Being a mom of 5 can be loads of fun with a house full of kids and days filled with hugs and kisses. However, not all days are perfect and there are moments I feel stretched thin and stressed. Parental stress comes in so many different forms, from tension headaches to lack of sleep and chronic worrying. When it comes to dealing with this, what exactly are the effective ways to cope with it?
Identify Sources of Stress
If you are experiencing parental stress, the first thing to do is to identify what’s causing your stress.
You may know exactly what the problems are but when you get caught up in stressful situations and feel your chest getting tighter or you get dizzy, it’s important to take notice that these physical changes are our bodies trying to tell us that something is wrong.
What worked for me is keeping a journal where I pour out my emotions and the situations that caused them. What’s great about this method is that I unload my mental burdens (keeping your worries in your head can make problems seem big and unsolvable so put them all down on paper!) and at the same time, I have the data I need to dig deeper on the root cause of my stress.
When you learn what the signs are or the times of the day that are most stressful, you can start to find better alternatives.
For example, if you find your work commute incredibly overwhelming, you need to figure out something that can help reduce these symptoms. It could mean leaving a little bit earlier to make things less anxiety-inducing on the road or mixing up the routes.
In my case, school preparation in the morning is a huge stressor for me because I have four kids going to school already. That’s four school bags, four uniforms, and four lunch kits. To address the overwhelm, we all agreed to prepare everything the night before except for the food, which my husband now helps me prepare.
Healthy Living + The Right Supplements
If you’re starting to feel stressed, it’s likely that your body is already in survival mode. You’re tired and needing nutrition. When this happens, I like to review the food I eat and make conscious choices to ensure I only nourish my body with healthy food. I also include physical activity during my day – even for just 15 minutes. Most importantly, I SLEEP. Doing these three things normally sets my body and mind back to normal operations.
If necessary, you can also look into taking supplements.
There are a number that have been linked to reducing stress or anxiety. CBD oils and tinctures work by treating stress and anxiety by acting on the endocannabinoid system, which is part of the central nervous system and plays a major role in your physiological and cognitive functions. The optimal dosage for stress relief will depend on your stress levels at the very outset.
However, the use of these oils is still prohibited in the Philippines so if you are based here like me, you can explore other supplements like ashwagandha, which may lower blood pressure levels and slow your breathing down. Other options that may help also include magnesium, Rhodiola Rosea, and L-theanine.
It’s important to remember that if you are looking for supplements to help calm stress levels, you should try one at a time and give it enough time to take effect because taking supplements that interact with one another may not help with symptoms.
Create a “Do Not Disturb” Sign
One of the main reasons we feel overwhelmed is because it is the ongoing treadmill of life that throws problems up. You need to create barriers that make you feel like you can decompress.
You will need to take time for yourself, no matter how little it is, and choosing the right practices to help you unwind will be critical, whether it’s deep breathing or completely shutting yourself away. But when you assert the fact that you are not available, everybody in the family can be made aware of your boundaries and you will feel better for it. Sometimes our children need to know that what is going on is not helping us so we have to step away.
When we feel that treadmill of life constantly spinning around, it can be easy to feel like there are little positives. We all feel the pressures of stress and over time it saps our ability to smile. Humor is an amazing tool to de-escalate stressful situations. If you feel there’s a lot of tension in your life, you need that release.
Are you feeling stressed? Try the tips above and see how it goes.