Stress is a natural physiological response in the body which prepares us to “fight or flight” when a life threatening situation arises. As a result, adrenaline surges into our bodies, making our hearts beat faster, pupils dilate, blood vessels constrict, and muscles contract. However, in today’s modern world, life threatening situations don’t occur everyday. And that’s a problem. There’s a build up of anxiety without any release.
A daily dose of stress will raise the body’s blood pressure (a risk factor for heart disease and stroke), tense our muscles, cause headaches, and lower our immune system. No wonder moms are so tired by the end of the day, we’ve been lifting stress weights all day long! There’s no way we will eliminate the stress in our lives, but we can manage and decrease it so that our lives become more enjoyable.
Get the Family Involved
Our families are so used to us doing all the little and big things to make family life work that they don’t even realize that the job is too much for one person – especially if that person has another job outside of the home.
The rest of the family can help if we divide up the household chores. The whole family lives in the house, so the whole family needs to help take care of living in it. The family is a team and moms are the leaders of it whether we like it or not – so take charge.
Dads usually are pretty clueless about what they need to do to help us out – so we need to tell them. Usually they’re happy to oblige but just need some direction.
“Honey can you cook dinner twice a week because I really need some help”, “Dear, can you wash the dishes while I get the kids to brush their teeth”, or “Can you do a couple loads of wash while you watch that t.v. show”.
The small children in the family can always help out in some way if they are given small tasks to perform like feeding the dog, setting the table, or putting dirty clothes in the hamper. Little ones love acting like adults if given the chance and they thrive on the every day repetition of tasks. Remember, families that learn to work together become stronger because of it.
Exercise releases endorphins and counteracts the stress hormones moving through our bodies. Plus it gives release to all the excess energy that anxiety and stress can create.
It doesn’t take hours at the gym to accomplish. Just 10 minutes of walking or exercising will get our blood circulating, boost our mood, clear our mind, ease our tension and return our bodies to a more healthful state.
If you want to clear your mind further while walking, transform it into a walking meditation where you feel the inhalation and exhalation of each breath, feel each foot touch and let go of the ground, and relax the arms, feeling them swing loosely like pendulums. When thoughts arise just lasso them and put them on the side while you go back to the physical sensations of walking. You will be wholly in the present moment and no one will even know you’re meditating!
Why do we feel so much better after talking to a friend? Because good friends make us feel happy and secure. They can be a support system when we are feeling stressed that allows us to vent our frustrations without judgment. Friends understand us and know how we feel because they live through many of the same day-to-day frustrations.
Plus friends make us laugh. And laughter heals all wounds. In fact, studies have shown that the same endorphins that are produced when we exercise are also created when we laugh. So laugh hard and often and help your friends to do the same. It may be a funny joke which you received by e-mail, the daily comics or just the power of your own sense of humor; whatever it is, you and your friends need to keep each other smiling everyday.
It’s good practice to remember what can and can’t be controlled by you. If you can’t control it, there’s no sense in letting it control your life.
What you can’t control
- How your children feel
- How fast the person in front of you is driving
- Other people
- How much time there is in a day
- When a light will change to green or red
- Your age
- Accidents your children make
- Projects that take longer than expected
What you can control
- How you react to others and situations
- How you treat other people
- How often you exercise
- What you eat
- Your self esteem
- The number of tasks on your daily list
- Your goals
- Communication to others about how you feel
- The way you raise your children
Remember that stress creeps up on us slowly throughout the day, so we can be ready to acknowledge its presence before it directs how we act toward others. If we can catch the build up of stress before it catches us, we can remedy the situations which make us uneasy throughout the day.