Managing Mommy stress
Juggling it all while also making time for you.
Carol Chaffin Published: 5/3/2018
Whether you have one child or five under your roof, it’s easy as a mom to feel the stress building during the day as you get through a to-do list that’s a mile long. From changing diapers and cleaning up messes to getting kids from point A to B, each day can turn into a hectic race that leaves a mom little time for herself.
It’s difficult to find even a sliver of time to decompress when you’re always on the go and have a family depending on you, but taking time out for yourself is important to your physical and mental health, something moms notoriously overlook. There are ways to make “me time” a priority, said Patricia McFall Calhoun, MD, a family physician with Baptist Primary Care Mandarin North, and the mother of five boys. Becoming run down and burned out are two things you and your family can’t afford.
“At the very least, strive for 30 minutes of walking or physical activity each day, and aim for adequate sleep of 7 to 9 hours per night,” recommended Dr. Calhoun. “Even if you don’t have half-an-hour, take the few minutes you can find to take a quick walk or meditate in a quiet place.”
Sticking with healthy habits should also be a goal. Skipping meals, eating something on the fly and eating foods that are unhealthy can take a toll on your health. You need energy now more than ever, and being properly fueled is vital. That goes for making sure your soul is fed, too. To keep your mind, body and spirit relaxed, try some aromatherapy (the scent of peppermint, vanilla and pine can energize you), and try to set aside time for a massage or a yoga class to stay refreshed.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family or friends,” suggested Dr. Calhoun. “It’s hard to do it all without paying a price. As far as your to-do list goes, prioritizing and being willing to delegate can help you manage it, as well as opening up a few moments for yourself and reducing your stress.”
She added that it’s also important to assert yourself graciously and learn to say no. Saying yes when you really mean no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed.
Another source of stress is isolation, and lots of new or stay-at-home moms tend to feel out of the loop and lonely because they spend so much time in the house, and have limited adult companionship. Reach out to friends and family, and join in on kid-friendly events so all of you can spend some time out doing things you like with others in a new environment.
“Voltaire, the French philosopher, said, ‘Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,’” said Dr. Calhoun. “I wish I had heard this earlier in my life and career, because so many times we try to make things perfect and forget what tremendous ‘good’ we are doing for our family, our friends, and our community. Recognize the value you provide, don’t be too hard on yourself, and reward yourself with a few moments regularly for relaxation.”
5 more ways to put Mommy stress in its place
- Stay balanced. Keeping your heart, soul, mind and strength in balance allows you to be happy, healthy and content.
- Moderation is key. Don’t overindulge in unhealthy practices such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol or overeating. These things will steal and drain your energy.
- Say “yes” to yourself. Make that time for exercise, sleep and relaxation.
- Sometimes, say “no” to others. Assert yourself graciously when needed.
- Practice healthy habits for you and your family. As the “queen” of your monarchy, you will be able to take care of everyone under your reign if you take good care of yourself.