Close your eyes and listen. Really listen. What can you hear? And how does it make you feel? If it’s peaceful, then you’re likely to feel calm, but if the noise level is high – and you can’t control it – then it could be causing you stress.
As mothers, we accept our babies will cry; crying is instinctive and natural. But it can come as a shock that as they get older, they seem to get louder. And left unchecked this noise can reach an ear-splitting crescendo as everyone tries to yell above the next person and the ambient sound becomes equivalent to fireworks at a Grand Prix…
It’s no wonder most of us begin to lose our hearing by the time we become grandparents!
And it’s not just the volume, it’s the fact that it’s never-ending. Whether it’s the constant stream of questions from your two-year-old, the dinosaur impressions from your pre-schooler or the games being played by your tween…
According to Victorian-based Dr Leon Massage, it’s this constant and chronic noise that’s the problem. If we’re unable to do anything about it, it eventually produces our bodies to release adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol – stress hormones which can accumulate and eventually lead to issues such as headaches, weight gain or disease.
So how do you manage it? Dr Massage says: ‘There has to be a certain level of acceptance.’ He adds: ‘Mums need to put certain patterns into play so they learn to control the situation. And find ways to alleviate the stresses.’ He advises going for a run or hitting a punch bag, which both help release pent up emotions and those stress chemicals.
He also suggests spending twenty minutes a day alone, perhaps going for a walk, doing a meditation or listening to relaxing music.
Over the years, I’ve come to accept my noisy household by learning to lower my voice instead of raising it, and to encourage my children to appreciate those (rare) quiet times at home.
As a yoga teacher, I listen to relaxation CDs or simply take long, slow, deep breaths and focus on sending my exhalation to any areas of tension in my body. As I breathe out I feel any tightness gradually soften and release. It takes just a few breaths to let go of all that noise – ahhh!
One practise which helps to calm both Mum and Bub is Bhramari breathing… also known as the buzzing bee breath.
To start, hold your baby close to you or sit beside one another. Place your index fingers over the flaps of your ears. Relax your face and jaw. Inhale and exhale through your nostrils. After inhaling, keep your lips together but separate your teeth and with a steady release of your breath, produce a humming sound like a buzzing bee. It is best to close your eyes, but not always be practical with your baby around!
Another option is to cuddle your baby, close your eyes and practise the breath. This gentle, soporific sound can help calm you both, leaving you relaxed and content.