If you can, write down the things that give you comfort and note the things that stress you out. For instance, you may be anxious that your credit card due dates are way later than your payday, making it hard to set aside payments. On the other hand, you could be facing fears for you and your children’s health and well-being amid the pandemic.
Apart from looking for ways to become comfortable or ease your stress, it can be useful to identify steps to manage the outcome. In reference to the issues mentioned earlier, you can save or set aside your card payments as soon as you receive your salary and avoid spending it. For the latter situation, you may ensure that you and your family follow the proper health protocols when going out, such as wearing masks and socially distancing.
- Being Organized
With almost everything needing their time and attention, it helps for moms to plan ahead and be organized. Most moms get worried that no matter what they do, they’re never enough. Oftentimes, they’re being judged for their parenting skills through their children and how they behave in public.
This is highly stressful, especially for mothers taking care of children who have special needs. If your child’s behavior is the greatest source of stress, identify their hot buttons, and seek the help of professionals for ways to effectively manage your kid’s tantrums.
Additionally, always make a checklist of what needs to be done and what items or tools you need in order to get things done. Advanced planning can help you avoid stressful situations from going overboard.
- Learning How to Say ‘No’
A mother is always willing to give her best and make her kids, partner, relatives, and colleagues happy. Wearing too many hats in most cases can also make you too afraid to refuse when necessary.
Realize that as a mother, you are entitled to set your own boundaries. Learning how to say no is a key component in stress reduction. You may be responsible for addressing your family’s needs but prioritize according to urgency and importance, so you don’t feel overwhelmed. If you can delegate tasks, pass them on to your partner or your older children.
- Spending Quality Time with Your Kids
Saying ‘no’ to other things will help you save more time and spend it with the most important people in your life—your kids and partner. Some toddlers act out because they don’t know how to properly express their desires. Hence, it’s vital to keep connected to your children and creating a safe space for them to speak without fear of being judged or reprimanded.
Apparently, there are five different ways in which you can express love. This is important if you want your kids and significant other to feel loved the right way. If you want to know your child’s love language, try reading The Five Love Languages by renowned author Dr. Gary Chapman.
- Teaching Your Children to Cope with Their Own Stress
A child’s experience during their formative years is a critical factor in shaping their future. Children learn a lot from their parents and primary caregivers. Parents who are handling stress poorly are likely to have children who wouldn’t know how to deal with life’s pressures. Your children’s social skills are developed at a young age, and they take cues from their parents.
Instead of showing your kids that you’re in severe distress, develop a strong family bond to help your children get along well and work out their differences on their own, even at a young age.
- Taking a Break
Oftentimes, a break is all you need to de-stress, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about needing one. Taking time to stop and think will help regain your sanity. You may have heard of moms locking themselves in the toilet just to have a much-needed break. You may have shared a laugh with friends about it. The fact remains, though, that every mom has to set aside time for herself to do a better job at mothering.
If you don’t want to waste time exercising alone, have your kids join you for a great bonding time. Hiking, biking, walking, and swimming with your family are a few of the great ways to de-stress and bond with your family at the same time.
- Acknowledging That Self-Care is Critical
If you feel exhausted, you lose the motivation and mental focus needed to perform your main responsibilities, whether as a mother, a partner, a friend, or an employee. Self-care is essential not only in keeping our sanity but in being able to give the best care for your loved ones. Simple things like eating a balanced meal, getting a sound sleep, and exercising can all contribute to your well-being.
Practicing the following relaxation techniques can also help:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Muscle relaxation
- Body scan meditation
- Practicing yoga and tai-chi
- Aromatherapy and music
Taking care of yourself, along with some stress-reducing tips from this blogpost, can help you do the things that need to be done in a more efficient manner.
- Limiting You and Your Kids’ Exposure to Social Media
It’s true that social media can negatively impact your mental health. Stress makes individuals think only of the negative matters. Some people are resigned to the idea that ‘the glass is half-empty’ and will assume the worst in everything.
It’s said that humans pay more attention to threats when they’re alarmed, upset, and angry. Such is the reason why stressed persons are impacted further with exposure to negative and upsetting content in various social media channels, especially when you don’t filter out what you see online.
- Seeking Appropriate Help
Being a mother may help you become a superhero in your child’s eyes. But even superheroes need help. If taking care of your kids is taking its toll on your physical and mental health, have a family member or a trusted friend step in to lend a hand. Leave your child for a few hours with them so you can get enough sleep or a much-needed break. You can also hire a trusted person to clean the house or cook for your family in order to ease the stress from your daily activities.
If you need more help, look for a support system to make you feel less alone. It can be your friends or a professional moms’ network. Sometimes, you need more help with chores. A well-established support group can help you with your mental and psychological struggles and may even connect you with professionals if the need arises.
What Causes Stress?
Anything that is new to a person, or something that they can’t control, is a potential cause for stress. Humans are, by nature, inclined to stay within their comfort zone. Anything that’s new, such as relocating to a new place, having your first baby, taking on a new job, or additional responsibilities at work, can all result in the activation of your flight-or-fight response.
These events may also cause a person or a mother to become stressed:
- Workplace stress
- Challenges in work-life balance
- Knowing that your child is being bullied
- Moving to a new house
- Managing a child who’s having tantrums in public
- Getting laid-off from a job
- Marriage breakdown
- Relationship problems
- Recent breakup
- Ongoing divorce
- Death in the family
- Family issues
- Financial difficulties
- Uncertain situations
A mother is fiercely protective of her family. Hence, a new experience, changes in the current situation, and anything that causes unpredictability will be highly stressful to her.
Signs That You Might Be Stressed
Stress is a response that has been present since the existence of man. Thousands of years ago, the flight-or-fight response was critical to human survival, being that it can help them face the dangers of predator attacks.
Humans react to stress through the autonomic nervous system (ANS) that produces stress hormones called adrenaline and cortisol. At the onset, these hormones trigger your body to experience increased heart rates, boosting blood circulation towards the vital organs and muscles so that the body can respond immediately. This aptly describes the flight-or-fight response, referring to the action that an individual wishes to take to overcome the danger or threat.
These days, humans are no longer faced with clear and present danger from predators but from major life challenges. Watch out for these physical signs of stress, which are mainly related to the body’s flight-or-fight response:
- Muscle tension
- Chest pain
- Stomach problems
- Adrenaline rush
- Increased heart rate
- Faster breathing
Mentally, stress can lead you to have the following mood changes:
- Anxiety – is described as a feeling of impending doom or a feeling that you can’t get out of a certain predicament or dilemma
- Restlessness – the inability to keep still because of worrying over everything and anything
- Lack of motivation or focus – inability to physically and mentally concentrate, which may lead to accidents and low productivity levels
- Feeling overwhelmed – common to moms who have too many things on their plate
- Irritability – a short fuse can make you unreasonably mad at other persons, especially your children and colleagues
- Sadness or depression – this can sometimes manifest as not wanting to get out of bed or no longer enjoying the things that you love
It can also result in behavioral changes, such as:
- Overeating – some people find solace in eating too much in order to feel good
- Loss of appetite – others don’t feel like eating because of an increase of cortisol or the stress hormones in their bodies
- Angry outbursts – because of mental imbalance, stressed moms are prone to mood swings and severe irritability
- Substance misuse – like overeating, some people resort to drugs, tobacco, and alcohol to feel good temporarily
- Social withdrawal – a sense of doom, and loss of motivation can lead a stressed person to build a wall that may be hard to break
- Sleep problems – having problems dozing off is one of the ways in which stress can manifest itself.
The Dangers of Chronic and Unmanaged Stress
While short-term stress can help you handle some situations better, chronic stress may pose risks if left unmanaged.
For instance, as stress can result in high blood pressure and a faster heartbeat and respiratory rates, it can overwork your heart and lungs. Over time, it can increase your adrenaline and cortisol productions to unreasonable levels, making you lose sleep and weaken your immune system.
The body’s flight-or-fight reaction to stress can reduce inflammation and white blood cell production. With a weak immune system and sleep deprivation, you’ll be more susceptible to serious illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, and other cardiovascular diseases.
Apart from making sure that they’re in control of family and work matters, mothers are equally responsible for taking care of themselves. These stress-management tips will hopefully benefit them in both short and long-term stress relief.