Not every stepmom has the same situation and dynamics that I do. However, one thing I think we can all agree on is that it’s not always easy to be the wife in a second marriage to a husband with kids from a previous relationship. There are times when you feel overwhelmed, hurt, emotionally drained, tired, you name it. Just recently I’ve had bio mom and mother-in-law conflicts. Double-whammy! There’s not much I can do about the way people feel, say, or think about me. So, what do I do when I’m not feeling the love? I put my energy into taking care of myself. Here’s what I use and do for a little stepmom relaxation and self-care:
Surround myself with relaxing scents
Peppermint and lavender are two scents that calm me instantly. When I need to decompress, I surround myself with products in my favorite scents. My favorite instant stress relief method is to use Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap in the bath or shower, with Bath and Body Works candles burning, and my favorite Spotify playlist in the background. I am literally sleeping-baby calm when that scent reaches my nose and that cool pepperminty tingle reaches my skin. I just started using Cremo Lavender Bliss shaving cream as well, which not only is the best shaving cream I’ve ever used, but the peppermint and lavender scents together are ultra soothing. The shaving cream is literally so smooth that I can even shave against the grain without getting cuts or razor burn…which is neither comfortable nor attractive!
Another technique is I keep a vase of flowers in the main room of our house. I prefer Stargazer Lilies! They are beautiful to look at, and the scent is strong and calming for me. You can obviously choose whichever flowers you enjoy the most.
I am not yet proficient in essential oils, but I do know that they work well for many people. I have a lavender face mist I take with me that instantly calms me, and the peppermint essential oil is an effective on-the-go anxiety reliever. I bring these two items with me when I travel because it also helps with any motion sickness or jet-lag lethargy.
Listen to my favorite music playlists
I am a big believer in music as therapy. I have Spotify playlists for all kinds of moods and purposes. One that I just recently started is the “Stepmom” playlist for a feisty boost of bad-assery on the days I feel like saying F* You. Warning: this one has its fair share of explicit content. Another one is, “Calm Stepmommy” for when I need to completely unplug and relax. For example, I have some music on the playlist from the modern violinist, Lindsey Stirling who mixes violin with dubstep and some other crazy stuff. It sounds super cool and peaceful at the same time! Click the links to see my Spotify playlists. Type me a comment below or DM me on Instagram (@traveling.stepmom) if you have song suggestions for me to add!
Netflix and Chill…with myself
Okay, get your mind out of the gutter. I’m talking about actually watching Netflix and relaxing ladies!
When I really need to unwind I throw on a TV series through one of my many video streaming services Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Vudu are my go-tos. Netflix always has a lot of amazing original series and movies they’ve created, including the new MindHunter series that my hubby and I are digging. Amazon Prime is great when looking for good, recent movies to stream or series that you can’t get on Netflix. Vudu is movie rental heaven for when you can’t get off of the couch to run to the corner Redbox. Plus, some of their movie rentals are only 99 cents! I curl up in my PJs, make me some nice peppermint tea or pumpkin spice coffee, and veeegggggg. The downside is my husband and stepkids will usually come home to find me in this vegetative state, and I tell them it’s not good for my skin to shower every day.
Force Myself to Exercise
Exercise is undeniably one of the best stress relievers and ways to feel good about yourself. Knowing this, I am not always the one to follow this and get my body moving. When I’m feeling motivated, I’ll head to my local gym for some HIIT classes.
For times when I need to force myself a bit more, I use my MindBody app on my iPhone to browse nearby classes that look fun enough that I’ll actually go to it! One day it’s Zumba, the next day Belly-dancing…I have yet to try strip aerobics, but that is surely on my bucket list.
When I have just spent the whole day Jabba-the-Hutting it as described in the previous section, I settle for taking the dog for a walk around the neighborhood just to get my blood flowing to my extremities before necrosis sets in.
Schedule a Massage
When all else fails, I bite the bullet and schedule a massage. There is nothing more indulgent than getting a 90-minute massage. Not only is your mind relieved of stress, but so are your muscles and nerves that harbor all the toxins, stress hormones, and tension you’ve harbored for god knows how long. Groupon always has the best deals for high-quality massages. You can also try a local massage training school if you are on a tight budget. Although hit and miss, they do a fairly good job and are more affordable. I haven’t tried it yet, but there is a new app called “Soothe”, where you can schedule massage therapists to come to you. Once I try it out, I’ll let you know!
Do you think Stepmom self-care is important? What do you do to take care of yourself? Let me know in comments.