On a scale of 1 to 10
Go on, stop reading, and take time to check in with yourself. Just how stressed are you? Write it down, give yourself a score.
If you are an adult with one or more of the following; Children at home, elderly parents, a home, a mortgage, a career, a business – then I think it is very unlikely that you will be saying to yourself – I have no stress at all…
At the very least I’m sure you have a never-ending list of things to do and you’re running very fast to try and remember and keep track of it all, for yourself and the whole family.
That would make you perfectly normal.
Maybe there are
Sometimes this is good stress and it gives you the additional impetus to complete what needs to be done and to get yourself through it.
But for some of us, and I suspect an increasing number, the stress overwhelm is there every day – from your first waking thought until
Sometimes there really is too much to do and you feel like you are not good enough, you can’t manage it or you will never get to the end. Sometimes money is tight, or somebody in your close circle has health problems. Sometimes small disagreements with friends or family can spiral into big situations, or you may feel like somebody is abusing you, discriminating against you, excluding you, or worse.
So, I ask you again – how stressed are you now?
It’s a good idea to check in on your stress levels from time to time. Once you have figured out how stressed you feel, decide whether or not that is an acceptable level of stress (like nerves before an interview, for example) or whether the stress is a bit excessive and you can or should do something about it.
Is there anything to do to change the situation you are in which is causing you stress? If so, then change! If not, then you will have to find ways of making the stress easier to bear.
If you do feel that your stress is a bit much right now, then take a look through this list of stress busters. Some of them are short-term fixes, to give a bit of a boost to a temporary bad mood. Others are more long-term lifestyle changes, to help build up your resilience so that stress does not affect you so much. Give some of them a try and see how you get on.
20 Stress Busters for Busy Mums
Short-Term Stress Busters
Know your stress hot spots and trigger points
Presentations, interviews, meetings, giving difficult feedback, tight deadlines… My heart rate is cranking up just writing these down!
Make your own list of stress trigger points or hot spots. Be specific.
Is it only presentations to a certain audience that get you worked up? Does one project cause more stress than another? Did you drink too much coffee
Knowing what causes your stress is powerful information, as you can take action to make it less stressful. Do you need to learn some new skills? Do you need extra resources? Do you need to switch to decaffeinated coffee?
A little sunshine and activity can have an amazing effect on your stress level and will enhance your entire outlook towards life. Even a walk in the wind or rain, can be invigorating and help to shake off a funk.
While you are outside, try to take your mind off the things that are stressing you, and focus on the sights, sounds and smells of nature (or the city, if that is where you are).
Not only will you be less stressed if you take regular time outdoors, but you will also be healthier, happier, and more energetic; ready to face whatever obstacles come your way.
Don’t just sit there. Move!
According to many psychologists, motion creates emotion. You might notice that when you are idle, it’s easier to become depressed. Your heart rate slows down, less oxygen travels to your brain, and when you are
I challenge you right now, regardless of how you are feeling, to get up and walk around at a fast tempo. Maybe you might want to go into an empty room and jump up and down a little bit, or put on some funky music and dance. It may sound silly but the results speak for themselves. Try it now for a few minutes. It works like magic.
Laugh a little
I’m sure you’ve heard that laughter is a good internal medicine. It relieves tension and loosens the muscles. It causes blood to flow to the heart and brain. More importantly, laughter releases a chemical that rids the body of pain.
Every day, researchers discover new benefits of laughter. Let me ask you this question: “Can you use a good dose of belly-shaking laughter every now and then?” Of
This is one of my absolute favourites, and it really doesn’t matter whether you can sing well or not. Music can be extremely beneficial at getting rid of stress. Think how much better you can feel when you belt out “Copacabana” at the top of your lungs! Who cares if you can’t carry a tune? You’re doing this for you!
I sing in the car when I’m alone, nearly all the time. It’s a great place to let out your inner diva.
If you feel you really can’t sing, then dance, bang a drum or play air guitar (maybe not when you’re driving so much). Just let the beat of the music take you out of yourself for a while.
Use heavy breathing
You can trick your body into calming down and relaxing by using heavy breathing. Breathe in slowly for a count of 7 then breathe out for a count of 11. Repeat the 7-11 breathing until your heart rate slows down, your sweaty palms dry off and things start to feel more normal.
Stop stress thought trains
It is possible to tangle yourself up in a stress knot all by
“If this happens, then that might happen and then we’re all
Most of these things never happen, so why waste all that energy worrying needlessly?
Give stress thought-trains the red light and stop them in their tracks. Okay so it might go wrong – how likely is that and what can you do to prevent it? When you catch yourself worrying, distract yourself and think of something else
Play About a Bit
Give yourself permission to be a ‘kid’ again. What did you enjoy when you were a child? Draw; paint; be creative. Play with Playdough, dance, or read.
Play music, allow yourself the freedom to express yourself without worrying that you’re not keeping with the image of who you are ‘supposed’ to be.
Just relax and enjoy yourself. We all have a little child in us and it’s a good idea to allow expression of the innocent carefree child within from time to time.
Play with a dog or cat.
Experts say pet owners have longer lives and fewer stress symptoms that non-pet owners. Playing with your pet
Take up a new hobby
Try a new skill like knitting or crocheting. Don’t worry about being good at it. It’s the process that’s beneficial. Sitting still while performing repetitive movements is calming and stabilizing for many people. It can be time to collect your thoughts.
Longer-term Stress Busting Lifestyle Changes
Make stress your friend
Acknowledge that some stress is good and make stress your friend! Based on the body’s natural “fight or flight” response that burst of energy will enhance your performance at the right moment.
I’ve yet to see a top sportsman totally relaxed before a big competition. Use stress wisely to push yourself that little bit harder when it counts most.
Even in your normal working day, use times when you are alert to be productive and do
Manage Your Time Well
Sometimes, you have to admit that some of your stress is of your own causing. You need to become more efficient, stop procrastinating and just get the boring stuff done.
Are you stressed because you are putting off something that scares you? Then break it down into chunks and just face it. I promise that it won’t be as big or bad as your worrying about it makes it seem.
You only have 24 hours each day, so you need to be making the most of them. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be working every one of these hours, but you certainly shouldn’t be wasting them on meaningless work and avoidable distractions.
To manage your time effectively, you need to eliminate major time wasters and delegate less important work to others around you. You should also establish a regular routine to follow each day.
Find Ways To Save
A little bit of retail therapy can be a great temporary fix for short-term stress – who doesn’t like to give themselves a little treat from time to time?
However, if money is one of the causes of your stress, then maybe a splurge isn’t the best solution for your worries.
A great compromise is to actively seek ways to save money. If things are tight, then you will feel happy that you are reducing your expenditure, and if money is not the source of your problems, well a treat feels even better if you know that you have bagged a bargain
Be on the lookout for ways to save some cash, for example, you could turn to voucher sites like NetVoucherCodes.co.uk to cut costs when shopping online.
You should also ask for discounts whenever possible, and avoid debt by putting money aside
Build A Support System
If you have one or more children of school age, especially if you have children in different schools or nurseries, and/or if you work, then sooner or later you will find the inevitable time clash, and you will need help to get everything done.
We all feel that as mums we should be on top of everything and we should be able to cope with it all
This can be scary, but it’s necessary to avoid burning out. For this reason, you should build a strong support system of friends, family, colleagues, and hired help, to lend a hand when you need them.
When you find yourself with spare time or resources, be friendly and help others who need you. Then when you find that you are in trouble, you should have a willing group of people who will step in and help you out.
Take Care of Yourself
When you’re so used to taking care of other people, remembering to look after yourself can be difficult. Unfortunately, if you don’t, you are going to suffer. With that in mind, you should make sure that you get plenty of sleep and eat three healthy meals every single day. Preparing these meals at the weekend can make this easier during the week.
Love What You Do
Being a mum and pursuing a career can make your life increasingly difficult, but, if you love what you’re doing, then the hardships you face will seem tiny in comparison to the joy you feel.
Because of this, it’s crucial that you’re passionate about your job or business and are in it for so much more than money alone. After all, when times get tough, financial gain won’t give you the motivation you need to go on. Love, on the other hand, definitely will.
If your business, job or career is causing you more stress than satisfaction, then give serious thought to what needs to change and what you can do about it. Changes in this area can seem big or scary, especially if you decide to change career completely, but it can definitely be worth it in the long run to find something to do that makes
Help others cope with their problems.
It can be very therapeutic when you engross yourself in helping others. You will be surprised how many people’s problems are worse than those you may be facing. You can offer others assistance in countless ways. Don’t curl up in your bed and let depression and stress take hold of you.
Get out and help somebody else. But be careful. Don’t get caught up in other people’s problems in an attempt to forget about your own.
Stress is contagious
What I mean by this is that negative people can be a huge stressor. Negativity breeds stress and some people know how to do nothing but complain.
Don’t get caught up in their downing behaviour. Recognise that these kinds of people have their own stress and then limit your contact with them. You can try to play stress doctor and teach them how to better manage their stress, but be aware that this may contribute more to your own stress, so tread lightly.
Learn it is OK to say ‘no’ occasionally.
Often, many of us feel we have to say ‘yes’ to everyone, every time we are asked for help and feel that we must respond in a positive fashion. But, remember, you cannot be all things to all people. You must first meet your own needs before you can truly give others what they need while at the same time keeping yourself happy.
Take a break
So often, we know inside ourselves that we need a break. That break might be a full-fledged vacation or a weekend getaway. Either way, getting out of the daily grind can be amazingly liberating and a huge way to get rid of stress and anxiety.
Unfortunately, many people think they can’t take the time to get away. This is toxic thinking. Get out and get away!
So, did you find something among my stress-busters list that might help you with your particular brand of stress? Or do you have another suggestion that wasn’t on my list? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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