Last week I asked for feedback from my readers and subscribers of my blog to tell me what types of content they would like to read on the blog. One of the main topics was stress, and since this is something that I am all to familiar with….why not start there??!
Although I don’t think that there is any fool proof way to combat stress, I do think that there are some ways that would help Mothers (whether single or not) tremendously. With the constant demands of being a mother, having a full time stressful job (911 dispatching) and just dealing with my own issues, I’ve come to the conclusion that stress will probably always be a part of my daily life, but over the past few months, I can say that I have been making an effort and taking steps to try and reduce it as much as possible.
One of the things that I thought I would ever be able to say is that “I have a therapist”. I initially thought that a therapist was someone to talk to when you have a problem; yes, they can assist with this, but in thinking of the larger scale of things, therapists help with so much more. Sometimes having that individual to talk to who has no reason to have any biased opinions of you or any of the things that you discuss, and having someone to just sit and listen, leaves you feeling lighter when you at the end of the session. I have a therapist that I have been seeing for months now, on a regular basis, and when I leave her office I feel like I unpacked every single worry, every thought that I felt “crazy” for thinking, and everything that I was feeling down or depressed about, right in that office so that I can leave with a renewed spirit and a fresh way of thinking. I think Moms need to at least see a therapist occasionally, just to have somewhere peaceful and calm to visit where she doesn’t have to think of or worry about the demands of parenting or life, even if it is for just thirty minutes.
During my last visit with my therapist I asked her if she had any advice or ideas for grounding techniques. I’m routinely overwhelmed, stressed, and feeling like I’m at my whit’s end, and I needed something that would help me to unwind and get centered at the end of the day. I had tried meditation before, but somehow, I always end up getting distracted or sidetracked when I try to do it on my own, so my therapist recommended an app called “Headspace”. This app helps with meditation by administering 3-5-minute mindfulness exercises, meditation, and tactics that help get you focused and centered. I think that this is a great way to help relieve stress if you’re trying to get refocused and grounded after a chaotic day. There are many more apps and websites that help with meditation, but this is one of my personal favorites (believe me, I’ve tried a few lol!). And of course, I think it goes without saying but for meditation to actually work, it should be done when you get the time to yourself, to just focus on you and your inner peace. These exercises are no good when you’re still in the middle of a chaotic day. So, light your favorite candle, get in your comfy spot, and spend some time with getting those thoughts together!
This next aspect I cannot stress enough; and that is TIME MANAGEMENT. Since my children have been in the world, our days have revolved around routines and schedules. Having three children who are only 9 months apart, means that our daily life is a bit chaotic, loud, and overall all over the place most times. There’s three different little personalities and three different kids needing my attention at various times. I’m only one person, and I thank god for my support system (consisting of my Mom and my Aunt), but I knew that even when my kids were infants, if I didn’t make sure to keep them on strict schedules I would never get time for myself. Some don’t agree with schedules and I know some won’t want to do this, but trust me when I say that the fact that everything has its specific time and place at our house takes a good bit of unnecessary stress away and it works for us. We started schedules and routines years ago and I wouldn’t have it any other way now. Schedules have allowed me the opportunity to work on my blog and do other things that interest me in my downtime.
Above everything, prayer keeps me sane and able to make it through the day and there is absolutely nothing that could ever take the place of it. Through my prayer and devotion, I’ve found passages and readings that have given me the strength to keep going when I couldn’t seem to find it in other places.
Life is pretty much guaranteed to cause some stress at some point in time, but I’ve found that Its more of how you handle it, as opposed to how much stress you accumulate. No one is perfect and I don’t think that there is one perfect answer to combat stress, but hopefully these tactics get you off to a great start!