Are you a mother grappling with the overwhelming demands of life with a child or teen? You're not alone. Managing the responsibilities of motherhood alongside other obligations can become a daunting task, leading to stress and even psychosomatic symptoms. However, there are ways to take some of that burden off your plate and regain control of your life.
Listen to Your Body:
One crucial strategy is to tune in to your body's signals. Our bodies have a limit, and when our minds reach their capacity, physical symptoms such as headaches, tummy aches, and sleep problems can emerge. Recognizing these signals is the first step to managing your stress effectively.
Ditch the All-Or-Nothing Thinking:
Picture your life as a plate. Perfectionists tend to overcrowd their plates with negative beliefs and unrealistic expectations of themselves and others. This can lead to people saying "yes" to tasks they can't handle to avoid upsetting others. It's time to break free from this all-or-nothing thinking pattern.
Stop 'Shoulding' on Yourself:
Do you often feel guilty when you have downtime and think you "should" be doing something else? Remember, it's important to stop 'shoulding' on yourself. Become aware of your thinking patterns and learn to combat those negative thoughts.
Learn to Say 'No':
"NO" is a complete sentence. You can also say, "Not right now." When you're asked for something you can't handle, it's perfectly acceptable to say "no" or set reasonable restrictions on your commitments. You cannot please everyone, and saying 'no' upfront is often better than failing to deliver later.
Self-Care Is Personal:
Self-care is about what works for you. Prioritize your time based on your values and standards. Find the right balance between your work, love, and play activities, ensuring you dedicate time to activities that bring you joy. Remember, self-care is not just about your children; it's about you.
Taking time to care for your emotional, physical, and mental well-being is vital. When your plate is full, make space for quality time with your loved ones and focus on what truly matters.
If you're concerned about your mental health, don't hesitate to reach out to a therapist specializing in maternal mental health. You can find support from organizations like LifeWithABaby (https://www.lifewithababy.com/blog/1108780) or explore various online resources like MomsOverMatter (https://momsovermatter.ca/). Your well-being matters, and help is always available."
Annabella Hagen, "What's on your plate? Stress Management Strategies", PsychCentral, 2016. (no longer available online)