By: Kelly Blumenthal
My name is Kelly and I found out recently that I am known around my friends as the ‘queen of stress’. I often have fellow moms reach out to me with the main topic of stress and quite honestly, it seems to be a ruler in everyone’s life; moms, dads, teens, and even kids. Stress can really take a toll on not just your body but your mentality. It can steal your spirit, put you in a dark place and become so toxic.
I guess my circle refers to me as a stress queen because on paper, it seems I have a lot of it in my life. My son is special needs, having had 16 procedures and two open heart surgeries but most recently, a stroke. That alone seems to send shivers down fellow mama’s spines, but just like any typical household we have your other bonus stresses too. You know: school, daily life, doctors appointments, missing the PTO meeting because you forgot not just what day it was but what month it even was.
I wish I had a magic answer for how to cope with stress. I often take tips and trips from other friends, but in an effort to help others I wanted to pass on some small, but possibly mighty, things that have helped me along my journey. And remember, everyone is different so you may need to have a little trial and error before you find some things that are right for you.
10 Ways To Deal with Stress as a Busy Mom
1. Find what works.
Easy right? What makes you happy? Pottery class. Candy crush. Chocolate. A good book. Sappy movie. Call to a friend. Coffee with a coworker. It’s important to recognize what things make you happy and believe me, the little things really do matter.
2. Toxic air.
Just as things that make you happy are important, things that DON’T make you happy are even more critical to recognize. A relative, place, smell, food, sound, word... if you know something triggers you, trash it, toss it, run as far away from it as possible. Do NOT give it any excuse to stay.
3. Tell your people what you need.
Don’t ever be afraid to be honest with your tribe and let them know what you need. Sometimes it’ll be tough for them to hear, but if they are your people they won’t judge you or run from you. If you need space, time, a sleep over to vent; whatever you need be honest with them and allow them the opportunity to be there for you.
4. Just say thank you.
If someone is lending a hand to help, whether that be a meal, watch your kids, help with homework, just say thank you and accept the help! Do not try to be brave and say ‘we are ok’. If someone is offering to help it means they legitimately want to help. Let them! Life isn’t about keeping score on who helps who more, it’s about falling together but raising together. Allow people to do so for you. Your time will come to help others later, don’t worry.
5. Baby steps. Or even new born steps.
Stop overwhelming yourself with 9,182,739 what ifs. Take it one day at a time or even one second at at time. Allow yourself grace to breath.
6. Take time for you but on your own time.
It used to drive me bonkers when people would try and force ‘me time’ on me. What’s wrong with wanting to be with my kids all the time?!?! I love them and they make me happy. ‘Me time’ is what you make it. My me times are uninterrupted showers, cat videos on YouTube before I fall asleep, and sometimes I stay out in the car some extra time to eat alone or play on my phone just because in that moment I need it. Advocate for yourself if you need it, but don’t pressure yourselves mamas! We are all different.
7. Stop making to do lists. Make goals lists.
Sometimes life is about perspective. My to do lists are so mundane and depressing. Just switching that word to ‘goals’ makes me feel like laundry has not only been checked off, but dominated! I need that boost sometimes.
8. Freeze your problems.
One thing that I have been doing since I was in college is freezing my problems. If there’s something on my mind really bugging me, whether I’m talking about it aloud or not, I’ll write it down on a note card, put it in the freezer, and revisit it in 24 hours. If it’s still that bad in 24 hours then I tell myself I need to figure out a solution. But guess what? Half the time I forget about it and realize it never really mattered anyway.
9. Peak and the pit.
It’s all about perspective with this one. Each night, before I go to bed, I tell myself my peak and the pit of the day. I always start with the pit. What’s the toughest thing that happened to me that day? Then end with the peak. The best thing. And you know what? I can bet you money you’ll always find a peak.
10. Life is short.
Make sure you are very picky about the people that you have in your life. Surround yourself with positive, uplifting, and inspiring people. Invest your time in those that brighten your life and make you laugh. Quality over quantity.
Everyone has stress momma. Be kind to yourself.
Kelly is published author, volunteer pioneer, Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) advocate, and proud stay at home mom. She loves watching The Office and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Her book, Faces of Finn, is available for purchase. All proceeds benefit the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.