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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Stress Management Tips For Busy Moms

By: sef123

The stress of a mother can be like that of no other. Everyone needs you and there are no days off. Theres no time clock where you can punch out and call it a day.

Stress is defined as the forces affecting you. And if you are a mother, the chances are there are lots of forces coming at you from many directions. You have a household to run, meals to prepare, kids to nurture and, in many cases, a job or career to attend to.
There are physical and mental reactions to stress. Physically, when you feel something stressing you, your nervous system takes over, flooding your body with stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. The hormones get your body ready to take action. Everything goes to work your heart beats faster, blood pressure goes up, breathing quickens and muscles tense up. These reactions are your bodys way to get you ready for whatever is coming your way. Its that old fight or flee mode setting in.
Stress also affects you mentally. The accumulation of stress can create anxiety, depression and burnout. You may have trouble sleeping or focusing on tasks. It may also cause behavioral issues that range from emotional outbursts to drug abuse to eating disorders. Unfortunately, these symptoms create problems that will cause even more stress. It is a vicious cycle that can be managed.

First, busy mothers need to take care of themselves. If you have any hope of avoiding the damaging side effects of stress you need to eat properly and get your sleep and exercise. Regular exercise will reduce stress hormones and serves as a natural antidepressant and sleep aid. Try to walk off your bad day. It relieves stress, helps you get fit and contributes to a good nights sleep.

You should also schedule your time so that breaks are a natural part of the day. Take a real lunch hour to catch up with friends and co-workers. Try not to talk about work, and focus on other things or aspects of life. You might even include a quick, brisk walk before heading back to your desk. And when the weekend rolls around, do not use both days to catch up on chores. Commit one day to catching up and one day or at least one afternoon to relaxing. And do not underestimate the value of taking a three-day weekend. That third day may be the best time to really make a dent on your to-do list.

Experts will also tell you to create and stick to a routine in your life. For example, do the cleaning on Saturday, laundry on Monday and Thursday, food shopping on Friday, etc. Stick to your schedule, as best as you can. This may not prevent surprises from coming your way, but at least your laundry will not be the surprise.

Also, when you know you have a busy week coming, plan for it. If you know dinner will be a major task because of an evening soccer practice and back-to-school night put something in the crockpot that morning or tell the kids they are having peanut butter and jelly for dinner. Everyone will survive one less than gourmet dinner.

If you can find the time, professional stress management training may also help you deal with your stress. It can teach you different ways to think about your life. For example, you may learn to optimize your schedule. If you are a morning person, you should start the day earlier than the rest of the family. You may learn to set priorities. Ask yourself what really needs to get done today the laundry or the bills? Youll learn to be more efficient in what you do like combining errands. The training might also include breathing exercises, meditation and learning to say no to the next request for your time or attention.

Both over the counter and prescription medicine can help with the symptoms of stress. The specific medication depends on the severity of the situation. While over-the-counter pain relievers can kill a tension headache, you may need drug therapy with prescription medications if the stress has evolved into depression. When in doubt, schedule a visit with your family doctor for an evaluation.

Finally, the best solution to dealing with stress may also be the easiest solution. Moms need a support system someone who will listen as you unload the days disasters and might even be willing to step in and lighten your load upon occasion. Motherhood is a wonderful calling in life, but it is not one that should be taken alone. If your spouse can fill that role, thats wonderful. But more than likely, it is going to be another mom who is facing the same trials and stresses youre facing. Make it a mutual relationship. Be there for each other and youll both survive the stress of motherhood.

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About the Author:
Barbara Delp is a freelance writer who writes about self improvement and stress management.

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