Ten one minute ways to reduce mama stress (part 2)

Welcome back to our second post full of ideas for one minute activities to help you towards being a chilled-out, capable, mama me-time loving mama.

Yes, this is a list for when you can't work out how on earth to fit any me-time into your busy mama life. 

For when you feel like your 'to do' list is more important than you are. 

For when you feel that whatever you do, you aren't 'good enough'.

Because you don't have to feel like that. You can make more time for you.

You just need an initial challenge so small that it feels possible. 

To help you get started, we’ve come up with a pick and mix list of activities that will help you feel more positive and less stressed in just one minute.

Even better, if you just can't find one minute to be alone right now - you can encourage your kids to try these alongside you.

For the first five one minute activities, see part one. Read on for numbers 6 to 10.


Earn tickets for a movie night: family cleaning and play day parenting tip from Story of Mum

6. Tidy up: try a 'speed declutter' or a 'bonsai tidy'

Speed Declutter: What’s the biggest irritant in your immediate eye-line right now that you could clear in one minute?

Just identify one quick task and complete it. Some favourite one minute declutters of mine are: throwing all the toys into a corner, piling up the books into a neat pile, clearing everything off the stairs, lining up the items on a cluttered mantelpiece, or picking up all the clothes and throwing them in the wash...

(Setting a timer, and making it a race is also a great way to get younger kids involved in a speed declutter alongside you…)

Bonsai Tidy: Alternatively, you could try a miniature tidy. Choose a little spot in your house, (literally just 5 centimetres square or so). Then lavish one minute of love on that area, making it as clean and beautifully arranged as possible: a little bonsai-sized oasis of calm amongst the chaos.

For extra bonus points: combine your decluttering with yesterday's 'stress busting singalong' and wiggle while you work with 'a front room disco' on the go, and you've probably got the ultimate use of one minute to soothe your tired mama soul!

Why: decluttering creates mental and physical space, allowing us to focus better, and it helps us to feel less physically and emotionally stressed. Really focusing on a tiny space allows us to practice concentration and focus, and lavishing love on our home. Plus, seeing our success can also spur us on to do a little bit more, a domino declutter effect…


7.  Read a story, (or a blog post, or an article, or a poem...)

OK, you're ahead of the game on this one!  But don't let that stop you taking a minute to read something else.

Having just one minute for a story certainly focuses the mind.

There’s no time to scroll through facebook looking for an interesting link (we can lose hours doing that...).

Instead, this one minute activity is about picking up a favourite book to read just one page, finding a poem you love and reading that, clicking straight through to a blogger or magazine or newspaper whose work you love (one of my favourites on the right...!). 

You can even read a story you love to your kids.

Instead of filling your brain with whatever appears in your feed, you're filling it intentionally.

Why: Reading helps to keep our brains active, improve our confidence and self esteem, aid sleep and reduces feelings of loneliness. And stories, well, stories are everything. But my love for stories is a story for another day...


“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
Phillip Pullman



image copyright Anna Lewis Sketchy Muma

8. Appreciate some art 

It doesn't have to be a visit to a gallery. Although of course it can be.

This can simply be a minute spent looking at any image that you love.

I love taking a peek at the latest creations by Sketchy Muma (that's one of hers on the left), Doodle Mum, Hurrah for Gin or one of the many other inspiring mamas who capture hilarious and heart-warming moments from motherhood.   

Maybe you have a photographer whose images you always appreciate, a favourite painter, or another kind of artist whose work you love.

Give yourself a moment to pause and really look at something they've created. Notice how it makes you feel, and the thoughts it provokes in you.

Why: from cave art to museums, art has helped us to understand the world better. Taking a moment to look at a piece of art and noticing its impact on us also involves lots of creative brain processing, which helps us to feel less mentally fatigued, improves our critical thinking skills, and makes us more tolerant.


You are loved. You are OK. You are good enough. Coaching for mums, coaching for women, life support for mamas, with Story of Mum.

9. Express your gratitude to someone

Text someone you love to thank them for something they bring to your life.

Take a moment to leave a love note on the fridge. 

You can practice saying thank you in tiny moments too. Next time you feel the urge to say sorry (especially if you're British, as we tend to say sorry about 100 times a day), try saying thank you instead.

For example, when someone steps out of your way - instead of saying sorry for being in their way, say thank you to them for moving out of yours.

Why: Practicing gratitude regularly has all sorts of health-boosting effects, it makes us feel more positive, forgiving and generous, helps us to stay present, gives us a stronger sense of self worth, and improves our relationships.


Self care for mothers who want to change the world, overcoming exhaustion, help for stressed mums, support to change my life, how to look after myself better

10. Stand outside and feel the weather 

Open your front door and stand on the front step, or just outside your door.

Feel the sun on your face, or the cold air on your hands, maybe even the rain on your skin.

Notice the weather. Notice the season. Notice birds passing, or clouds moving, or the colour of the sky.

And be reminded that just like the weather, everything passes.

Why: getting outside is good for us, easing depression, putting our challenges into perspective, and helping us to feel connected to something bigger than ourselves. It also strengthens our immunity.


"You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather."
Pema Chodron



Have a go right now

Well, you’re nearly at the end of today’s post, so now’s the time to choose which one minute activity you’re going to try first (or next!) 

You're here, reading this. That means you've got a spare minute. So give yourself one more.

And when you’ve managed a minute of me-time from the list above (or the list from yesterday), see if you can stretch it out again, and give yourself yet one minute more. Work your way up to five minutes of me-time for yourself. 

Why? Because small steps can make a big difference. When we build up our me-time moments incrementally, each stage feels achievable. We’re more likely to stick at it, and we'll slowly find ourselves making much more space in our lives.

For some more inspiration, here's a little video about why mamas need me-time that I made from my bed. In this, I talk about our Five a Day ecourse (you can now access this any time), and my love for Ryan Gosling. And naturally, it includes my mistakes to make you smile...

Five A Day



Welcome to Mamas' Everyday Retreat, a private facebook group to support mothers from story of mum

Your next step

Now you've tried some one minute me-time moments, do you want more?

Or are you still finding it hard to get started on claiming that tiny bit of me-time, and you'd like some more encouragement?

If so, come and join us over in Mamas' Everyday Retreat, our free facebook group for mamas: It's a safe kind space for mamas to connect and support each other. So expect lots of encouragement to make time for yourself, compassionate conversation, gentle motivation, and surprise treats. Just request to join and we'll add you as soon as we can.

Why? Trying to make a positive change alongside others provides social connection and reminds you that you’re not alone. It also provides vital accountability (checking in with other mamas as you all work on making more time for you) that keeps you motivated and engaged in the task at hand, helps you to notice and celebrate your successes - which in turn, spurs you on even further.

Let us know how you got on below.

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