Today I am sharing another guest post by Lucy Wyndham about “De-Stressing Tips for Moms.”
The holidays can be a particularly stressful time of year for many mothers. The combination of shorter daylight hours, more obligations and get-togethers, financial stress if you cannot afford to give your children the Christmas they deserve, and the never-ending battle of trying to childproof the Christmas decorations from your two toddlers (at least in my case) combines to create a perfect storm of stress. Read on to see how Lucy recommends that stressed out moms like me combat stress.
De-Stressing Tips for Moms
Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or you combine work with home duties and raising children, you probably know that ‘stress’ at this point in life is very different from what it used to be when you were in your 20s (or indeed, any time before having kids). Stress, and even depression, often arises from a sense of being overwhelmed by conflicting duties – e.g. keeping the home tidy while ensuring Johnny doesn’t miss a single session of football practice (never mind that football is a 20-minute drive from Missy’s ballet lesson, which happens to coincide). Money can also big a big bugbear for single parents or households where only one spouse earns a salary; even when finances are sorted, personal problems can sometimes get in the way of peace and force us to face stress in a more productive way.
Stress is Physical and Mental
We often think of stress as a mainly mental malaise, but it can also arise from physical problems, such as not getting enough sleep, and leading a sedentary lifestyle. Ellen and Oprah are addictive, and while enjoying our favorite programs is far from sinful, it helps to view them as a treat, earned after doing our body good with regular physical activity. ‘Sitting is the new smoking’ is a motto for the millennium, with studies showing that prolonged inactivity can lead to everything from heart disease to obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Remove stress from your body and you will find that your mind also benefits enormously.
Spiritual Antidotes to Stress
Regardless of whether you practice a specific religion, or you simply like to connect with something greater than yourself, spirituality has been shown in various studies, to lead to a happier state. Positive effects result from being part of a community; connecting with others who have shared interests and receiving crucial support. Additional benefits come from the mindfulness that spiritual activities such as yoga or meditation, can achieve. Mindfulness, or ‘being in the present moment’ is a powerful buster of stress hormone, cortisol. It is a state in which we are keenly aware of our sensations, thoughts and feelings. In this state, we are able to honor our positive and negative emotions, yet obtain a healthy distance so we do not become overwhelmed by negativity, worry, guilt, shame and other unproductive feelings. To enhance spirituality, head for natural surroundings. Spending time in a lush forest, tranquil lakeside or toasty beach will help you achieve a mindful state far quicker and more intensely than indoor meditation or yoga could ever do.
Dealing with Anger Productively
The greatest sources of stress are often strained relationships with others. It is important to hone our conflict resolution skills, so we can learn to disagree with a view to truly solving issues (rather than simply being right). A highly recommended book is Dr. Harriet Lerner’s The Dance of Anger – a classic at using anger to make important changes in relationships by focusing on ourselves instead of others. Part of dealing with relationship stress involves accepting that we can never truly change others, but we can do plenty to change ourselves and make a big difference to our lives.
There are many ways to deal with stress, and while each of us has a system that works, exercise, mindfulness based activities and positive conflict resolution skills can go a long way towards knocking down life’s biggest obstacles.