In 2017 it seems we’re busier than ever and ‘equality of the sexes’ often means that women are struggling to balance the demands of work and home-life. There’s also a lot more information and advice on parenting, which can often make mothers feel like they could be doing a better job, and that only adds to their stress. Stress is defined as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances”. So we could say that stress occurs due to the lack of resources (usually time) we have to complete these demands. We all know that raising children, joyous as it is, is also quite demanding. As mothers we tend to put the needs of everyone else above our own, but for the sake of our physical and mental health, it’s important we take some regular ‘me time’.
Some stress can actually be beneficial in small doses as it can be motivating and increase performance. However, there’s a fine line between where stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships and your quality of life. The good news is, you can manage stress and reverse the adverse effects by following some of these tips. Try them out and decide which bring the best result for you!
• Research shows that positive emotions like happiness, optimism and hope promote positive changes in your body’s cells, even triggering the release of ‘feel-good’ brain chemicals. Here’s the fun part – engaging in healthy habits like exercise, laughter, hugging and kissing, sex or bonding with your child, you can generate an increase in endorphins and dopamine in the brain, which creates feelings of happiness.
• Get more sleep, and better quality – Adopt your own bedtime routine that will help you unwind; bath, tea, light stretching, meditation or read a book. Make sure your bedroom is dark enough and remove all devices (phones etc) to promote proper sleep.
• Practice Mindfulness – Focus on the present moment and adopt a non-judgemental attitude to what’s happening. This clears the mind and creates inner calm.
• Schedule regular ‘Me Time’ –This can simply be half an hour every couple of days – a child-free coffee with a friend, a session in the gym, a walk along the beach, a girl’s night out, or time spent engaging in a hobby.
• Date night – reconnect with your partner. This could even be a romantic meal at home once the kids are in bed.
• Device Detox – Not only is our addiction sending unhealthy messages to our kids, but it is robbing us of meaningful face-to-face interactions and keeping our brain constantly stimulated, making it difficult to relax and unwind.
• Let Go of Perfectionist Parenting – Not even the so-called ‘experts’ have all the answers and there is no such thing as the ‘perfect parent’. Instead, challenge that irrational ‘all or nothing’ thinking that tells you that you are ‘not good enough’ and reassure yourself that your children love you unconditionally and that there is no better mum for your kids than the one they already have.
• Enjoy Mothers Day – Ladies, you deserve (at least) one day off a year! Make the most of Mothers Day and let your family spoil you. Don’t worry if the house is a mess, just treasure the special time you have with your kids, give yourself a pat on the back, and tell yourself ‘well done’ for doing such a hard, demanding, stressful, but meaningful and rewarding job!
Happy Mothers Day!