I suppose it’s not hard for a mom of five kids who works outside the home, is responsible for all of the housekeeping, shopping, errands, appointments and extra activities, and run a blog and online shop to get stressed out from time to time. Sometimes I just start to feel like I can’t get it all done. I get that “overwhelmed” feeling.
Eventually, if I keep having that feeling, it leads to anxiety or worse, a splitting headache, nausea, and weakness. I just had to rest and try to let my brain “reset”. It’s hard to believe something like a little stress can leave you in pain and unable to function. Luckily, I have a loving partner who was able to handle everything for me that night (from dinner to helping with homework) and since I work with him during the day, give me the day off.
So, how could I have avoided this happening? If I would have remembered to do these five simple things, I would have been able to relieve some of the stress I was feeling.
1. Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew.
This is so much easier said than done. Don’t overschedule yourself. Allow plenty of time to get to appointments and to arrive at your destination. I get so stressed rushing to get kids to one place on time and leaving in time to pick up other kids. Don’t agree to participate in every event or volunteer for things you know you really don’t have time for. Delegate tasks to other members of the family. Even small children can help (and are usually the most willing). Time is more valuable than money. Spend it wisely.
2. Prepare Ahead Of Time
This is one of the easiest things that you can do to allow yourself a little breathing room. Plan ahead, gather everything you will need for a task the day before. For example, if you are going grocery shopping on Thursday, plan to spend some time on Wednesday preparing your meals, list, and coupons. If you have kids that need you to pick out their clothing (or at least approve their outfits), don’t wait until in the morning to find that skirt you had in mind has a stain in it or there is a hole in your son’s jeans or your daughter’s socks don’t match. If you are really organized, do laundry on the weekend and plan the week’s wardrobe on Sunday. If that is too large of a goal, have outfits (including shoes and accessories) ready to go the night before.
This is the best thing to do to relieve stress. Taking a daily walk or doing yoga regularly can help your body and mind to unwind. Reducing your everyday stress levels increases your ability to stay calm under pressure. I have been neglecting this one big time. I used to walk in the mornings and it was the perfect way to start the day. I would clear my thoughts and enjoy nature. I also exercised for thirty minutes or more at least three times a week. It gave me plenty of energy to get through my day. It helped me rest better at night too.
4. Take A Time Out
If you feel that you are about to explode, just step back from the situation. I used to go lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes. I did this to keep from beating my kids senseless or screaming my lungs out. If you are a mom, you know what I mean. If you are not able (if you have really small children) to step away, take a deep breath and try to say the alphabet backwards in your head. Visualize the most relaxing beach or comfy cabin you can and go there in your mind, just for a moment. Not doing this can often result in saying or doing things you regret. As parents we need to set an example of controlling our emotions for our children not of blowing up. Also, make sure to have some time for yourself everyday. Make it a priority, just as a meal would be.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Nearly a third of Americans are sleep deprived. This affects our health, well-being, performance, mood, everything! Don't stay up half the night working on that blog post. (Guilty!) You will be so much better in every way if you just get enough rest. Your mind and body need it. You are not a machine. If you do not sleep, you will eventually crash. Not to mention how cranky you will be. Did you know that lack of sleep increases the risk for a variety of illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. So, put all those tasks aside. Turn the TV, phone, and computer off and catch some ZZZs.
Whether you’re a full-time working mom or a stay-at-home mom, there’s a good chance you are stressed out. In fact, around 90% of all moms are. If you are a single mom, you certainly are. But, even those of us who are married still have most of the responsibilities for our household. It can be depressing, feeling like so much of the burden is on your shoulders. But there is nothing more rewarding than being a mom. Our families and children are a blessing and a gift from God. I believe God put women in this role simply because we are so strong. We sometimes forget about that. This is what we were made to do. Remember those beautiful little faces looking up at you. They are the real reason we do all that we do. Our children are precious and they don’t stay little long. Try to treasure these times, even if they are hard, even if they are so frustrating, because you will look back and miss it. You will wish you could get it back. These stressful times will be your “good old days”.
After I slept for nearly 18 hours (yes, seriously), I felt so refreshed and I felt so much love for my kids. I felt a peace I hadn’t felt in a while, just because I haven’t let myself. I was so busy taking care of everything else, I was neglecting myself. I promised myself then to make sure I did the things I needed to do for me to avoid feeling like that again. If you find yourself struggling with the same challenges, I urge you to do the same. Stress can accelerate the aging process, increase the likelihood that you’ll have depression, anxiety, headaches, obesity, diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and gastrointestinal problems. No one wants that. You can’t always change the things in your life that cause you stress. But you can change the way you deal with it.
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