Did you ever think of STRESS as a toxin? The CDC actually found that stress can affect us on a physiological level, our heart rate, even our hormones. If we don’t manage the stress short term, it can impact our health long term. Different seasons bring varied stresses and the daily demands of moms and dads never change. There is no doubt that moms in particular have more pressure on them today than ever before. (ok dad’s do too, and most of these things apply to the guys out there as well!) Working moms, homeschooling moms and stay at home moms have endless responsibilities. Moms, you are highly valued! I know it is easy to lose sight of this in the midst of the chaos of family. Moms are the center of the family, the glue keeping everyone together.
It is essential that you are taking care of yourself. When mom is stressed, so is everyone else – just ask any mom who has been up all night how challenging it is to encourage your toddler to get his shoes on and be out the door in 5 minutes. While we cannot always control our environment, we are a direct influence on those around us. When we manage stress, it is easier to respond to situations in a positive way. Here are 8 practical things you can start doing today that will help you manage the stresses of life:
- Eat & Drink For Energy. It may seem silly to talk about this but how many of you have gone through a busy day realizing later you haven’t eaten a meal? Your body needs food and water, and good quality fuel at that. Make sure you are nourishing your physical body with the best food. Search out your city and find healthy restaurants. Many organic markets now offer prepared, nutritious foods when you are hurried. A good starting point is Organic highways.com if you haven’t looked for organic food before. Don’t compromise your health with processed, junk foods to get you through an hour or two. You need high quality nutrients that will carry you through the day. Staying hydrated is essential too. Even mild dehydration can cause headaches, compounding any stressful situation you may be dealing with. Add fresh citrus to your water or citrus oils like lemon, grapefruit & orange. Citrus oils will boost your spirits and give you a spark of energy that won’t crash like energy drinks or caffeine. You’ll also be helping detoxify your system in a gentle way, something all of us can use.
- Rest & put your feet up – One of my favorite position in yoga is lying on the floor with my legs up the wall. Every class we take 5-10 minutes of quiet, nothing but rest. Try this when you can really be alone and uninterrupted, (even by the dog). Try your best to get 8 hours of sleep each night. Make sure you are getting enough calcium and magnesium to keep from waking through the night. I use a Magnesium/Calcium powder which is mixed into water to enhance the absorption.
- Pamper yourself over a weekend. Take a hike alone, listen to your favorite music in a beautiful location or just take in some scenery in total silence.
- Read a book (or the comics). Do something that makes you laugh :).
- Gather some flowers. Marveling at the wonders of creation and the beauty of things all around us can help us forget about the stresses of life.
- Journal and take time to reflect. Write down everything you are thankful for and enjoy the blessing of gratitude.
- Enjoy a hobby, preferably something that can be started and stopped at a moment’s notice. This is not the time to take up something new and complex like Scherenschnitte that would only frustrate you and your family. The alternative however, is if you participate in a specialty class scheduled away from home where you can focus on your chosen activity without interruptions.
- Treat yourself to a Spa at Home – Essential oils, sea salts and pure body oils can soothe your soul in short order. Therapeutic grade oils can help alleviate stress just by smelling them. Scented candles, and oils with additives or fillers should not be used as synthetic fragrance can disrupt your hormones or cause unpleasant effects like a headache – not what you need when you’re trying to unwind. Many essential oils like lavender, tangerine and rose can help you relax. Tree oils like frankincense, cedarwood and sandalwood help you stay focused and to prioritize your duties. The tree oils have also shown to lessen depression and anxiety in some research.
Surprisingly, many women suffer depression at one time or another, talk with your doctor if you have feelings of sadness or despair. Of course, depression has many suspected causes, hormones included. Stress can play a huge role in this, especially if you are not taking care of your basic needs. It is important for you to make time for yourself each day, even if for 15-20 minutes. You are not being selfish by carving out this time, you will be more effective in all the roles you lead. You need it and your family needs you to do it!
What is your favorite way to deal with a stressful day?