Babies learn how to calm themselves down by self-soothing early on in their development and hopefully, this skill is carried into adulthood. When I started therapy last fall, I was reintroduced to this concept and some techniques akin to those I had learned through my study of yoga and meditation.
Dealing with a personal crisis, the pandemic, and becoming a new parent (as if that in and of itself wasn’t enough!), I started cultivating a list of easy self-soothing methods that activate the five senses and can be used at a moment’s notice, baby in tow. Some of my favorites follow.
Self-soothing techniques for busy moms
- Sing nursery rhymes and songs. Like mantras or audible prayer, singing releases oxytocin and endorphins, generating a state of calm. It also forces you to breathe deeply, and baby will benefit, too!
- Use a color-changing nightlight and humidifier. I’m a big fan of color therapy for relaxation, which is why I love our Hatch night light. I match the color with that of our humidifier to create a calming glow in the nursery for feeding and bedtime.
- Get lost in the pages of a book, or flashcards! Reading is such an easy, powerful tool to de-stress, and it entertains baby. Currently, I am reading French vocabulary flashcards to my son, and not only does he get a French lesson, but mommy also gets to chillax in the process!
- Eat with intention. To bring mindfulness back to mealtimes, mix up colors, flavors, aromas, textures, and tastes. For a quick exercise in mindful eating (barring no allergies), try slowly eating a heaping tablespoon of chunky peanut butter, Nutella, or Marshmallow Fluff.
- Stop and smell the roses. Clean scents and interesting fragrances have the unique ability to lift and brighten any mood. Some of my favorite oils and mists include Aveda’s Stress-Fix composition oil, Lavender Chamomile spray by Botanical Therapy from World Market, and Quiet Mind Pillow Spray by Elemis.
- Journaling and daily gratitude. Journaling and having a gratitude practice are great for keeping anxiety in check. Moorea Seal’s 52 Lists books are a good place to start if you’re feeling stuck. Be sure to also carve out time for gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal to record what you are most grateful for daily.
- Pack a calm down kit. Not just for kids, adults need to calm down, too. Enter the emergency calm down kit! Store essentials that will bring you back to center when anxiety strikes in a pouch to have at the ready. I keep an aromatherapy rollerball, mints, lip balm, grounding charms, lavender-scented hand lotion, and calming essential oils in mine.
- Listen while you work. Music is an easy way to boost mood and having assorted playlists at the ready is key. Soothing podcasts will also do the trick. Try the brief Horoscope Today by Parcast on Spotify. Or, if you have more time, try the Elements of Ayurveda. Our editor tipped me off to this wellness podcast full of interesting teachings on Ayurvedic philosophy.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Staying hydrated is so important and as busy moms, we may struggle to get all of our glasses in. To help make this a reality, a special shout out to Charleston’s own Healthy Human. Committed to minimizing single-use plastic waste with their line of sweat-proof stainless steel water bottles and tumblers, keep one on hand and you’ll hit your hydrate numbers in no time.
- Affirmations and positive self-talk. Couple your list of affirmations, visualizations, and manifestations with the I Am app which offers customizable theme-based affirmations. You can set the frequency of reminders and receive notifications across all Apple platforms. Flipping through positive affirmations is a healthier way to pass the time than scrolling.
- Take a hike – or maybe just a walk. Fresh air brightens everyone’s mood, so pack up your crew and take that walk, mama! Bonus points if you can manage walking the dog while pushing a stroller.
- Try an at-home moving meditation. Meditation doesn’t have to be seated. Try a moving meditation while doing housework, like vacuuming, washing dishes, sweeping the porch, or sorting laundry. You’ll burn some adrenaline, bring attention to your breath, and check-in while checking out…