Posted: Sep 05, 2012 9:00 AM
 
No matter where you turn, no matter how many kids you have, stress is inevitable. Sometimes I look at stress as a challenge -- something that makes me stronger or a learning experience. But sometimes stress is a dark cloud and it’s hard to find the good in it.

I've learned a lot about stress over the past few years and, for the most part, I try to keep my head up and try to choose grace over chaos. That's all you can do, right? Try. Because no one is perfect, but a simple reminder can be healthy.

You're not the only one

I'm a Cancer, which means I can be an emotional mess. I've learned to accept that and most of the people around me understand that's just the way I am. I cry often and intensely feel not only my own emotions, but others as well. That little gift of mine can leave me with an overwhelming feeling of being alone. But I'm not. No one is. Everyone gets overwhelmed with stress and everyone deals with it differently. To deal with it gracefully, it's important to remember that you're not alone.

Simple ways to improve your mood

When I feel anxious, stressed or overwhelmed, breathing is usually the first place I go to. Deep breathing, visualizing a positive outcome or retreating to a quiet, peaceful place can have a powerful affect on your mood in the early stages of a stressful experience. But as a mom of three, there are very few places to retreat to that aren't covered in mashed up crackers and yesterday's toys. That's why I keep my bathroom and closet as clean as possible no matter what the rest of the house looks like. Pick one room, preferably the farthest room in the house because that's likely to be the quietest room in the house, and do your best to keep it tidy and clean on a daily basis. The last thing you want to do is retreat to a room that's equally as stressful -- or adds to your stress level because it needs to be cleaned.

Organization is key

Most moms' stress levels skyrocket when unexpected or forgotten things pop up. Take a day or two to organize your life or the week ahead to reduce the stresses you can control.

Having an organized life helps to keep stress levels low and allows you to handle infrequent situations gracefully. Most moms' stress levels skyrocket when unexpected or forgotten things pop up -- a forgotten lunch before school, a last-minute doctor's appointment, not being able to locate important items, etc. Take a day or two to organize your life or the week ahead to reduce the stresses you can control.

Keeping stress at bay

In addition to organizing your life and your family, it's important to actively do things for yourself to keep stressful situations to a minimum and to keep your attitude on an even keel when things do come up. Do these things on a daily basis to keep a positive mood/outlook and to help keep stress at bay:

  • Exercise
  • Spend time outdoors
  • Take care of your body: Get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water and eat healthy
  • Spend quality time with your kids
  • Spend quality time with your husband
  • Take some quiet time for yourself (and don't feel guilty about it)
  • Enjoy your hobbies
  • Pamper yourself
  • Keep in touch with family and friends
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Offer help when others need it


More on dealing with stress

Give yourself a time-out
Why me time is such a big deal
Stress can be good

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