let go of your problem until another day.
14. Meditate. I’m not a big fan of meditating, mostly because I’m really bad at it, but I admit that it can be great for decompressing at the end of a long day. If you are new to meditation, there are some great apps to help you learn how to do it. If all else fails, simply sitting in a quiet room and focusing on your breathing for minutes can help you regroup.
15. Plan the next day. If today was a flop, take steps to make tomorrow better. Sit down and look at your schedule. Make a to-do list. Plan your menu if you need to get your whole week back on track. If your are overwhelmed, take anything you can off your schedule and push it to another day.
16. Do something nice for someone else. Sometimes when we are struggling, we need to get out of our own head and look at what we can do to help someone else. Look for a simple way to serve. Call a friend that may be struggling too and keep the conversation on her. Write a note to slip in your child’s backpack the next day. Arrange to take a meal to someone who needs an extra hand in your community. You’ll probably find that your own problems won’t be so overwhelming when you are done.
17. Write in your journal. Journaling can be very therapeutic and a great way to wind down after a hard day. Write all your worries and complaints down. Work out the daily events on paper. I often find that I can solve my problems simply by writing them down and taking time to mentally work through them. If you need some help getting started, the 52 Lists for Happiness journal is a great way to get started when you need a little guidance.
If a traditional journal isn’t your thing, consider a gratitude journal. Writing down the things you are grateful for makes it easier to see the good things you have in your life. I have used the Simple Abundance Gratitude Journal in the past and really enjoyed it (and the book that goes along with it).
18. Laugh. Don’t underestimate the power of laugher. When I lived in coastal CA, there was a group of older ladies who would often gather on the beach. They’d stick a handmade sign in the sand that said “laughing yoga” and they’d just sit there and laugh together. Curiosity got the best of me one day so I went over to talk to them. They told me that they believed in the power of laughter so they wanted to encourage everyone to laugh as much as they could. They wanted everyone on the beach to join them and just laugh for a few minutes. They said it starts as something forced but once you get started, everyone gets the giggles and you can laugh your troubles away.
Find something that makes you laugh. If you can’t do that, just laugh anyway. Take the “fake it ’till you make it” standpoint and I bet you’ll feel better afterwards.
If all else fails, this video usually does it for me:
19. Clean your house. I know. This doesn’t sound like fun, does it. It may not work for you but I know I feel much calmer if my house is clean and put together. Sometimes after a rough day, all I need is to bring order to something . . . even if it is just one small area of my house. If you are in the mood to be with your family, recruit them to help you. We have a list of printable chores if you need some help getting started.
20. Listen to happy music. Music is powerful. Don’t underestimate the power that it can have to change your mood. Choose music that will uplift you. That may be calming music to help you shut down at the end of the day or it may be something that will get you up and help you feel empowered to keep going. Whatever it is, turn on some music and change your mood.
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