Reducing Mom Stress
Practicing Self Compassion for Reducing Mom Stress
We all know about stress and the negative effects it can have on our health, but what about mom stress? That special blend of overworked, overstretched and underappreciated leading to all the symptoms of burn out when you still have decades of mom-ing to go. There are plenty of techniques out there to help with reducing mom stress, but I want to give you a quick example of one here.
Your toddler threw their applesauce on the ground and your baby just spit up on you. You have a play date that is supposed to relieve some of the stress of keeping your kids sane all day, but you are late and traffic is bad right now. You feel your heart thumping and your tummy growling, because of course, you have not had time to eat and that spilled applesauce was going to be your hold over until you made it to the play date and got another coffee and perhaps a muffin. Does reading this make your tummy tangle? Being a mom means balancing a lot, usually too much for one person. When responsibilities are too high and resources are limited, the body responds with fight or flight mode. Now sometimes this stress response in the body is not a bad thing. For example, when you need to run out to grab your kid before they jump off the curb into the street, this response is a lifesaver, literally. On the other hand, if this is your daily mode of operation, your body will be experiencing much more stress than is healthy. And that is why reducing mom stress is so important.
One of the ways that stress affects the body is that it creates more cravings for food, often less than nutritious food, to keep your body fueled to win the fight. This in turn results in consumption of more junk food for its calming effect and sometimes overeating as well.
Spikes in cortisol throughout the day can also contribute to sleep troubles, a foggy brain and a weakened immune system. Add to all of this the unrealistic Western Culture standard of what “healthy” looks like and now there is more stress buzzing through your system.
In Western Culture there is one “healthy” body type, and then the 99% of us that fall into the “other” category. Like it or not this dictates how we look at ourselves and food. But what if you ate, exercised and moved in ways that would benefit your overall health and happiness instead of the number on the scale or the tag on your jeans? Can you imagine for a moment looking at a sandwich and seeing protein that feeds your tissues, carbohydrates that give you energy and fats that feed your brain instead of too many calories that are going to come back to haunt you tomorrow morning on the scale? Or being completely satisfied with the food choice you’re making, feeling no guilt or shame for eating it? It’s the same sandwich, same ingredients, same nutrients, but you feel entirely different depending on which way you look at it. This is the mindset work around food that can help move you out of that fight or flight mode.
Look in the mirror and instead of mentally pointing out all the things you hate about yourself, think instead about all the amazing things that body has done. Grown and birthed a human being, nourished a helpless baby, held, rocked, carried and provided for that child as it grows. Think of what an amazing feat that is, what a mighty thing your body has done. It’s natural to want to fit the social norm and our cultures exceedingly ridiculous standards of beauty, but by judging yourself lacking based off of that, you are surrendering your power as a women and mother to a society that doesn’t value all that you do. The only way to harness that power, which I know you have, is to embrace yourself exactly as you are. And if you can’t fully let go of all those negative thoughts, start by simply adding in the positive ones. You’ll be amazed at what a little kindness does over time and how this will decrease stress.
Revisit my last blog, Mom Guilt Remedy, to remember those four easy steps to practice being kind to yourself and reduce the amount of stress you experience today!
To learn more about reducing stress in your everyday life click here to purchase The Unstoppable Mom Ebook!