From our lovely contributors at This Mom S**t is HARD! How to cope with the stresses of life.
Stress – life is full of it. It comes in all shapes, sizes and varieties. Sometimes it’s big, sometimes it’s little and every size in between. Sometimes it’s caused by others, sometimes we bring it on ourselves. We all know what it feels like, and we all find ways to live with it. But let’s be honest, sometimes it’s just too much. And it’s in those moments when it’s most important to handle it. So when life is getting the best of me, when I’m stressed AF, what do I do?!?!?
A Few Facts About Stress
We all know a little something about stress, after all, it affects everyone. Everyone. It’s part of this life we lead. And a little bit of stress isn’t always bad – it can make people more productive and it’s been shown that moderate stress temporarily increases awareness and improves physical performance. No wonder some of my best work is done under pressure.
But it’s those continuous bouts of stress that can harm your health, both your mental and physical health. You hear about the “little” things like interrupting sleep, exacerbating acne, weight gain. But it goes beyond those nagging effects. Stress has been linked repeatedly to infertility and some sources say it may account for 30% of all infertility problems. 30%! And, it gets worse; stress has been linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, liver cirrhosis, and suicide. Yikes!
Super scary when you think about the life of the average mom like me. I’m stressed nearly all the time. Why? The list is long: I work full time in a demanding work environment and my hubby isn’t working a traditional job. I volunteer on the PTO and I’m working on my side gig. I have two boys at home both of whom are serious momma’s boys – they just don’t see my hubby in the same light. Soooooooo, I get the brunt of the work – the calls, the carpooling, the homework assistance, the doctor appointments, the friend drama. I pay the bills. I do the laundry. I manage the booking of our vacation property. #2 is about to graduate (God-willing) and you know who is dealing with that. It’s not just the graduation; it’s the cap and gown; it’s the announcements; it’s the party; it’s the financial aid process; it’s the loss of income appeal; it’s the burden of higher education the US assumes all parents are willing to take on; it’s the guilt that accompanies it; it’s my regret for trusting what turned out to be an untrustworthy former FIL. Have you heard enough? Because there’s more, lots more. No wonder I’m stressed AF!
A Few Stress Relief Strategies…The Traditional
But that’s the life of a mom. It’s what I signed up for when I brought these boys into the world. So what’s a momma to do? Well, there are the classic stress relief strategies – the things we all know.
Exercise – I should be exercising more, running maybe, or yoga; but sadly, life gets in the way sometimes. And while running and yoga are both activities I enjoy, they don’t exactly allow me to check things off the never-ending do list.
Meditation – I should try meditating, getting my zen on. I’ve done it before, with some success. But frankly, sometimes I struggle to find even five minutes to try and zone out.
Journaling – Put all of that stress into words and down on paper and see if the answers come to me. So times they do, but it’s tough to carve out the time to find a quiet place and put the pen to paper.
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