Working full-time on top of parenting understandably causes a lot of stress for women. The double responsibilities of work and home can be a frantic and frazzled juggling act of meeting deadlines, scheduling children’s activities, what to put on the table for dinner, and much, much, more. It’s no wonder working moms sometimes feel like they’re coming unglued.
If this sounds like you, or the favorite woman in your life, read on to learn how Swedish massage and other tactics can help reduce stress and calm the chaos.
Benefits of Swedish massage
Massage is considered by many to be the ultimate in relaxation, but it is also widely recognized as an important healing technique. The health benefits of massage therapy are far-reaching; studies have shown that massage can be helpful with anxiety, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, headaches, insomnia, myofascial pain syndrome, and for our working moms who might be on the brink, stress.
Massage can decrease heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels (one of the hormones released in response to stress). Swedish massage, in particular, raises the levels of your “good” hormones, including serotonin, a calming hormone. The soothing combination of gliding, kneading, tapping, stretching, and cross-friction strokes that make up Swedish massage, relaxes the muscles and relieves built-up tension. This, in turn, helps clear the mind of anything that might be upsetting or stressful.
Another benefit of Swedish massage is its ability to help you sleep. Sleep, as we all know, is critical for resting and resetting the mind and body.
Other massage options
Depending on what the primary stressor is, other massage therapies might be worthwhile to consider. Maybe your relationship with your significant other needs some special attention? A couples massage is a great bonding experience. When you get a great massage, your body releases oxytocin, the “love hormone,” that fosters a sense of love and affection. No surprise here; one of the biggest benefits of a couple massage is increased affection.
A prenatal massage is another option for working mothers who are getting ready for an exciting, albeit somewhat stressful, a new addition to the family. This type of massage provides stress and pain relief.
Having a massage on the calendar to look forward to can help you stay the course during even the most stressful weeks. An impending hour of relaxation often serves as that much-needed “light at the end of the tunnel.”
Stress release alternatives
Work it out
A great way to truly close the door on a stressful workday is to go for a run, take a kickboxing class, or challenge yourself in the weight room. You will stress your body, but more importantly, you will free your mind. A clear mind, not a racing mind, is what helps diminish stress.
Not only will you feel less stressed once you’re done with your workout, but a regular exercise routine can stop stress from appearing in the first place. Physical activity has been proven to significantly reduce stress levels because the endorphin release during exercise creates good feelings that combat crippling stress. Bonus: hit the sauna or hot tub after your workout to help your muscles recover. That certainly sets the tone for an evening of relaxation.
Working moms, embrace the power of saying no and setting some healthy boundaries for your work, your personal life, and for your family. Boundaries are necessary for increasing happiness and decreasing stress. Boundaries can also help with setting priorities and figuring out what you really want to do versus what you feel obligated to do.
If booking another work commitment or volunteering on yet another school committee puts you into panic mode, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate. Find a way to gracefully bow out and then spend your time doing something you really want to do…whatever that may be.
Schedule me time
A “me-first” approach isn’t selfish. It’s actually a good preventive health practice to ensure working moms have the energy and stamina to effectively and efficiently fulfill their long list of responsibilities.
Run a bath – with bath salts that are said to promote relaxation – and tune out the world and all of its distractions. Get in bed and lose yourself in a book. Schedule a spa day. Stick to a guilt-free, uninterrupted block of time in order to recharge and be the best you can be.