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Managing 'mommy stress'

Juggling it all while also making time for you.

Article Author: Juice Staff

Article Date:

Managing motherhood stress can feel like a juggling acr

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 mile-long to-do list. 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.

Feeling overwhelmed as a mom?

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. Becoming run down and burned out are two things you and your family can't afford.

There are several ways of dealing with stress associated with motherhood, said Patricia McFall Calhoun, MD, a family physician with Baptist Primary Care Mandarin North, and the mother of five boys.

1. Make time for you.

"At the very least, strive for 20 to 30 minutes of walking or physical activity each day (150 minutes weekly), and aim for adequate sleep of seven to nine 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. And recent studies show that health benefits extend to those weekend warriors who can 'catch up' on their physical activity on weekends to reach that 150-minute weekly goal."

2. Practice healthy habits.

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.

3. Stay balanced.

Keeping your heart, soul, mind and strength in balance allows you to be happy, healthy and content. 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.

4. Ask for help.

"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 open up a few moments for yourself and reduce your stress."

5. Find a community.

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 everyone can spend time doing things you like with others in a new environment.

Baptist Health now offers The Motherhood Space, which provides additional resources and help moms who need mental wellness support.

6. Say no when needed.

Dr. Calhoun 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.

7. Be kind to yourself.

"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."

Need help managing motherhood stress?

If you're a new or expecting mom who's struggling with depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions, The Motherhood Space may be a healing choice for you. To learn more, call 904.376.3800 (select option 4 for intensive outpatient program).

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