How Working Moms Should Really Spend Their Weekends If They Want to Get Ahead

working mom stress and decompressMost working moms feel stressed to some degree. No matter how hard they try, often there still doesn't seem to be enough time to take care of everything. From kids and partners to housework and "me time," someone or something typically gets overlooked. Thankfully, you can use your downtime to minimize the stress of the upcoming week.

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Work-Life Balance expert Mary LoVerde, author of The Invitation: When You're Ready to Take Your Next Step, shared her strategies for decompressing on weekends, which can be the best way to restore your peace of mind and prepare for the busy week ahead at the same time. 

"I believe our stress comes from feeling disconnected from something that is important to us," LoVerde explains. "And the only known antidote to disconnection is connection. So, the best way to lessen your stress all week is to do things that reconnect you on the weekend with what makes you feel good."

The following are LoVerde's suggestions for de-stressing: 

1. Give Yourself a Time-Out

LoVerde says chances are you haven't stopped moving all week and you're exhausted. Rather than attempt to power through, take a well-deserved break. Hey, some of the greatest teachers of all time retreated to mountaintops and deserts to meditate and rest, she points out.

"They did not make a long to-do list so they could 'get it all done,'" LoVerde says. "They got still."

She's so right. Though it might feel like you're getting organized, sometimes just looking at all you have to do when it's written down on paper can escalate your panic. 

More from The Stir: 5 Ways to Get Work-Life Balance When It Seems Impossible 

2. Get Some Sleep

"Giving your brain the rest it needs to function is the very best thing you can do to feel less stressed next week," LoVerde notes. "Science shows that sleep deprivation impairs our cognitive and physical abilities even more than being drunk does."

Though you might feel guilty hitting the hay early or taking a power nap, don't!

"This one act will allow your body to repair damaged genes; reset your metabolism, so you can [be a healthy] weight; improve your memory; and keep depression and crankiness at bay," LoVerde says. "You will begin your week much better prepared to handle whatever life throws at you."

It's so true. When you're well rested, you feel like you can conquer anything.

3. Create a Weekend Ritual

LoVerde suggests establishing a ritual that allows you to reconnect on the weekend. "For example, maybe every Saturday morning you spend 20 minutes of undivided, technology-free time cuddling on the sofa with your kids or spouse or pet reading a book or watching something you all enjoy," she explains. "I know a family whose ritual is Daddy Donut Sunday. He takes all the kids out to the same specialty donut place, and Mom stays home and has a little bit of precious time to herself."

Can we nominate that guy for Dad of the Year!? But, seriously, having a few moments alone to get your bearings can give you the patience you'll need to greet the day feeling refreshed. 

"Meaningful rituals also give us the predictability and stability that make us feel safer and more connected in what feels like a very unpredictable and unstable world," LoVerde says. "When stressful times pop up during the week, you can say to your child, 'I know, I wish I could skip the meeting and tuck you in tonight, but it’s just two more days until we get to cuddle and watch your favorite show together.'" 

More from The Stir: The Best Ways to Cope With a Panic Attack -- According to Moms Who've Been There

4. Make Time for Friends

Having a supportive community is a scientifically proven strategy for a less stressful life, says LoVerde. But what if you feel like you have no time to hang?

"Hook up with a friend and do something that has more than one benefit," she suggests. "Go for a run together. You will run farther with a partner. Or, get a manicure -- a little bit of self-nurturing goes a long way. Volunteer for a charity event together. Volunteering boosts your immune system."

If you've been out all week and want to be home with family, consider inviting a few friends over to prepare some meals for next week. LoVerde explains, "The prep will go faster, you will laugh and share ideas, and you’ll all feel less stressed come Wednesday night, because a delicious dinner is just one step away from the freezer."

5. Reconsider Your Systems

If you feel like each workday contains a Groundhog Day element in which you're reliving the same annoying issues over and over again, consider evaluating your systems by holding a casual family meeting, where you ask, "What are the bottlenecks that cause stress during the week?"

Maybe your closet is full of things that do not fit, need repair, or still have shoulder pads from the 1990s, so every morning, you waste time struggling with "I have nothing to wear." So, maybe spend Sunday afternoon reorganizing the closet to minimize stress and make for more time to spare on Monday morning.

Or if you have a child who's never quite ready on time, causing you to start each day like a screaming lunatic, LoVerde suggests putting little jars in the garage and giving everyone who is ready on time a quarter to put in it each day. Instant motivation!

While it isn't always easy to come up with strategies to de-stress, it's well worth it to take the time and figure out what might simplify your hectic work week. You and your family will be better for it! 

 

Image via GladskikhTatiana/Shutterstock 

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