Here are some stress management tips from a mother of Irish twins, you know I’ve needed them!
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Yes, some people have it worse, like those quintuplet moms! They don’t need stress management they need professionals (seriously how do you get anything done ever?). As it is, my two little ones keep me plenty busy.
Today we were up at 6 AM and I really can’t complain, my kids, sleep really well, eat well, and are generally well-behaved. But nap time came and went without any sleep from my son. He is almost 18 months old now and he is getting his molars and he seems miserable.
That’s why nap time is so important though. It’s literally when his body can reset and regenerate and restore itself. It’s also when I can have some quiet time, kind of. Because I have my daughter too and I can’t tell you how many times he has finally closed his eyes when hers pop open.
The stress (management) sets in.
Because there are still dishes in the sink, I haven’t vacuumed in I don’t know how long, but I can’t even see the floor. So I have to figure out what order of operations to employ. If my daughter went from 0 to 60 then she is the first priority, because she’ll only wake him up anyway. Then if she falls asleep I’ll do the household things but if she is awake I will try to get work done.
This is all because I work from home and take care of my kids most of the day. Luckily, my husband is available most days but our children are still my main priority, and that’s the way I like it. But when I have big projects to get done and I see the timeline shrinking, I can’t just lose my cool.
So I’ve learned some vital stress management techniques to get through those times.
Stress usually means exhaustion, irritability, and being overall tense. When I am stressed out, my hair falls out, I am distracted, and my breathing is erratic. My husband complains that I don’t listen, but it’s not that I’m not listening (usually haha) it’s that my brain is not processing the information.
Other signs of stress include overeating, not eating enough, normal bodily functions get out of whack, some people bite their nails, and so on. It’s important to stress management to learn the signs of stress because they are not always so obvious. For myself, I will walk around with incredibly tense shoulders, pain in my lower back and I’m usually clenching my jaw. These are all subconcious things that my body does in response to stress that I hardly pay attention to.
Acknowledge and accept your body’s response is key to stress management.
It’s one of those things, you can’t fix the problem unless you admit there is one. In my life, I always equated adulthood with shouldering burdens and carrying that weight around with you everywhere you go. How wrong was I?
No, the first thing you have to do is figure out what it is for you and your life to mean ‘I am stressed out’. This is something that is different for everyone and unless you recognize the signs, you can’t do anything about it. I suggest journaling as a great way to discover those habits as well as the triggers in many cases.
Once you identify the issue and the body’s response then come up with a few plans of action. There are some triggers you cannot do anything about. I grew up in a chaotic and often toxic household, I knew this but I had to learn coping mechanisms as I went. Some of those coping mechanisms were helpful and many were hurtful.
One thing I used to do when I was very clearly stressed out was get outside. Whether it was a walk around the block, or I sat on my porch, getting out of the environment that was triggering stress in me was an immediately palpable relief. A hurtful one was I would sometimes be sneaking out of my house like any ‘good’ teenager does, to do what any ‘good’ teenager does when they’re out and about in the middle of the night.
It’s not enough to manage stress if you’re doing it in an unhealthy way.
Alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and so on are instant gratification type of stress relief. They can be something that will immediately trigger the body’s response to relax. The problem with that is that you are teaching your body to need these things to relax.
You want to find stress relief tactics that are not going to be compounding the issue or simply burying it. There are a million songs that reference finding themselves at the bottom of a bottle, to mean that alcohol was their “savior” and for stress relief, many depend on it. Until the next day when you have a hangover, and you’re late to class or work, and you have trouble paying attention, and the stress gets worse.
Healthier habits for stress management would be something like herbal tea. My husband and I have herbal tea every night and it has been an amazing addition to our daily routine. It’s something that you can depend on, look forward to, and some even have scientific evidence of helping manage stress. We have essentially “taught” our bodies that hot tea after dinner means ‘relax’.
A daily routine.
I was always opposed to a daily routine. I thought those people were so boring. In a sense I always had a daily routine though, I just didn’t know it.
My morning since eighth grade starts with coffee. You can say whatever you like, yes it is an addictive substance, and yes I drank it through both pregnancies. But I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t know how I would function without coffee.
I’ve had specialists test my blood, I’ve tried alternate ways of waking up, I am a sleepy person. I know plenty of people that can wake up chipper and ready to go. Maybe I started drinking too young to allow my body to produce that ability on its own, I don’t know, I need coffee.
After coffee is workout, shower, and get ready. My husband can wake up and do things on his phone and eventually get coffee and get moving. If I don’t have coffee pretty early on, I’ll just go back to sleep. It’s a superpower of mine.
So I shower, workout, eat, get ready, and do whatever. If the weather is nice I take one or both kids out for a walk, if not I spend that time playing with them and listening to something on my phone.
Working out is my favorite for stress management!
To be honest, I always did enjoy working out. What I didn’t enjoy was when I was picked on for being a muscular girl but I’ve since learned that was their problem, not mine. Working out is a phenomenal form of stress management.
Incorporating a daily workout regimen is something I never thought I would do but I love it! For starters, when you’re stressed out it’s fairly easy to be mad. Mad at your circumstances or yourself or the universe. Working out is a great way to get some of that angst out. Putting all of that bad energy into my muscles feels amazing.
Working also releases a lot of ‘happy chemicals’ in your brain, literally telling your brain to be happy. I like to use it as a form of meditation but you can also pump some really loud angry music if that helps. It used to be what I did but I work out mostly from home now so I like to keep my ears out for my husband or kids. When I get back into a gym I might do that again.
Starting my days with something motivational changed the game.
Having a routine is something your body and brain can rely on, it eliminates the stress that can come from unknown sources. It’s something you can depend on and rely on. Incorporating stress management techniques into your day only enhances this.
Adding things like tea and motivational speakers into your day is setting your brain up to look forward to the next dose of positivity and calmness. Even if I’ve spent my entire day tense and clenching my jaw, those two things are cues for my body and brain to relax.
Who I really like to listen to lately is Les Brown, Tony Robbins and there are a few people in my niche that always have wonderful information and are full of positivity. Tony Robbins recently launched an app, Freedom Guru, that will be available free until September 2020 as far as I know. It’s been amazing to me so far, I love the tempo and information.
You want to try to build in healthy stress relief techniques and eliminate the unknown as much as possible.
Even our daily walk is something myself and my children look forward to. Getting outside in nature has also been noted to have amazing stress relief capabilities.
I know for myself I like to imagine the sunshine warming the stress away and the wind blowing it away. On rainy days I imagine the rain is washing away our blues. If it’s too cold outside or too hot I try to relax and take it as the universe telling us to just take a ‘day off’.
What you tell yourself matters.
It’s so easy to be stressed out. I think I’ve spent the majority of my life to this point is a constant state of stress, so much so that now that I’m not I almost find myself looking for reasons to be stressed out. But I’ve since identified that and this is all how I’ve been turning it around.
I tell myself to ‘just keep swimming’, ‘just breathe’, ‘this too shall pass’ and many times I will count until I get out of my own head. There are times that I’ll count to ten and take a deep breath just to get myself out of the state of mind that I’m in.
Daily affirmations are something I’ve consistently added to my routine as well. They serve as little reminders to stay positive and small doses of happiness especially if my brain starts going on a tangent. I also read my horoscope as another form of daily positivity or reflection.
You might think I’m a little crazy needing all of this reaffirming to stay positive and happy but that just means that I’ve truly learned some of the tricks of the trade. When you spend most of your life in a constant state of stress and negativity you are wiring your brain to think that way.
I’ve spent the majority of my adult life re-wiring those connections in my brain to the ‘positive switch’.
No matter where you are in life and what you’re going through, it is what you make of it. It’s a lot easier to take the negative route because you can blame your circumstances or someone else. Taking responsibility of your stress can be difficult because then you are required to ‘do something’ about it.
I assure you, once you start ‘doing things’ to manage your stress better, your life will improve. Or at least, mine has. I sincerely hope that this helped you though. Life is hard enough without adding stress to your own life.
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