The Zen Mom Manifesto: 28 Ways to De-stress, Simplify + Streamline Your Life TODAY
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When you and your mom friends get together to BMW (bitch, moan and whine), doesn't it seem like the same few topics always come up?
Is it some strange coincidence? Nah. We're all in the same boat, us moms. The boat is called the USS WTF, we're wearing our life jackets 24/7, instead of lyme disease it's hemorrhoids and instead of grog it's Yellowtail Shiraz. (Be sure to tell me in the comments section what our flag would look like.) I've made it my business to identify the pain points of modern mothers so I can help them create strong-as-steel Stress Relief Frameworks. And without further ado...
The five core stressors driving modern moms insane are:
1. Perceived Time Famine ("I just don't have time to get everything done that needs to be done. ARRGGHH!")
2. Creating Career/Family Balance
3. Lack of Self Care/Self Nurturing
4. Managing Household Routines (Cleaning + Meal Planning, in particular)
5. Lack of Sufficient Social Support Structures
Do any of these sound familiar? The truth is, modern motherhood CAN be peaceful and playful. It can also be un-fucking-bearable, of course. The 28 item list below was intentionally designed to help you simplify, streamline, structure and spiritualize your daily routine for maximum peace, play and productivity. Each of the 28 stress reduction strategies you'll find here addresses and remedies those Five Core Stressors.
Here are 28 simple, proven, stress reduction strategies every mom should've known yesterday:
#1: Learn to say “No”.
This is a radical act of self love and an essential habit for anyone trying to simplify and de-stress their lives. If you can’t say no, you’ll take on too much and feel overwhelmed. So much of our daily stress comes from our inability to just set healthy boundaries. Being able to confidently say “Nope!” shows you value your time, energy and life. Best of all; it’ll create the time and space needed for the things you actually do want to say “yes!” to. TAKE ACTION NOW: Make a list of all of the activities, people, habits and responsibilities you’re currently saying “Yes” too, that are weighing you down and creating overwhelm. Who are the people you need to renegotiate with? When you say “No”... what wonderful things will you then have the time and space for?!
#2: Automate your household management routines, especially those for cleaning and meal planning.
If you are frazzled, burned out and always on the verge of (or actually having) a breakdown, then for the love of all that is holy, start automating. You see, trying to figure out the where/when/how of meal planning, cleaning, errands and household tasks every single day takes a whole lot of brain power, time, energy and stress. You can “work smarter, not harder” and save yourself HOURS per day by coming up with simple systems, structures and schedules for the things you do on a daily basis. TAKE ACTION: Access my FREE Wellness Tools Vault for weekly meal plans, cleaning schedules and productivity planners.
#3: remember to unplug
If you feel like you need space to breathe, or if you’ve gotten accustomed to bringing work home with you, try setting time limits on when you are reachable via your devices. This ties into "Creating Career/Family Balance". Be sure to keep the two totally separate. This is easier said than done for work-from-home-moms and I get that, but it's still vitally important to be fully present and engaged with the people you love. TAKE ACTION: Only check emails at certain times of the day, for a certain number of minutes (I recommend twice a day for 20 minutes, but do what works for you). Decide on an exact hourthat you’ll “power down” each day by turning off your phone/laptop/devices. Have everyone else in the fam follow suit so you can all be fully present and enjoy each other. Unplug yo’self!
#4: defeat your social media addiction.
We often say “I just don’t have time” as an excuse for why we can’t do the things we love. (That was MY go-to excuse, anyway.) Welp, that’s not true- the average person spends 2+ hours per day on social media. That’s 14 hours per week you could be nurturing yourself or engaging in self care activities! The truth is, you DO have time, you’re just not spending it wisely. TAKE ACTION: Turn off/disable social media notifications and alerts, delete some apps and maybe even cancel a few social media accounts. Set limits (Ex. Only check Facebook onceper day at 5pm) and stick to them. For serious inspiration, grab a pencil right now and make a list of all things you could do if you had an extra 14 hours a week to spend however you wish. Start living!!
#5: Declutter your home.
This will save you a MASSIVE amount of time, money, energy and stress. Don’t underestimate the power of purging the stuff you don’t want/need/use/like; you’ll be absolutely amazed at how therapeutic this is, and how it can transform your health, home and life. In fact, purging my own home from top to bottom revolutionized my experience of motherhood so profoundly and completely that I created a course called “Sacred Space: The Ultimate 12 Week Decluttering Guide”. TAKE ACTION: Check out the course here or just go get some trash bags and have at it. Carpe Diem! Let that junk go!
#6: Create a simple, stylish Capsule Wardrobe.
Getting dressed in the morning will be a breeze, you’ll always look well put together and ... have a lot less laundry (holla!) Simplify your wardrobe by getting rid of anything you don’t actually wear. TAKE ACTION: Check out my Pinterest Board; it’s full of tips, tricks and tools to help you do this!
#7: Create a simplicity statement.
What do you want your simple, joyful, peaceful life to look like? Write it out. More here.
#8: be a conscious consumer and learn to live frugally.
Every day we’re bombarded with advertisements telling us to BUY NOW, CONSUME MORE. If you’re a slave to materialism and consumerism, you’re wasting money and buying things you don’t truly love or even need... instead of investing in your long term dreams and goals. You are also creating clutter and hard work for yourself; every item you purchase has to be stored, organized, cleaned and taken care of. If it’s taking up physical space, it’s taking up mental space. Less stuff = more happiness.
#9: Schedule “White Space” / “Free Time” in which you have zero responsibilities.
It’s vitally important to have “white space” in your life; time in which there are no plans, responsibilities or expectations other than to simply BE present. We can’t be expected to perform tasks and be productive during all of our waking hours; this leads to burnout, fatigue, overwhelm, anxiety...(sound familiar?) TAKE ACTION: Get your favorite calendar right NOW and schedule your daily White Space. If it’s not on your calendar or written down, it likely won’t happen. Take charge of you life and be committed to your health and wellbeing by doing this small, simple thing.
#10: fill your cup + nurture your soul.
Once you’ve freed up some time, be sure to spend that extra time doing things you truly love and enjoy.... Or absolutely nothing at all. Sometimes our days are filled doing things we “have to” do... instead of the things we actually want to do. So, what makes you soul sing and your spirit fly? TAKE ACTION: Read my free e-book “30 Days of Soulful Self Care”.
#11: Spend time with people you love.
Whether those people are your spouse, a partner, children, parents, other family, best friends, or whoever, find time to do things with them, talk to them, be intimate with them (not necessarily in sexual ways). JOURNAL: Are you making meaningful, intentional connections with your loved ones everyday or are you just passing by them without being truly engaged? Why or why not?
#12: Eat your meals mindfully.
Bringing food into your body is sacred and holy act. Just as important as “what” you eat, is “how” you eat. Sit down to eat with the intention of nourishing yourself on a cellular and energetic level. Slowing down during meals will help you lose weight, improve your digestion and enjoy life more. TAKE ACTION: The next time you sit down for a meal, turn off all devices. Chew slowly. Eat each bite with intention and gratitude. Notice what you are experiencing by being fully present in each moment. Smile. :) Another tip: Pray before eating. No matter what religious or spiritual path you adhere to, this brings everyone’s attention to the present moment and to each other.
#13: Drive mindfully.
Most of us begin our day by driving to work or driving kids to school. This experience sets the tone for the day, so making it a pleasant experience seems like a good idea, right?! Most people rush through traffic, honking and getting angry and frustrated and stressed out, endangering themselves and others in the meantime. Driving intentionally is not only safer, but it’ll save gas, and can be incredibly peaceful. TAKE ACTION: Use your next drive to work/school as an opportunity to breathe deeply, meditate and set your intention for the day. This may mean leaving on time or a few minutes earlier. On the way home, do the same. Leave behind the stresses of the day and visualize hitting a “reset and relax” button as soon as you put the key in the ignition.
#14: Establish soulful morning and evening routines for yourself.
Starting and ending your day with a simple, soulful, self care routine is the most excellent way to wake up and fall asleep! You’ll feel calm, centered, grounded and refreshed. JOURNAL: Imagine a perfect day in your dreamiest life. How does the day start? How does it end? Recreate some or (all!) of these elements. Think of all the senses. How do you most want to feel, physically and energetically, upon waking and upon drifting off to sleep? Download the "Creating Daily Routines" PDF.
#15: Make your home minimalist.
A minimalist house has what is necessary, and not much else. It’s also extremely peaceful... not to mention SUPER easy to clean. Have only things in your home that are useful and/or beautiful. Everything else is a distraction from really living.
#16: Consider a smaller home.
If you rid your home of all that useless stuff weighing you down, you might find you don’t need so much space! I’m not saying you should live on a school bus (although I personally know people who happily do!!), but living in a smaller space saves lots of time, money, energy and stress.
#17: Buy your groceries online.
This is something I just can’t stop raving about. See, I have 3 kids. Do you know how stressful it is to go to the grocery store with 3 kids?! TAKE ACTION: After you create your simple weekly meal plan (download here), buy your groceries online, perhaps through Publix or Wal-Mart. Then, you just go pick them up the next day. YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO GET OUT OF THE CAR. They load everything in your trunk for you. VIOLA! More free time for you. This ought to save you 5 hours per month. You’re welcome.
#18: Eat healthy.
It might not be obvious how eating healthy relates to simplicity, but think about the opposite: if you eat a sub-optimal diet, it will negatively affect both your physical and mental health. We could be talking years from now, but imagine frequent doctor visits, hospitalization, going to the pharmacist, getting therapy, having surgery, taking insulin shots ... you get the idea. Being unhealthy is complicated. Eating healthy is simple. Also, most healthy foods are the easiest and quickest to prepare. Just grab a banana or apple and you’re all set.
#19: Find a creative outlet for self-expression.
Whether that’s writing poetry, painting, blogging, drawing, creating movies, designing websites, baking, dancing, whatever. We all have a need for self-expression and when this need isn’t met we feel vaguely unfulfilled or just straight up depressed. Take the time to nurture your soul.
#20: Simplify your goals.
Instead of having half a dozen goals or more, simplify it down to one meaningful goal, right now. Not only will this make you less stressed, it will increase your chances of success! You’ll be able to focus on That One Big Juicy Goal, and give it ALL of your energy and attention. TAKE ACTION: The ultimate tool for "creating goals with soul" is The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte. Truly life changing; I buy a fresh one every year!
Multi-tasking is more complicated, more stressful, and less productive. Instead, start doing only one task at a time. Multi tasking often means sucking at several things simultaneously... single tasking means mastering one thing completely. Which would you rather do? Give your full undivided attention to one thing and put laser focus on it. Distraction is the hallmark of modern living and so detrimental to the quality of our daily life.
#22: Develop equanimity.
If every little unpleasant thing that happens to you sends you into anger or stress, you’re going to have a helluva time living a simple life. Learn to detach yourself, and be more at peace. I recommend reading “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" by Mark Manson.
#23: Reduce your consumption of and exposure to advertising.
The goal of marketing and advertising is to send this message to your brain/subconscious: without this object, you’ll never be happy or lovable.Pretty insidious, right? Advertising makes us want things we don’t need. That’s what it’s designed to do, and it works. Find ways to reduce your exposure of advertising, whether that’s in magazines, on TV, your phone, or elsewhere. TAKE ACTION: Start by deleting shopping apps from your phone, like Amazon and Etsy. Mute the TV when a commercial comes on. Better yet, just limit your exposure to social media/mass media in general.
#24: turn your master bedroom into a beautiful + stress free sanctuary
According to the principles of Feng Shui, the Master Bedroom in THE most important room in your house, as its the room that has the biggest impact on your health, happiness and over all wellbeing. If you find yourself wishing you had your own private, beautiful, quiet, peaceful oasis to escape to for free and at anytime, well, then start here; that's what this room is actually for!! Read my blog on how to transform your master bedroom into a sleepy, sexy, soulful sanctuary.
#25: Develop a daily mindfulness practice.
I really love guided meditations... being able to plug my headphones in have someone take me to that place. Guided meditations are a great place to start if you're new to this whole mindfulness thing. The Love and Radiance Meditation Kit is my very favorite. Make it an integral part of your daily night time ritual; I can't think of a better way to end the day!
#26: Go for quality over quantity.
Try not to have a ton of stuff in your life...instead, have just a few possessions, but ones that you really love; high quality items that will last a lifetime. It’s worth it in the long run.
#27: Read “The Simple Living Guide”, by Janet Luhrs.
This needs to be on every moms bookshelf. It’s on mine and I try to force people to read it all the time. It’s just so good! And if you've actually been implementing the ideas listed here, you should now have enough time to actually read a book!
#28: Infuse your day with tiny, simple pleasures!
Make a list of your favorite simple pleasures, and sprinkle them throughout your day. Think of just 5 tiny little things that make your spirit sing. When you integrate them into your daily routine, it'll make your day SO much for soulful and enjoyable. Me; I huff my doTERRA essential oils throughout the day for a mood boost, listen to e-books while cleaning and cooking, and journal/doodle in a tiny lil book I carry around. Infuse your day with magic, my love!
Key point: If I could encapsulate the solution to our collective "Mom Burnout" it would be this: MINIMALISM + MINDFULNESS.
There's too much going on in our short circuited, overwhelmed, anxious mom brains. We're overstimulated and frazzled. Moving past this feeling primarily involves The Art of Letting Go. Letting go of the people, thoughts, habits, responsibilities, possessions... and everything else that's weighing you down and standing in-between you and joy. It's time to set down your heavy load and... breathe. If this article resonates with you and you'd like continuous, personalized, results oriented coaching to help you integrate these principles into your life, then be sure to explore Divine By Design, by signature 6 month holistic health coaching program.