Managing Stress Effectively

stress

Frustrated: Photo by Ashlee Martin / CC BY 2.0

Stress is a part of life, especially for mothers. It is important to effectively manage stress so it does not become too overwhelming to properly function. The following is a simple way to manage stressful situations.

Three step process for managing stress:

Step 1: Awareness. As discussed in other posts, the first step to managing any problem is becoming aware there is a problem in the first place. Admit to yourself “I am stressed”.

Identify your personal symptoms of stress. Stress can show as physical, emotional and mental symptoms. Physical symptoms include headaches, stomach aches, sweating, trembling, racing heart, and muscle tension. Emotional symptoms can include crying, irritability, quick anger, worry and sadness. Mental symptoms include difficulty concentrating, racing thoughts and sleeping struggles. Stress looks different for everyone and it is important to be able to recognize signs for you.

Step 2: Ask yourself what CAN I control in a stressful situation and what do I NOT have control over.

Example: You feel overwhelmed because you have some visitors coming into town and the house is mess, you have errands to run and the kids’ needs to tend to.

What can you control in this situation? You can control what you prioritize. Possibly the kid’s needs first, errand second, and cleaning 3rd if there is time.

What can you not control in this situation? You cannot control what your visitors are going to “think” of your house not being tidy. You cannot control if they are going to judge you for it.

Many times we dwell on situations, such as what others are going to think of us, when it is beyond our control. It can take valuable time and energy worrying about what is beyond control. Instead if we focus our energy on what is within our control, stress can be managed more effectively.

Step 3: Do a wellness check. Are there any of the dimensions of wellness (physical, emotional, spiritual, occupational, social, and intellectual) that are severely out of balance? If so, tend to that dimension.

Example: You have been eating and sleeping well (physical dimension) but have not had much physical activity in the last 2 weeks. Taking a walk may help relieve stress in this case. Another example may be you have not had many social interactions this month. You could reach out to a friend for a chat in this situation.

Check out this article for more tips on stress management.

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