The joys of kids far outweigh the stresses… But that being said, it’s still super overwhelming. When you feel the heat rising, always remember that you’re not alone!
The speedy slide to stress
It’s no secret motherhood brings with it dramatic life changes; not only are you adjusting to the physical changes and demands on your body, but you also worry about how you’re parenting, financial pressures increase, and it can lead to a loss of identity and general overwhelm. After all, babies literally depend on you for survival and that can take a while to get used to.
Then you add to your family and you have even less time to get everything done, especially if you’re working. Mothers also have a habit of putting unnecessary pressure on themselves in their efforts to look and act the part of supermum. Is it really any wonder mums wake up one day and realise they’re trapped in a constant loop of daily panic attacks and stress?
The negative effects
When you’re stressed you’re in ‘fight or flight’ mode, which should only be reserved for life threatening disasters. It exists to help you survive, but when something as simple as forgetting to make a costume for Book Week can bring it on, all those chemicals don’t save your life but harm it. High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression and anxiety are just some of health risks caused by being in a constant state of stress. Not to mention the toll it takes on your relationships.
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Here are 10 tips for mums to help zap stress in its tracks and keep your fingers off the panic button:
Be realistic! Not everything on your never-ending to-do list needs to be accomplished today. Work out what’s important, tick them off your list first and avoid causing yourself more stress by allowing it to be buried and missed in your list.
2. Ask for help
Stop trying to do it all and get your partner to take on some more duties with the kids or house. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family too, people love helping out and may not realise you’re struggling. This includes asking for financial help.
3. Consider the balance
Keen to get back into a career or earning money, some mums end up doing more work than they can handle on top of motherhood duties. While the money may seem important, your health is more crucial. Be realistic about how much you can actually take on, including social and lifestyle activities like hosting events or offering to babysit other people’s kids.
4. Be mindful
This may seem completely farfetched for a stressed-out mum, but it is possible. Even if it’s for five minutes a day when you’re in the car outside daycare, or you’ve managed to get up early for yoga; take the time to stop, breath and be still. Mindfulness coach Amy Taylor-Kabbaz has some great meditations that you can download in our app. Doing some mindful colouring-in with your kids can also count as meditation so grab those colouring pencils!
5. Sleep more
Easier said than done! Everything seems impossible when you’re tired, and although a lot of mums don’t have much choice when it comes to how much shut-eye they get, there are often ways to sneak in a bit more. Don’t stay up late watching Netflix, ask a friend to mind the baby while you have a nap or leave the washing when they’re at preschool and catch some z’s instead.
6. Work out
Fitness is so important for both your physical and mental health; make the effort to do something active – even if it’s just a short walk around the block with the pram. The movement and fresh air will do wonders for your stressed-out mind.
7. Get organised
When you become a mum, you lose control of your life (to some degree) which can be stressful. You can reclaim some of this back through organisation. Meal planners, chore systems, preparing for birthdays and Christmas well in advance, etc. will all be tasks your future self will thank you for.
8. Take time off
If you’re feeling the panic, arrange to meet up with a friend, see a movie or get a massage. Even though it might take a little organising, you’ll feel amazing afterwards and ready to tackle your family responsibilities once more.
9. Eat well
It’s tempting to drink alcohol or binge on junk food when you’re stressed, but this will often exacerbate the problem. Opt for healthy meals, fresh fruit and vegetables, water and chamomile tea and you’ll be on the road to easy breezy street in no time.
10. Seek professional help
If nothing is working and you are still feeling daily pressure and panic, then speak to a health professional such as your doctor or an organisation such as PANDA. You might be suffering with anxiety or depression and require medication or therapy, particularly if you think yourself or your child may be danger as a result of your stress.
Do you find being a mother stressful? What tips do you have for reducing stress?
This article was originally published on Babyology.
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