The Secret of a Stress-Resistant Mom
It’s 9:30 a.m. and we have already been up and going for three hours now.
I have all three kids outside playing, and things are going smoothly until…BAM. I can’t even pinpoint why the shift occurred, but I am just feeling irritable.
The kids are bombarding the next door neighbor as she is trying to go out for a bike ride, my youngest is beginning to fuss for his next feeding, and I’m trying to catch my little girl and corral her inside as she runs away from me.
And I feel it rise.
You know…the inner volcano, bubbling. I’m losing the buffer-zone of patience and calm. It’s at this moment, when that first flickering of overwhelm starts up, I remember — I fed everyone else breakfast but myself. I’m hungry.
Do you know how quickly a hungry mom becomes a stressed-out mom?
If you are me, the answer is fast. Very. Very. Fast.
I have a loose “checklist” of things I’ve come to identify and understand about myself and how I manage and handle stress. I have also figured out what works well for me in keeping myself resilient in the face of high-stress times: restoration techniques that are fast-acting, diffuse my inner overwhelm, disarm the stress response, and help me keep my composure even in the most intense situations.
Sometimes, like this morning, just being aware that I am shifting into a stress mode, gives me the pause I need to identify what I could do to set myself back on-course.
And sometimes, I need a deeper look into what is off because my stress levels seem to be rising way too often or feeling way too intense.
Here are a few of my personal check in points.
- I check in with my nutrition. — Have I eaten? What have I eaten? Which foods might help turn things around right now? (I know specific key foods that help me calm down, become centered and grounded, and help me nourish my body. A healthy body has the reserves to handle stress much more easily than a nutrient-starved one.)
- I check in with my time management. — Am I taking on too much, in this moment? Am I “checking out” with too many trips to the computer? Do I have a sense of schedule for my day? Am I anxious about a to-do list that I’ve assigned myself?
- I check in with my home environment. — Is the house cluttered? Have we been inside for too long? Could I shift the mood quickly — put on music, open the windows, or go into a different room?
- I check in with my self-care maintenance. — Have I given myself alone time, lately? Have I gone for a walk in the woods, lately? Have I stretched, moved, and massaged my body, lately? Have I breathed deep, calm breaths, lately? Have my inner thoughts and inner dialogue been positive and encouraging or negative and corrosive?
- I check in with levity, laughter, and joy. — Have I laughed much today/lately? Have I spent time in prayer, talking, listening to the Lord? Have I tuned-in to the wonder of life, of being alive? Have I spent time doing something I love, just for the sake of happiness? Have I read something inspirational? Have I talked with a good friend? Have I had quality, loving time with my husband?
By knowing these things about myself, I have a guide, a way back on track.
By knowing the subtle cues my body and thoughts give off that stress is starting to take over, I can correct them before I blow up.