Hey Mama, are you feeling Tired? Frustrated? Upset? Overwhelmed? Me too! Over time, stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to a domino effect of health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Let’s discuss how we can manage stress through motherhood!
Recently I stumbled across a study that said, the relationship between parents and their kids is dependent on the parent’s ability to manage stress. This study further concluded that interventions for taking care of ourselves by managing stress are good for both your mental and physical well-being. This makes sense since our kids observe and imitate our daily actions. As a mother, this was a hard pill for me to swallow and I had to let this marinate in my head for a bit.
Managing stress is easier said than done because when it comes to stress we tend to act impulsively. We are in the moment, our blood is rising, we just cannot hear one more complaint or whining, therefore we explode!
Whether you are a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, you may have found yourself with worry and face external and internal pressures each day. And even though some stress can be positive, chronic stress can have some negative effects. Today, I want to share with you my top 5 tips for stress management.
1.) Recognize what triggers your stress and create streamlined routines
Stress symptoms can affect the body, thoughts, feelings, and behavior. In stressful situations, we notice our blood pressure rising, our heart rate increases, we might even feel our chest pounding or feel dizzy. This is why it is so important to be able to recognize common stress symptoms so that you can manage them.
Typically, after 4 pm, I feel like I need to take a step back because both my kids and I are all tired. Can you imagine what kids must feel the moment we react to our stress? They are just innocent bystanders!
So if a lack of planning overwhelms you and causes you to stress, we can plan and prepare for those moments. For example, meal prepping for the week so you don’t need to think about what you and your family will eat and can be more time-effective for you and your family. Something as simple as setting your clothes aside for you and your children the night before could be another way to prep and not stress. This will also give your more stress-free time in the AM with your kids.
2.) Just BREATHE… it’s okay to take breaks and schedule your “me time!”
Breathing takes part in every function of our body!
This is probably not what you would want to hear, but breathing does wonders and can really help during stressful situations. Generally, this is what we recommend our children do when they are upset, so why do we overlook it when it comes to ourselves?
Breathing techniques have been proven to relax our whole being and give us a greater perspective so that we are better equipped to handle life’s challenges. Deep abdominal breathing, progressive relaxation techniques, meditation, and prayer are all helpful for giving yourself that quick self-focus to get the recharge you need before facing those challenges.
Need to put yourself in a “timeout”?
If you are feeling stressed, it is completely recommended for the sake of your mental health and sanity to take breaks. As long as your kids are safe, give yourself a moment by going somewhere by yourself for just 5 or 10 minutes. You will find that when you give yourself this time, you can reconnect with your family and tackle tasks with an open & positive mindset.
3.) Work from the list: Brain Dump Method
Sometimes the thing we are stressed about are the overwhelming tasks we have assigned ourselves that day. The brain dump method is when you write down a list of all that you need to accomplish so you are relieving your brain from holding on to that information.
One by one, you then can assess what is most important to least important to get done that day. I suggest accomplishing 3-5 tasks that absolutely must get done that day, and see if you can carry on the rest of the list and spread the tasks throughout the week.
Once you have completed the top three-five things on your list, then you are done for the day. Do NOT add any more tasks! Give yourself time to appreciate your accomplishments for the day, and allow time for you to relax. If you continue to add to your plate you will continue to feel overwhelmed and add to your stress.
4.) Exercise & Nutrition
Exercise is one of the best ways to successfully change your physiological state both physically and mentally. It’s an incredible stress-reliever and an excellent tool to lift your mood! Exercise has become one of my favorite ways to establish “me time.”
Consider scheduling exercise into your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth. If you are unable to get to a gym, remember there are at-home fitness options too! With the flexibility of exercising from home, you can even fit it within the empty pockets in your day or even during nap time or lunch hours.
New to exercise? Don’t overcomplicate it! You can go out for a walk, include your kids in your activity, or even play some music and have a dance party.
Just like exercise, proper nutrition has the power to fuel your body, increase energy, and make you feel good about yourself. Stay away from sugary snacks like cakes, candies, and cookies.
When we are feeling tired and stressed, it is so easy to reach for unhealthy, pre-packaged snacks. Instead, have water and healthy snacks available at all times. Try to eat something every 2-4hrs., select low calories snacks such as string cheese, fruits, and veggies.
5.) Progress > Perfection: Connect with other parents
This is my most favorite! Connecting with other moms can be extremely beneficial. You realize you are not alone in your feelings, and that your feelings are valid. Being able to share ideas, gain feedback, or vent with someone who knows where you are coming from can be so beneficial.
Being able to unload your feelings will help you alleviate the stress you are carrying on your shoulders. Knowing there is a community offering you support, and realizing you are not alone with your feelings, will help you feel like you can conquer the day!
Seek professional advice
Talk to your healthcare provider or seek a professional counselor or therapist who can help you identify sources of your stress and learn new coping tools.
Get emergency help immediately if you have chest pain, especially if you also have shortness of breath, jaw or back pain, pain radiating into your shoulder and arm, sweating, dizziness, or nausea. These may be warning signs of a heart attack and not simply stress symptoms.
Bonus: If all else fails….Don’t forget to LAUGH!
That’s right! Never underestimate the power of a good laugh. Laughter, especially a good belly laugh with the kids, can help diffuse stressful situations. Studies have shown we hold a lot of tension in our faces, neck, and shoulders. A good laugh can help to release that and make us forget about all the things we stressed about before.
Don’t let stress interfere with the joys of motherhood!
Use the above techniques to help you manage the stressful moments of parenting. The more you practice these steps the better you will be able to handle sibling rivalry, objections to your cooking, and other parenting challenges with calm and grace.
And please remember you always have a community of moms happy to support you here at Miami Mom Collective!
Stay well mamas and happy parenting, xo