If you’re much younger than me (no, don’t even ask), you may not remember the Calgon bubble bath commercial showing a stressed out woman begging, “Calgon, take me a away” and then instantly you find the woman delighting in a luxurious bathtub overflowing with bubbles, devoid of stress. As if by sinking into a Calgon bath, all her troubles were gone. Well, in some ways this is right. Baths are very soothing. What this woman needs is a stress buster box!
As parents of extra special children, admit it or not, we experience stress daily. You’ve heard it over and over again, ”Take care of yourself. You and your children will be better for it.” But in the day-to-day grind or in those moments when you are the lowest, it’s really hard to remember to take care of yourself.
Make Yourself a Stress Buster Box
Here is what I want you to do. Make yourself a Stress-Buster Box. Gather up several of the things listed below and put them in a pretty just for you box. When you’re crying or wanting to cry, about to blow or have already blown, screaming or wanting to scream – reach for this box and find some peace, a bit of sanity, newfound energy, and a reminder of the love you have for your children even though they push you to the very edge of your limits some days.
In no particular order, I recommend the following:
Soak in an Epsom Salt Bath
Add to the stress buster box, Epsom Salt salts for the bath. Epsom salts are primarily composed of magnesium. Magnesium has been proven to lower blood pressure (1) and reduces stress and anxiety. It also ahem…helps with constipation, which is another nice benefit if that is a challenge for you. Add 1-2 cups of epsom salts to a very warm bath and soak for at least 20 minutes. Consider exploring relaxing essential oils too!
Visualize a Peaceful Place
Put into the stress buster box, a picture of a place (real or imagined) that brings you peace. If necessary, make a copy of your favorite beach trip, vacation or just a place that makes you take a deep breath and sigh when you look at it. Travel magazines would be a great source for relaxing imagery.
Renew with Reiki
Get an energy healing session from a Reiki Master such as myself or someone else you know and trust. Energy healing, such as Reiki, has been proven to decrease anxiety, reduce the need for pain medication, and improve sleep. (2) Ok, you can’t put this in the box exactly, but put the healer’s business card or contact information on a slip of paper in the box and make an appointment. Better yet, secure yourself a couple of gift certificates to put in the stress buster box.
Stir up the Love
Put a picture of your child or children in the stress buster box. Find a picture that makes you smile and fills you full of love. You don’t have to look at it if you don’t want to but sometimes remembering the good times can take the sting out of the bad times.
Heal with Music
Put in a CD or turn on the iPod and play whatever music you think will make you feel better. It might be an instrumental, it might be songs that take you back to the “good ol’ days” or some great dance music. Or it might be some of each. Music heals, I don’t think anyone questions that. Make a list of your favorite songs and put the list in your stress buster box.
Explore Music Therapy for the Kids
Untap the Power of Crystals
Put some crystals in your stress buster box. Crystals have amazing powers (think quartz in watches) that are untapped by many. Some of my favorite crystals for stress release are:
- celestite (negates high energy),
- citrine (soothes high emotions),
- rhodocrosite and rose quartz (self-love and love of others),
- amethyst (healing) and
- quartz (protective)
Crystals can be found at your local rock shop, metaphysical or new age fairs, or online as in the affiliate links above. I like to go to the rock shop and peruse. I find that anything that draws my attention is something I need in my life at that time.
Just hold the crystal in your hand or place it on your body wherever your body seems to need it. Trust whatever your body tells you.
Write Away Your Stress
Put a Stress-Busting journal in your stress buster box and a really nice writing pen. Writing your worries, frustrations, and your fears down releases it from the mind and the heart. There is something amazing and releasing that happens in the brain when you actually write all your worries and fears down.
Explore Poetry Therapy
Put into the stress buster box, a video, DVD or CD that makes you laugh. Studies have proven that laughter reduces stress. One study showed that neuroendocrine and stress-related hormones decreased during episodes of laughter. (3) OK, so now everything is streaming, so using the next suggestion below, create pretty cards with the names of funny movies to remind you to induce laughter and decrease stress.
Color Yourself Wonderful
Put in some crayons (your own, not your kids’) or some colored pencils and nice paper…maybe some mandalas into your stress buster box. Coloring or any form of artwork is very soothing.
Explore Art Therapy for the Kids and steal and idea or two for yourself!
Get several of these items or items of your choice and put them in your pretty Stress Buster Box. Shop for your items when you are feeling good or just do it now if you’re not feeling good. When you’re in a really bad place, all you will have to do is go to the box and select whatever you are drawn to. Trust that it is what you need at that time. It is critical that you find ways to help decrease your stress and being prepared beforehand will help in ways you can’t even imagine.
(1) Dyckner, T., and P. O. Wester. “Effect of Magnesium on Blood Pressure.” Effect of Magnesium on Blood Pressure. | The BMJ. The BMJ, 11 June 1983. Web. 04 Jan. 2017.
(2) Mackay, Nicola, Stig Hansen, and Oona McFarlane. “The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.” Autonomic Nervous System Changes During Reiki Treatment: A Preliminary Study | Abstract. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Mar. 2005. Web. 04 Jan. 2017.
(3) Berk, LS, SA Tan, WS Fry, BJ Napier, RW Hubbard, JE Lewis, and WC Eby. “Neuroendocrine and Stress Hormone Changes during Mirthful Laughter.” The American Journal of the Medical Sciences. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 1989. Web. 04 Jan. 2017.