5 Ways to Stomp out Stress
As moms in today’s culture, we are all too familiar with stress. We face it daily, in many forms. It can cause elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, quickened breathing and muscle tension. While temporary stress can give us an adrenaline rush and help us out of threatening situations, prolonged periods can be harmful to our health. Many of us live apart from our extended families, which means not having the luxury of their help regularly. Sometimes we can’t eliminate the source of stress. We can however, learn to manage and relieve it. Below are some steps I take to help keep my stress under control:
Find a support group.
One of the first things I do when I move somewhere new is to find a church with a good moms or MOPS group. That weekly dose of adult interaction is so important. There are other mom groups in different cities all over the US that meet and host play dates and other activities. It’s a good resource to get connected. Avoiding isolation is important when combating stress.
I always make exercise a priority. When I don’t take time for this, I can tell my patience shortens and I become more tense. Even if it is a short exercise DVD or some lunges and push ups. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. I recently took up running. I bribe my 3-year-old with snacks and she sits in the jogging stroller while I run. It is a great workout. Just find something that works for you.
It is important for us as moms to take inventory of where our time is going. We can’t do it all and it isn’t healthy to try. If there are things you can delegate, do so. That may come in the form of a cleaning lady or a sitter or help from a friend. I have started taking advantage of prepared or frozen meals on days when things are busy. Trader Joe’s has some great, healthy options that are a good alternative to the drive-thru. Don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself. We all have certain things we can do well, and other things we need help with. It is healthy to say no to some things. Lysa Terkeurst’s book, “The Best Yes,” is a wonderful read and talks a lot about when we say yes to something, we are saying no to other things.
Getting up before the rest of the family
This is something I find hard to commit to. I always want to squeeze in as much sleep as I can. But when I do force myself to get up before the craziness of the day starts, it gives me a sense of calm. I enjoy having a cup of coffee by myself while it’s quiet. It’s a good opportunity to spend time with God, a journal, or to just plan out your day.
Sometimes I am stressed simply because I am worried I’m forgetting something. I’m a big list maker. So it’s very helpful for me to sit down and make lists: to-do, grocery, weekly plans, etc. When I feel organized and certain I have mapped out where I should be for the week, it’s one less thing to worry about. If possible, try to avoid procrastination. If you can get things done ahead of time, it reduces stress and allows for last-minute changes or errors that occur.
If you are feeling stressed, panicked or anxious and nothing seems to be helping to reduce those feelings, do not rule out professional help. It is not a sign of weakness to seek outside help. Confiding in someone is a very helpful in dealing with stress and anxiety.
Bottom line, know yourself and learn where your stressors are. When you can recognize and begin to deal with the issue, then you can get relief. Be quick to accept help when offered and make maintaining your sanity a priority. Remember you’re not alone as a traveling wife and we’re all here to support and encourage each other.
– By Sarah Pappas
A little about Sarah: I am a midwest girl who has been transplanted to California. I have 2 sweeties who call me mom, Levi and Ellie, and my main squeeze, Matt, who is a wonderful provider, husband, and dad. I love the quote, “Not all who wander are lost”. For 10 years we have been wandering, but I don’t feel lost. I am constantly having to remind myself to leave the directions to God. He is leading me on a journey unlike any I’ve ever been on. And I would love to have you follow with me at my blog, Waves of Courage.