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Sanity Saving Tips for Parents

Avoid the chaos this school season with our ABCs of self-care. We've got 26 ways to enter a more Zen state.

Let's face it: It's not just the kids who often dread the dawn of a new school year. For many parents (especially moms), fall is the advent of the busiest season of the year. From homework overload to afterschool activities, fundraisers and extra-credit projects, many a mom is run ragged come September. And then the holiday season kicks it all into high drive! But while children are learning their ABCs, moms can learn the ABCs of self-care to prevent becoming frazzled and stressed by juggling so many demands.

It's time to rethink the notion that you lack time for self-care. Amazing Zen can come from just 10 minutes and some simple attitude adjustments. Here are 26 quick ways to enter a more Zen state.

Ask

Ask for help. Let someone else be the giver for a change. It will make them feel better as well.

Breathe

Deepen your breathing. Consciously take a deep inhale and a deep exhale before you start any activity or conversation. Do this every time you're feeling extra anxious or overwhelmed, but also just in general throughout your day.

Cat (stretch!)

Stretch like a cat. Get down on all fours. As you exhale, round your back to the sky, drawing your chin to your chest, belly to your spine. Inhale back to your starting position and repeat several times.

Daily (move every day)

Move daily. Pick an activity you love and start doing it for 10 minutes each day. If you already move daily, add 10 additional minutes to your current routine.

Eat

Eat mindfully. Sit down to eat healthy, nourishing food. Really look at your food, taste your food and give thanks for your food. And go ahead and have that cookie every once in a while – just eat it with awareness and total appreciation.

Forgive

Forgive someone who has slighted you and move on. (Don't let that alpha mom's petty comments get under your skin!)

Giggle

Giggle. Call a friend who always makes you laugh. Read or watch something funny.

Hydrate

Hydrate by drinking more water and less juice, coffee and soda. A hydrated body is more energetic and alert.

Ignore

Ignore media for a day. No Facebook, no newspaper or television. How does it make you feel?

Journal

Start a success journal. Daily, jot at least one success you had – and periodically review your successes.

Kindness

Exercise kindness, starting with you. Treat yourself the way you treat your best friend, your partner and even your kids.

Love

Do something you love. Maybe it's bowling or reading or a long bubble bath. Make time for it – and don't feel bad for doing it.

Meditate

Meditate. Set a timer, sit comfortably (yes, a chair is fine) and just watch what thoughts arise in your mind. Don't judge; simply observe.

No

Say no to a request for your energy or time that you are not excited about.

Open

Open a spiritual or motivational book. Let the material soothe and buoy your soul.

PJs

Buy a pair of PJs that you love. Make sure your body feels cuddled and treasured wrapped in the fabric. Savor the feeling as you slip into them at bedtime.

Quit

Quit all electronics 30-60 minutes before bed. This should help you disconnect and improve the quality of your sleep.

React

Pause before you react. Will this be important in 10 minutes? In 10 months? Years?

Standard

Lower your standards. If you are feeling stressed, does the floor really need to be vacuumed today? Use that time for you.

Time Out

Commit to a regular time out with your partner, children or family members to re-establish your connection. No electronics, no distractions; just shared focus for 10 minutes.

Upside

Turn your world upside down and change your perspective. Learn to do the yoga pose down dog at yogajournal.com/poses.

Volunteer

Examine your volunteer commitments. Assess how much and how often is practical. Be open to taking a break or choosing a new focus. Do not simply replicate last year's schedule.

Walk

Take a walk. Start with 10 minutes. Reconnect with nature and yourself.

Extreme

Go extreme. What is the most decadent, delightful act you can think of? Now go do it.

Yellow

Add some yellow to your life. The color of the sun makes you cheerful and optimistic because your body releases more feel-good hormones when surrounded by yellow.

ZZZZs (sleep)

Catch more ZZZZs. Go to bed just 10 minutes earlier and see how that makes you feel.

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