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Hippo on Your Chest? Tips for Reducing Stress and Anxiety

This morning I woke (or rather I was rudely awoken, as is usually the case these days), feeling like I had one of those pygmy hippo’s sitting on my chest.

Cute?  Yes.

Comfy?  No.

So, with my three little darlings contentedly scoffing down their breakfast I headed to Google, to try to find some suggestion on how I should best de-stress.  Since a week in the Bahamas is slightly out of my price range (as is a day at a spa…or come to think of it even an hour massage session) I will have to do my best with the five useful tips I found.

5 Tips for Reducing Stress and Anxiety

Caffeine Makes Stress Worse

Since stress stimulates the production of the hormone adrenaline, guzzling down numerous coffees throughout the day to get my caffeine fix and keep me perky, has been making the stress worse.  Water, as always, is a much better substitute.  Apparently being dehydrated by just 10 per cent can impair your mental faculties, (hmm that explains a lot) and heightens stress, which is why experts recommend drinking eight glasses a day.

I know what you are thinking, because I thought it too, believe me.  I’ve done the research though, and despite wine containing water, we are apparently not allowed to include the two glasses at the end of the day in our water count.  (Talk about nit-picking eh?)

Good Quality Sleep Reduces Stress

The experts recommend making sure you have comfortable bedding, minimal light from night-lights or alarm clocks, and not eating three hours before bedtime.

I recommend sending the kids around to the grandparents for the night! ha!  If only!

Get some Green Exercise

Psychologist Lisa Lindley says “nature makes us feel good.”  Research shows that getting outdoors, especially in a green setting like a park or bushland, boosts our feelings of wellbeing and reduces stress and anxiety.

I decided to take this great piece of advice, and bundled the kids into the car and we headed to a park.

I was having a whale of a time – laughing and playing with my children.  We ran and jumped and made a long train as we slipped down the tunnel slide together.  Even when it started to rain lightly I didn’t care.  It felt good to be out of the house, spending some time together, enjoying each others company. (I also didn’t have to see the ever-growing laundry pile adding to my overwhelm!)

As we walked back to the car I realised that the hippo had moved.  I didn’t have the horrible sensation of something weighing down on me.

Then the Woo unwittingly stepped in a dog turd and squashed it into the carpet of the car.  Foghorn decided to prod and poke his brother all the way home until an inevitable fight broke out and fifteen month old Bubble feeling very tired and ready for bed, decided to join in the cats choir and yell and whinge the whole fifteen minute car ride home.

Needless to say, that by the time I got home and put the kettle on for a cup of coffee (I know, but sod it), the hippo had moved back in.

Keep a Worry Delay Pad

“A really useful trick is to keep a worry delay pad,” advises Dr Sarah Edelman, clinical psychologist and author of Change Your Thinking. The idea is that every time you stress out about something, write it in the pad and say to yourself that you’ll come back to it at 7pm. “Most people forget to open their pad at 7pm, as they’ve moved on by then. If you do look, you’ve often lost the emotion connected to it.”

This would be a great idea, if only I could find a friggin’ pen.  Don’t even get me started on the pen-war that is currently under-way with hubby.  He is like a little stationery hoarder that steals all the pens and then takes them to work with him!  If he isn’t careful I will start making-like-a-squirrel – and collect some nuts…his!

Meet Other Mums to Reduce Stress

“Women’s friendship circles have always been immensely important,” says social researcher Hugh Mackay. “Women have relied on friends and neighbourhood relationships to help them bring up their children and keep their sanity.”

Whilst it may be too late to save my sanity – this definitely sounds like a great idea!  Studies show that talking to your friends lowers stress levels and is one of the key reasons why women live longer than men.

So it looks like you girls may be my only salvation!  Is anyone up for a date with me…and my hippo?

What techniques do you find help to alleviate your stress and anxiety?



Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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