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Keeping Calm and Carrying On

Keeping Calm and Carrying On

Motherhood Unstressed Founder Liz Carlile advocates self-care for moms. Photo: Ben Wills

Life with kids can be extra busy and at times, even chaotic. Stress levels of even the most well-meaning, fun-loving parents can spike after a long day or an early morning rise and routine. While it’s certainly understandable, the fact is a stressed-out mom or dad isn’t good for anyone at home, especially the kids. Brookhaven resident Liz Carlile, founder of Motherhood Unstressed, a blog and podcast that focuses on self-care for moms, shares the following ways to make the home a more stress-free environment. Hint: It starts by taking care of you.

Create a Rock-Solid Morning Routine

In creating a stress-less home, the number one thing Carlile recommends is creating a morning routine for yourself. She suggests getting up at least 20 minutes earlier than anyone else in the house, drinking a glass of water and sitting down for a 5-minute meditation. “This helps you connect with yourself and gauge where you’re at that day spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Just breathe and be with yourself for a few minutes,” she says. Next, put on some music for the entire household and start the day. “Now when it’s time to get the kids up, you are present. And when the kids walk out the door, they will feel supported and grounded,” Carlile notes.

Share a Distraction-Free Meal

You might see countertops that need cleaning or text messages coming in, but instead of tending to those right away, turn your attention to being present for one family meal. “Put the cell phones away and turn the TV off. Eliminating those distractions means you are really there, listening to one another. Kids can feel that positivity and connection,” says Carlile.

Teach Your Kids a 5-Minute Meditation

Surprise: Meditation isn’t just for adults! The practice can help children cope with their own stress. “I teach meditation to kids and have noticed the effects of them being more empathetic with their friends, in the moment and calm,” Carlile says. Here’s how: Put on some gentle meditation music (you can find a playlist on Spotify). Bring your child’s attention to the crown of the head, then face, then ears, and slowly work your way down the body to the toes, all while focusing on breathing. The accompanying breathing exercise can be breathing in for four counts, holding for two and breathing out for six.

Eat a Diet of Primarily Whole Foods

You’re going to feel less stressed when you get proper nutrition. Carlile, who attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, recommends eating plenty of organic fruits and vegetables and getting rid of as many processed foods as possible. She notes studies have shown that 90% of serotonin (the “happy” hormone) in the brain is produced in the gut. When the gut microbiome (the balance of good to bad bacteria) is healthy, it impacts your mental wellbeing. Support it by eating a diet of nutrient-rich whole foods and cutting back on processed foods.

Declutter Your Home

A cluttered house is a stressful house. “Pair down and go as minimalist as possible. Keep the quality, good things around you. Donate items you don’t need,” suggests Carlile. When you look around and everything is in its place, it automatically instills a sense of calm. If you make a habit to do a small cleanse every month or so, it’ll have a big effect.

Consider Taking a CBD Tincture

A calm mom and dad create a great foundation for a stress-free home. Cannabidiol, known popularly as CBD, comes from the hemp plant and is said to promote relaxation. It works hand in hand with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps regulate the other systems in the body, says Carlile, who sells a line of CBD products. She recommends ingesting a daily CBD tincture, which is hemp oil mixed with a carrier oil. “You will not feel drugged or altered; you’ll feel more like yourself,” she explains.


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