Learn how real moms find peace when family life gets hectic.

"Comfort food is always calming—followed by yoga to combat the effects of too many calories."

"When life gets crazy, I make lists. By writing down what must get done, I can be sure nothing is overlooked. And it's satisfying to check things off."

"When I want to de-stress during the day, physical activity is best. I go for a walk or to the gym. Or I take a stroll with my best friend—it meets my physical and emotional needs at the same time."

"No matter what the weather, nature relaxes me. I take a walk outdoors or go in the backyard for self-imposed chill-out time."

"I studied karate a few years back, and the teachings of self-confidence, serenity, and being a better person come back to me when things are getting out of hand."

"I try to spend real quality time with each of my sons and my husband. We eat dinner as a family, and for those 30 to 45 minutes at the table, it's as if time has stopped."

"I'm a huge fan of pampering, self-indulgence, and hibernating. Since we don't have the budget for the traditional forms of indulgence (i.e., spa, shopping, a box of gourmet truffles), pampering means sleeping in and letting the kids make their own breakfast—even a meal of Pop-Tarts and Diet Pepsi. It's watching Real Housewives of Orange County rather than doing the 500 loads of laundry that are calling me, or eating ice cream for dinner and not feeling the slightest bit guilty. There's nothing wrong with listening to my own needs once in a while when life feels overwhelming."

"I come to a complete stop. All activities pause temporarily and I sit with my daughter or husband and just chat. Checking in with them helps me remember what's important. I ask what they need or want, and I let them know what I expect help with."

"I go back to my hometown to visit family and friends from childhood. It's a great way to clear my head and get away from it all."

"I take the kids out for a nice walk and maybe pick up a treat on the way back. Ice cream always puts us in a great mood!"

"While pedicures and manicures take me to a peaceful place, reading a good book and sharing my thoughts by writing them down are lighter on my budget."

"I head to the beach. Just the sound of the waves helps me restore peace."

FC Facts

—Whether it's sitting in the backyard or taking a brisk walk in the park, the number one place moms go to feel refreshed and renewed is outside, surrounded by nature.

—The top three people who help moms maintain their inner peace: Girlfriend, Mom, Husband

—71% of moms say religion plays a role in how they maintain balance.

—36% of moms don't have time to focus on themselves.

Originally published in the March 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.