HOW TO SLAY STRESS AND INVITE JOY INTO YOUR LIFE
Ever had a tension headache caused by stress?
You know the kind where the pain karate chops you between the eyes?
Maybe it’s caused by a shameful secret – you want to run away
from home …… it’s the only way to regain your sanity.
You’re a stay at home mom and you want to escape the kids’ constant whining. The stressful, lonely cycle of kiddie talk, cleaning, laundry, cooking.
But, you can’t. So you fantasize.
Of one hour to do nothing. Of one afternoon without tiny, needy hands clutching at you. Of one night of coma-like sleep.
But what if I told you that you can turn your fantasy into reality.
That you can cancel the pressure and rewire your life for happiness.
You can free yourself from stress and get your mommy mojo back.
This post tackles:
- 1. What stress is
- 2. How the body reacts to stress
- 3. Signs of stress
- 4. Early Morning self-care
- 5. How sleep helps with stress
- 6. Exercise to destress
Ready? Let’s get to it then.
WHAT IS STRESS
This is what I think stress is for a stay at home mom.
Imagine carrying a load that is 3 times your body weight. It has been torturous to bear. You’ve stumbled beneath its weight and borne it for a long time.
But you’ve now reached a state of near collapse and you need this heavy, painful burden to be lifted. Or else ….. you will self-destruct.
You simply can’t take any more.
Is this what you’re feeling?
WHAT STRESS DOES TO YOUR BODY
This extract from an infographic on stress illustrates the effect of stress on the body in a dangerous situation.
See, your body enters into a fight or flee mode to help you to protect yourself – you fight the threat or you flee it.
Imagine the difficulty of dealing with regular demands if your mind and body are walking a constant tightrope.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF STRESS
Troubling picture, isn’t it?
Now, let’s plot a route to kick the stressors out the door for good. I’ll walk you through the process in this post.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRESS TRIGGERS
To free yourself from the tentacles of stress, you need to first identify your triggers.
- • Pick out 3 times in the day when you feel stressed
• What activity is the cause of your tension?
- • Describe your feelings.
For example, you may find mornings a nightmare- kids not up on time, fuss about breakfast, delay with dressing and sorting things out for school. You lose your cool every morning.
– Do you feel worried that they will be late for school?
– Are you overcome by a raging anger every morning?
– Is your heading pounding with the effort of keeping it together?
What you are doing here is a kind of stocktaking of all your stressors. Once, you’ve got a list of the stuff that winds you up, you can get to work to deal with them.
Here are a few surprising simple things to do to start the process to cut stress from your life.
CRUSH STRESS BY NURTURING YOUR SOUL
For starters, take time to care for your bruised spirit.
I know what you’re thinking. There are only 24 hours in the day. So where will you find the time? Right?
Actually, you have to make the time. Get up an hour earlier to carve out some time for yourself.
Leo Babauta, in a post on 10 Benefits of rising Early and how to do it wrote:
The early morning hours are so peaceful, so quiet. It’s my favorite time of day. I truly enjoy that time of peace, that time to myself, when I can think, when I can read, when I can breathe.
You’re thinking you’ll be too tired to get up earlier.
Here’s the thing, if you want to be a happy mommy, you have to take care of yourself first.
What to do:
Start a simple me – time ritual to charge yourself for the day.
- • Deep breathing
- • Light stretching – simple yoga
- • A cup of coffee in the garden
- • Read a motivational/spiritual book
- • Listen to your favorite hymn/piece of music
Cameron Diaz wrote on the benefits of prioritizing yourself in The Body Book:
You will laugh with your kids more often than you snap at them…… You will smile more. Enjoy your days more. Even the “ must do’s ” of life seem less daunting.
Seems to me, this simple step will smooth the way to a stress – free day. So why not try it?
NOURISH YOUR BODY TO BE STRESS-FREE
Right, now you have to get your body into gear so you can move from exhausted to energized.
Focus on just 3 things:
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Ever punished your kids for tying their shoelaces wrong or messing the table with cookie crumbs?
Found yourself flooded with guilt after that? Because you know the real reason – drop down dead exhaustion from sleeplessness and endless chores.
The National Sleep Foundation states that sleep is vital to your mental health and physical well – being.
Not getting good sleep regularly causes fatigue, irritability, and moodiness. This strains your relationship with loved ones when your take your fatigue – fuelled anger out on them.
Studies carried out by The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute show that a lack of sleep changes activity in parts of the brain that are used in problem-solving.
This explains why you find yourself unable to cope with the demands of taking care of the kids, cooking, and housework. The overload stresses you out which takes its toll on your mental and physical health.
SET UP A HEALTHY SLEEP ROUTINE
- 1. Go to bed at the same time every day.
- 2. Avoid coffee and tech of all kind as they are stimulants
- 3. Make the bedroom conducive to sleep
- 4. Read an inspirational book, listen to calming music to prepare for sleep
HOW YOUR DIET HELPS TO CRUSH STRESS
- Research is also clear that a daily increase in fresh fruit and veggies is a sure – fire way to good health.
- A balanced diet gives your body the fuel it needs to cope leaving you confident in your ability to take on any challenge. Click To Tweet
STRESS BUSTING FOOD
- What you eat is especially important to fight stress. Some foods have superman powers to help you in your battle with stress.
- Jen of cosyfruits.com explains the mood enhancing properties of oatmeal, dark chocolate and cashews here.
- Watch this video by Barbara Mendez, a nutritionist, who expands on foods that have a calming effect on the mind and body.
So cut the junk and stock up on the good stuff and say bye bye to stress.
To help you get your destress diet going, see below a 6 – day meal created by Eva of evainterrupted.com.
Now that you know all about self – care, sleep, and diet let’s move into getting your body into great shape.
EXERCISE TO REDUCE STRESS
I know …. you don’t have the time or energy to think never mind exercise.
A good exercise program is a must to perk and change your mindset.
The Mayo Clinic states that exercise helps to curb stress and anxiety.
HOW EXERCISE FIGHTS STRESS
Have you ever found yourself in a good mood after walking the dogs?
Funny, isn’t it? When you exercise regularly, you function better.
Regular activity gives you more energy which boosts your confidence. The result is a greater sense of self-worth.
Makes you feel you can meet any challenge head-on.
TYPES OF EXERCISE TO RELIEVE STRESS
Start by taking a walk. This is an immediate mood booster. Chatting with a neighbor or taking in the splendor of roses in the park shifts the focus away from yourself and your issues.
Build exercise into your daily routine. Do simple things at first to make it a routine. For example, walking the dogs daily.
This is another good habit to grow. Weeding, turning over the soil, planting and watering plants give you a sense of purpose and joy.
Just the sight of a flowering pot of begonias you nurtured is enough to cancel all your cares.
If you think yoga is only for ashram types, you’re dead wrong.
Anna Coventry, a fellow stressee, discusses the numerous advantages of yoga in 6 Ways Yoga Can Help You Reduce Stress | DOYOUYOGA.
- • Removes tension in the body.
- • Calms both mind and body
- • Stills the stressed mind
- • Teaches good breathing
• Balances moods
Here’s an example of 4 yoga poses taken from an infographic. They are just the thing you need when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
You may be, though, so fueled by anger and frustration that you need more vigorous activities.
Good ideas are Kickboxing, boxing, running, basketball – anything that gets the heart rate up and causes you to break into a sweat.
Group exercises like cycling, aerobics, and rowing are also great. The added bonus is the company of like-minded people working to improve their fitness levels.
The result for you is meeting new people, finding a new interest and working on a calm mindset.
Any form of physical activity produces endorphins, the feel-good hormone, in the body. So after a workout, you feel like you’re riding the crest of a wave and that nothing is impossible.
A regular fitness routine transforms your life filling it with positivity and happiness.
So, moms, there’s no need to stay in zombie fantasy mode.
No need to yearn for me and free time.
You can make your life zoom from dull and dreary to brisk and bouncy in no time at all.
Stress reducing steps to take:
1. Prioritize yourself.
2. Start a me – time morning ritual.
3. Ensure that you get good quality sleep.
4. Improve your diet with stress-relieving foods.
5. Get rid of stress with daily exercise.
Do you have any tips to share to help stay at home moms avoid burn out?
Leave a comment below.
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