Mom-Stress, let's manage it with 2:1 breathing

Monday, 08 June 2020

There are practical parts of motherhood that you can plan for, like the car seat, baby food steamer and the best rated baby carrier. Then, there are the other parts that you weren't expecting [and can kind of feel stunned by the intensity until you're in it]: extreme fatigue, anxiety, overwhelm as you begin to multi-task all the things, and the noise. Kids are LOUD and the frequency of the crying/whining episodes are... whew! A lot. In my house, we've got four, and I get it, they're all just trying to be heard, seen and heard some more. There are a lot of emotions and different personalities all smashing together in one, love-filled home.

Sometimes though, it's too much. All of the positive mantras, affirmations and reminders I give myself just aren't getting me through this feeling of imbalance as my stress levels rise. I feel it in my shoulders, my throat and face. It's like a tea kettle that I know is about to boil over. There are times that I do let the stress get the better of me. I shout. I lose it. It doesn't feel good, but I'm gentle with myself. I forgive myself. Because, I'm human.

I know that I want to and can do better. So I try. I try again and again by coming back to my breath. It's one of the best tools I've experienced to handle stress in the moment. My prenatal yoga practice laid the foundation. I've practiced incorporating this powerful tool that I've carried with me from pregnancy, through birth and, currently, in the thick of motherhood with four kids (including 3yo twins #twinsanity).

Our breath has been described as a bridge between the body and the mind. When I feel my mind being flooded with stress hormones and my body tensing to respond, I know I need my breath to bring this stress down and help me feel more balanced again.

Join me in this two to one (2:1) breathing exercise where I'll walk you through doubling the length of your exhale.

For example, if you inhale for a steady count of 2, exhale for a steady count of 4. If you're able to breathe a little more deeply, you can increase this to a 3 or 4 count inhale, and a 6 or 8 count exhale.

Your exhale will always be double the length of your inhale. This 2:1 breathing exercise helps release stress and is an accesible technique to quickly calm the nervous system.

Give it a try the next time you feel your stress levels rise. Before or after you scream.

*Remember: You're a human being and that comes with experiencing all the emotions. You're not perfect and are not meant to be. You can (we can) do our best to try and manage this stress that is a natural part of this beautifully messy mom-life. We can set the example for our kids that we're trying, but we're not perfect. We can apologize to our kids when we do "lose it" and show them how we're working on doing better next time. It's a practice that also takes patience, but it's worth putting in the time for.

And they may just remind you to breathe next time. I have a feeling we've got an incredibly mindful generation on the rise.

Namaste, mama!

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