How To Beat SuperMom Stress – 5 Ways

Women often act as stress support systems for everyone they know – partner, friends, family, kids, aging parents, boss and this means that the stress they’re under can be very intense.  Yet women often find it very difficult to relax and de-stress.  They may even think it selfish!  However, stress can have serious detrimental effects – on your relationships and on your mental health. 

You need to find ways to beat your stress.  Here are my five top tips, based on my own experiences of being a WAHM with twins!

1.   Take time for yourself.

This is not selfish – it is essential.  Relaxing and unwinding is essential to help you deal with the day’s stresses.  Try for every day, but a minimum of twice a week if you can to take time to do something for YOU. This should be something that makes you feel happy, relaxed and centre (ie NOT a task you’ve been meaning to get to).  Maybe you could fit 15 mins of yoga in before your morning shower? Or schedule a lunch out with a supportive friend (BUT take care that you don’t end up just listening to her problems!)

Personally, I try to listen to my MP£ player for 15-20 mins before going to bed.  And I make sure that once a week I take a bath with NO interruptions!  A great stress buster!

2.   Get Help.

No not from a mental heath professional unless you are really stressed out!  I meant from your family. Get the kids to take the rubbish out and ask your husband or partner to help too.  After all, if you never get a break, you’ll only end up “dumping” your stress into your relationship so it’s in everyone’s interest to help!

3.   Kill Perfectionism.

I’ve talked about this elsewhere on this blog.  Perfectionism is very stressful.  It often leads to procrastination, which means you can just get completely overwhelmed as things build on top of you!.  Just accept that “good enough” is good enough and get on with what you need to do.  (Believe me, I know how hard this is!)

4.   Take care of your body. 

Get plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables; start an exercise routine, and get enough sleep.  If you do this you WILL feel yourself getting less stressed. 

5.   Learn to say no.

Saying no can be very difficult especially for women, who are often conditioned by society to be the ones giving the help and support.  So you need to practise doing it.  It doesn’t mean you’re a horrible person.  And it doesn’t mean your friend will hate you forever (if she does, she was probably not the sort of friend you needed anyway).  Just be firm and polite.  Try “Sorry, I’ve got other plans, but let’s arrange something for next week (or whenever)”.  You will feel empowered and less stressed.

Remember that you have to care for yourself first.  If you are ill and over-stressed, how will you be the support system for your family? And if you don’t manage your own stress, who will do it for you? 

Guided Imagery as a Stress Buster

Stress is universal.  Everyone suffers from it in some form or other.  And there are as many different types of stress reduction techniques and methods it seems!  You can distress using medications or herbs; incorporate diet and exercise changes into your life; meditate; do calming deep breathing exercises that have a soothing effect on your nervous system and so on.  

Now I’m not one for medicating if I can do something “natural”, by which I mean non-invasive (I definitely do not think some yoga positions are in any way “natural” – well not for me anyway! LOL)  Anyway, one interesting stress busting method I’ve heard a lot about is guided imagery.

Guided imagery is a technique for stress reduction that uses directed thoughts and images to guide your mind up a path to a more relaxed and focused state.  It is based on the concept that your mind and body are connected and what the mind suggests, the body can feel and experience.  So when the mind is becoming calmer and more relaxed, the body follows.  In essence you “think” yourself into becoming less stressed. 

I am a strong believer in the power of the mind and this technique has been shown to have powerful effects.  But it does need practice.  Guided imagery can be done by using CDs, scripts or with the help of a trained instructor.  A friend of mineclaims that when the guided imagery session is complete, he feels calmer, more focused, better physically and less stressed.  And it seems he’s not the only one.

In fact, when guided imagery is used on a regular basis as part of a stress reduction program, it can combine with other relaxation techniques to produce much lower overall levels of stress and longer lasting feelings of relaxation and of being more capable of dealing with life’s stresses.

And like all stress relief programs, guided imagery can help lower blood pressure.  But it can also be used to deal with pain, and help the body heal itself quicker.  And it can also be a useful tool in your armory when battling weight loss or want to kick your smoking habit. 

Actually, I’ve read so much about it recently that I think I’m definitely going to try it.  If you’ve done it, let me know how you’ve found it.