Nine 2-Minute Stress Busters for Busy Mums

woman swinging against the clock

There are never enough minutes in the day, are there? And as the day wears on you can feel the stresses building up.

Your neck feels stiff, your jaw aches and your hands tend to clench.

Frantically trying to fit everything in, you feel harried from all sides — your family, your job and the world in general!

Your time is simply not your own.

Tired of feeling life is just a race — you deserve a breather to set you back on track.

And even you can afford 2 minutes, can you not?

1.) Breathing in Colour

Imagine you can breathe in energy and breathe out stress.

Sounds impossible?

This is how to do it:

Stop.

Take a deep breath in and let it out fairly slowly through your mouth.

Pause

Next breathe in and imagine you are breathing in energy — and then breathe out stress.

Pause

You may find that you can imagine breathing in a vibrant, lively colour for energy and a different, darker colour for stress and that this really helps. Three breathes are usually enough to invigorate you.

You can imagine breathing is tranquillity instead — using a calming colour, and maybe forcing anger out.

Making a picture helps most people (I always see a little marmite man gradually changing colour).

2.) Aromatherapy — Scents to Invigorate or Relax You

Aromatherapy has been around for a thousand years or more. Natural essential oils are extracted from herbs, flowers, fruits and trees and can be used in a variety of ways including baths, massages, pillows and candles. Certain scents relax us others while other scents energise us.

If you want to feel calmer then lavender is inexpensive and easy to use. If you have a small pillow filled with lavender flowers, you can simply take a few deep, slow breathes. Our great-grandmothers would put a few drops onto a handkerchief and waft it around. You can even use it as a cold compress across your forehead if you have a headache (although this would take more than 2 minutes). If it’s energy you feel in need of try bergamot, or even just squeezing an orange or lemon and inhaling can make you feel fresher.

3.) Candle Gazing and Little Bubbles

Gazing at the flame of a lighted candle is somewhat hypnotic. The thought bubbles are gentle and calming, enclosing your stray thoughts, wafting away.

This really does clear your mind as much as is possible — and after a little practice you can do it anywhere that is safe. But to start with, though, you need to take a little longer and use a real candle in a darkened room.

Light the candle and gaze at it. Every time a thought enters your head just put it in a little bubble and let it drift away.

Soon you will be able to do this without a candle, but you will be most unlikely to clear your mind completely, (I never have). However, it does provide a calming effect and will let you carry on afterwards with a slightly clearer head. And it’s oh, so nice to do!

4.) Check Your Shoulders

Two minutes isn’t long enough to give yourself a thorough muscle relaxation, but you can do a little — and the effects can be quite surprising.

We often carry stress in our shoulders, we go about with shoulders raised or hunched. Look along a busy street and you will see what I mean. So, for this, simply check on where you are carrying your shoulders. Then lower them, they will nearly always be high if you are tense.

Move your neck gently to set the shoulders right, and work your jaw if it, too, feels tense.

5.) Crossed Laterals Exercise

Now it’s true you can’t do much in two minutes — but you can do something. If that something uses crossed laterals then the benefit will be out of proportion to the time spent. It’s a way of unravelling your brain.

As you know your brain has two sides, right and left. For most of us the right side controls the left side of our body and the left side of our brain the right side of our body. In crossed lateral exercise you join them up; you might touch your left knee with your right hand and then the right knee with your left hand. You can touch your opposite foot, your opposite elbow, you can go behind your back or in front, the mere lifting of your right leg for your left hand to touch helps to unravel our brains. Why not try it and see how you feel.

You might even join Jack Hartmann for his way of doing it. (He takes 3.44 minutes)

 

And if you really want a more discrete performance, in less time, here is a challenge:

 

My friend had a different technique. She kept a cushion in the bathroom and when she felt the tension rise she just gave it a few hefty punches, left and right. Then immediately she felt in a more harmonious frame of mind.

6.) Lift up your tummy

While yoga is extremely beneficial, you may not have time to a full work out. This is one little exercise that will not only help you relax but also helps firm up your tummy muscles.

This is how to do it, but best not within two hours of eating:

Stand with your knees slightly bent. Place your hands high up on your thighs with your fingers pointing inwards.

Breathe out fully. And then breathe out a bit more.

Pull the abdominal muscles in and up

Hold for 3 seconds or less

Repeat up to 3 times before breathing out again

As you get better at this you can increase the number of actions between breathing — but always be comfortable.

7.) Speak to Your Inner Child

We all talk to ourselves — but have you ever really listened to the tone of your voice? All too often speak harshly and talk unpleasantly to ourselves. This needs to change.

If you find yourself nagging at yourself — then deliberately change the quality of the sound in your head make your inner voice soft and seductive, lower the pitch, slow the speed, make it a nurturing sound, just as you would comfort your child when he is upset.

After all, we all have an inner child, who deserves to be kindly spoken to, encouraged and nurtured.

8.) Whisper Sweet Little Things to Yourself

Speaking kindly to yourself can take a bit of practice and it’s good to have something nice to say — already there to be spoken at need. Find yourself a saying that tells you are great, you are good, you are doing a fantastic job, you are…all good things, but not too many of them as your mantra should be short.

The opposite less used technique is to have a saying that is ridiculous and that you shout out loudly (in privacy). Something like “Blue socks cartwheeling in a pie” is stupid but gives a clear picture — and makes you pause for thought — very briefly.

9.) Listen to Some Soothing Music

What is the right music?

Music at around 60 beats per minute, not too loud and not too dissonant. Imagine it’s a bit like being returned to the womb when your mother’s heartbeat was the very first sound you ever heard. Baroque music is good, and an adagio by Albinoni is often quoted as being very successful. I like to vary my baroque music and YouTube has a huge variety. Have your playlist ready to use or your CD player set up and music can very quickly make you feel better.

Indeed, music is one of the fastest ways to alter your state of mind and how you are feeling. Even a few bars of the right music can stay with you and relax you. You can always continue to hum it as you go about your business, and humming has its own therapeutic effect. The low tone and the vibration are said to lower blood pressure — just as purring in cats has been found to reduce their blood pressure.

This is my own favourite way of reducing tension, and I find much relaxing music, from Gregorian chants to new age fairy rings, pleasant to listen to.

Feel How a Brief Pause Can Change Your Day

There are never enough minutes in the day, are there? But as the day wears on you can take a few moments to release the stress.

Your body feels comfortable, your shoulders relaxed and your jaw free and easy.

No longer frantically trying to fit everything in, you feel appreciated from all sides — your family, your job and the world in general!

You know you deserve a breather and it sets you back on track, even on the busiest days.

And just 2 minutes will give you pause long enough to take a breath and to take charge of your emotions and change your world.

You can control how you feel and you are the master of your time.

2 thoughts on “Nine 2-Minute Stress Busters for Busy Mums”

  1. What a great selection of tips. I didn’t know about the hidden benefits of crossed-laterals… although I have been doing them for years (now and again). And what a lovely idea with the candle.
    Thanks for all these great tips. As you point out, surely we can all afford two minutes ☺️

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