Having kids is wonderful but it can also be super-stressful – especially when they’re young and close together in age, or it’s a particularly busy time of year. So, if you’re a mum feeling the pressure then make sure you read these handy stress-busting tips.
The slippery slope to stress
It’s no secret motherhood brings with it dramatic life changes; not only are you adjusting to the physical changes and demands on your body, but you also worry about how you’re parenting, financial pressures increase, and it can lead to a loss of identity and general overwhelm. After all, babies literally depend on you for survival and that can take a while to get used to.
Then you add to your family and you have even less time to get everything done, especially if you’re working. Mothers also have a habit of putting unnecessary pressure on themselves in their efforts to look and act the part of supermum. Is it really any wonder that mums wake up one day and realise they’re trapped in a constant loop of daily panic and stress?
Why is stress bad?
When you’re stressed, you’re in ‘fight or flight’ mode, which should only be reserved for life-threatening disasters. It exists to help you survive, but when something as simple as forgetting to make a costume for Book Week can bring it on, all those chemicals don’t save your life but harm it. High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression and anxiety are just some of health risks caused by being in a constant state of stress. Not to mention the toll it takes on your relationships.
Ways you can reduce the stress in your life
So knowing that stressing less is the goal in life, here are 10 tips for mums to help zap stress in its tracks and keep your fingers off the panic button:
Be realistic! Not everything on your never-ending to-do list needs to be accomplished today. Work out what’s actually important to get done, tick them off your list first and avoid causing yourself more stress by allowing things to get buried (and missed) in your list.
2. Ask for help
Stop trying to do it all and get your partner to take on some more duties with the kids or house. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family too; people love helping out and may not realise you’re struggling. This includes asking for financial help.
3. Don’t take on too much
Keen to get back into their career to start earning money, some mums end up doing more work than they can handle on top of motherhood duties. While the money may seem important, your health is more crucial. Be realistic about how much you can actually take on, including social and lifestyle activities like hosting events or offering to babysit other people’s kids. Prioritising is key to a calmer life when you have a lot on your plate – and letting things go is so important too.
This may seem completely far-fetched for a stressed, time-poor mum, but it is possible. Even if it’s for five minutes a day when you’re in the car outside daycare, or you’ve managed to get up early for yoga; take the time to stop, breathe and be still. Doing some mindful colouring-in with your kids can also count as meditation so grab those colouring pencils!
5. Get more sleep
Everything seems impossible when you’re tired, and although a lot of mums don’t have much choice when it comes to how much shut-eye they get, there are often ways to sneak in a bit more. Don’t stay up late watching Netflix, ask a friend to mind the baby while you have a nap or leave the washing when they’re at preschool and catch some zzz’s instead.
Fitness is so important for both your physical and mental health, so make the effort to do something active – even if it’s just a short walk around the block with the pram. The movement and fresh air will do wonders for your stressed-out mind.
7. Get organised
When you become a mum, you can feel like you have lost control of your life (to some degree) which can be stressful. You can reclaim some of this back through organisation. Meal planners, chore systems, preparing for birthdays and Christmas well in advance will all be tasks your future self will thank you for.
8. Take some time out
If you’re feeling the panic rising, arrange to meet up with a friend, see a movie or get a massage. Even though it might take a little organising, you’ll feel amazing afterwards and ready to tackle your family responsibilities once more.
9. Be mindful of what you put in your mouth
It’s tempting to drink alcohol or binge on junk food when you’re stressed and tired, but this will often exacerbate the problem. Opt for healthy meals, fresh fruit and vegetables, water and chamomile tea and you’ll be on the road to easy breezy street in no time.
10. Seek professional help
If nothing is working and you are still feeling daily pressure and panic, then speak to a health professional such as your doctor or an organisation such as PANDA. You might be suffering with anxiety or depression and require additional support, particularly if you think you or your child may be in danger as a result of your stress.