Five Simple Steps to Manage Daily Mom Stress
The 24/7 daily life of being a mom can be a lot of stress to manage. Schedules, food, laundry, and cleaning- just for starters. Moms have a lot on their plate, and home management skills can help to relieve the stress of mess, clutter, and an unorganized life.
In Home Management, Plain and Simple I write about managing home life to make it more enjoyable. Working through the book and implementing home management strategies can make a difference in your everyday life to reduce stress.
For today, I’ve put together a few simple steps you can add to your life, one baby step at a time. I do these steps daily. Managing stress has to be simple because life can be busy and complicated, even when we deliberately try to slow it down.
1. Acknowledge Your Stress
Stress is a daily part of life for moms. The first step to managing stress is to acknowledge the fact that it’s real. Pretending it’s not there won’t help! There are different types of stress that may impact us in different ways.
There’s good stress, which pushes us to improvement such as when we set a goal and take steps to reach that goal. Stress isn’t always a negative thing. For example, a stressful task after being done fifteen times is much easier the fifteenth time than the first. Stress in small doses followed by recovery time, makes us more able to handle the next stressor. Mastering moderate stress can be a learned skill. For real, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Grab some hope here!
There’s also negative stress; the kind of stress that comes from adverse life events. Or stress that comes from a series of moderate stressors in a short period of time. This is the kind of stress that makes us feel sick and can affect our physical and mental health. What you feel is real and you may need to acknowledge that you’ve experienced something traumatic and talk to someone professional about it. There’s no shame in that.
Stress is viewed subjectively. Things that may cause me stress may not cause you stress, or we can interpret stress in varying degrees. This is why we must be kind and gracious with each other and ourselves. There are millions of factors that cause us all to see the world through different eyes.
So today, acknowledge the stressor of the moment. Say it aloud to yourself, write it down, or tell someone. Stress is a daily part of life, acknowledge its presence.
2. Write Your Mom Stress
Get a piece of paper to write your stressors on. My favorite everyday plain paper I use is a yellow legal pad because I can buy it anywhere, and it’s yellow so I don’t lose it. Today, every single time you feel your stress level rising, your jaw tighten, teeth clench, stomach jitters, your voice raise in irritation, a compulsion to go back to bed, reach for a drink, have a smoke, eat some food, look at social media, whatever it is that soothes your angst; write down what is going on in your home or your thoughts and your physical symptom. It helps to simply identify the trigger for the stress. The types of mom stress is going to be different for each one of us. Once the stress is identified, then you can do something constructive about it. Learn how to manage the stressor and your reaction in a healthy way.
Some of your tactics for managing stress are probably fine and healthy, and likely some are harmful to you and/or those around you. That’s why it’s important to write and think through what stresses you out and how you’re currently coping with the stressors. You want to think about the best ways to reduce your stress, to manage and master daily stressors. It’s tricky because life is constantly changing and bringing us new challenges. It’s valuable to learn healthy stress management techniques that work for you.
If you want to journal about your stress for fifteen minutes, then go for it! But when you’re a busy mom, finding fifteen minutes for journaling can be hit-or-miss. That’s why I suggest just writing a few words about what the stressor is and how you feel. It’s do-able. Then, you can think about how to manage your daily mom stress.
3. Be Grateful, Give Thanks
You’ve probably heard it a million times, but that’s because gratefulness works for managing stress. You can keep a gratitude journal on paper, on the computer, or with an app on your phone. It doesn’t have to be complicated. I know you’re busy so keep it simple. If you use your phone, give yourself reminders throughout the day. Even if you don’t get it written, the reminder causes a pause and makes you conscious of the act of living gratefully.
Write your thanks in the morning when you’re starting your day, or do it at night as part of your bedtime routine. You could even do both. Teach gratefulness to your kids at breakfast, keep a group journal. How about a photo journal of gratefulness?
Say “Thank you” as part of your daily vocabulary when you interact with people. “Thank you for your time,” “Thank you for your patience,” “Thank you for your help,” “Thank you for serving”—give your thanks away to bless those around you!
4. Spend Time Outdoors
The evidence that going outside into nature is having big benefits for mental and physical health keeps building. I think it’s fascinating! Even having houseplants or window views is beneficial. As a busy mom, how do you do that? I love houseplants, but when my children were little I couldn’t keep them alive. I was too busy feeding and watering humans! I did better with vegetable gardening because… rain.
A few simple ideas for getting outside into nature to manage stress are: go for a walk with or without your children, play with your children in the yard or at a park, plant a flower or vegetable garden to get you outside daily, explore your local parks and conservation areas, take up running or biking, play in the snow with your children, walk beside water, or just sit outside on your front step and watch the sky.
Simple ideas for appreciating the outdoors during the winter or on rainy days: houseplants, leave your curtains open, plant a tree or garden to be viewed from your windows, hang birdfeeders, place a favorite comfy chair beside a window with the best outdoor view, or go outside despite the weather.
5. Do Something for Your Health
A whole book could be written about health effects on our lives, we know these things. However it can be overwhelming to think about making dramatic life changes. Lasting change happens with small things done daily. I suggest that once daily, put some deliberate action into making a healthy choice in food and drink. There are all kinds of diet opinions; to keep it simple for your daily stress management, stick to adding one healthy choice and then do it daily for a few weeks. That one action will get the ball rolling towards making other healthy choices.
A few simple ideas of healthy food and drink choices for today: cut a lemon into a pitcher of water and sip it all day, look up a list of anti-oxidant foods and eat one each day, eat leafy greens, eat a handful of nuts for one of your snacks, eat fish, eat eggs, add a colorful fruit or vegetable to your family meal.
Simple ideas for adding exercise today: go for a walk, do a yoga video from YouTube, do ten jumping-jacks, play outside with your children, go for a bike ride, swim with your children, garden.
Managing Daily Mom Stress
There are many other items we could add to this list but for the sake of simplicity, start with the basics. Give your stress acknowledgment and thought, then move onto simple do-able solutions. Moms, work on managing your daily stress, don’t suffer and don’t let it grow.
Hey mama, if better home management will help ease your daily stress, take a look at the worksheets in the Free Resource Library or get the book Home Management, Plain and Simple. I’ve got nine kids, four still at home. I’ve had many years of swimming in babies, toddlers, preschoolers… and years of four teenagers at a time… yeah, I did that. I’m still doing it. And I’m here to tell you that I not only survived, we’ve had a lot of fun! It is figure-out-able.