This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org.
I’ll never forget when, shortly after The Fringe Hours release, a friend said to me, “I know why you have so many fringe hours. You don’t drink.”
I was taken aback a bit. But she went on, “when the rest of us are enjoying our wine, you are reading or crafting.”
With the holidays upon us, stress for women is at its annual peak. In addition to every day responsibilities, we have Christmas gifts to buy, wrap and ship, cookies to make, and a scout elf to move! The additional pressure that we experience during the holidays – both real and self-imposed, is significant. And the idea of fringe hours, or time for ourselves, seems like a pipe dream.
As a mom, I am aware that my children (ages 11.5, 8.5 and 5) are paying attention all the time- way more than I want to admit. They are like sponges, watching how I respond to things. And during the holidays, when stress is significant, I have to be extra intentional to respond in a way that I am proud of. I have learned that there is a direct correlation between my stress level and my focus on self-care. So even during busy seasons like Christmas, I am committed to paying attention to my needs.
5 Ways to Practice Self-Care and Destress
It is important to be honest with our children about our feelings. During times of stress, I might say, Mommy is feeling a bit overwhelmed right now, so I am going to XYZ. It is only December 10 and I have already said this several times this month. Some of those things that I choose to do to practice self care during periods of stress include:
Take a hot bubble bath: As cliché as it sounds, nothing relaxes me as much as a hot bath with some aromatherapy bubbles. Often a 20-30 soak will totally reset me.
Read a book: My favorite way to reduce stress is to prioritize reading a book. The escape of a novel is completely life-giving to me.
Exercise: It’s like Elle Woods says, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Even a brisk 20-minute walk in the cool weather can change a mindset.
Connect with a friend: During stressful periods, talking with a friend is an opportunity for connection and support. Often the friend will be able to offer a fresh perspective or good word that will make me feel less stressed and/or alone.
Make something: Whether it is baking in the kitchen or crafting, doing something with my hands is a great stress reliever. This Christmas I have made dozens of cookies and it has been a joy amidst the busyness of the season.
Some friends would probably add a glass a wine to this list. For me, it is not a fit because I don’t like the taste of alcohol (I know this is hard for some to believe.). However, even if I did, I wouldn’t include drinking alcohol as a way to cope with stress because it isn’t a healthy habit.
If you are a mom to chooses to drink as a stress reliever, I would encourage you to think about how this impacts your children. What are you communicating if your glass of wine is combined with a comment like, “Mommy is stressed. I need some wine”?
I believe it is important to demonstrate healthy, alcohol-free ways of coping with stress with our children.
When Responsibilty.org reached out about today’s post, they shared some statistics around children and sipping during the holidays. 37% of kids by the age of 8 have had a sip of alcohol and that number rises to 66% by the age of 12. Particularly interesting is that data from SAMSHA indicates: Most 6-year-olds know that alcohol is only for adults. Between the ages of 9 and 13, children start to view alcohol more positively. Many children begin to think underage drinking is okay. Some even start to experiment.
These numbers shouldn’t be this high. I’d love to invite you to share alcohol-free ways you cope with stress. Also, check out the resources from Responsibility.org about talking to our kids early about alcohol. And the next time you have some fringe hours, try one of the habits from my list above. Maybe my friend was right – no drinks means more time to do the things that I love.
This year it was a privilege to write this series of posts sponsored by Responsibility.org and #TalkEarly. Past posts in the series include:
I encourage you to visit the website for more information on how to create a lifetime of conversations with your kids around alcohol and responsibility.