Some days it all feels so relentless, the whatsapp groups are pinging while you’re trying to answer work emails and your children are asking you for snacks or help with their homework. It’s like an impossible task to concentrate on everyone and their needs and get it all right – you want to scream, somethings got to give. We are busy and stressed mums.
I get it.
Nowadays, more than ever we are bombarded with too many people needing too much from us. I have definitely struggled in the past with trying to meet everyone’s expectations resulting in burnout and being over stressed.
What is stress?
We mostly know what stress is. We can feel the emotion and physical tension, but do we really know what continued stress does to us?
As your body perceives stress, it releases cortisol which increases your heart rate and blood pressure. This is great for ‘fight or flight’ and not a problem for the odd occasion, like when you have a deadline and need to punch it out. But when you keep your body in a permanent state of stress, which is not difficult given our fast-paced lives, there are some very real and serious side effects.
Types of stress we may experience:
- Common stress, the one that accumulates on us day-to-day like work, childcare, relationships, illness, becoming a parent, loss of pregnancy, finances…the list goes on and then life throws us
- sudden changes, such as a family loss or job loss
- traumatic stress, which can occur due to extreme trauma as a result of a severe accident, an assault, an environmental disaster, or war].
- Intestinal problems, such as constipation, bloating and diarrhea
- Anxiety or depression
- Weight gain
- Increased blood pressure
- Low libido, problems with regular ovulation or menstrual periods
- Difficulty recovering from exercise
- Poor sleep
I’m not really telling you anything new am I? So, how do we reduce stress when we are so busy?
Start by making one or two small and achievable changes that can easily become a habit.
Expert tip: Do not start big, start small. Otherwise you will overwhelm yourself. Manage your expectations of what is achievable as an already stressed mum. Small steps forward are better than not steps at all.
4 Stress Reducers
is your first port of call and by just improving your sleep you can genuinely make a significant indent on your daily stress. Get more on sleep in my sleep blog.
2. Try and enjoy the small things
Take a moment to pause, even if it’s just for 10 minutes when you’re playing with your kid/s, chatting to a friend or taking a hot bath. Doing things we enjoy sparks dopamine and serotonin which helps keep the cortisol in check. (I’d love to tell you that I meditate for half an hour a day, but personally that doesn’t work for me and so instead I take my dog for a walk which clears my head and time in nature to reset)
3. Watch the sugar spikes
When we get stressed, we can often overeat or veer towards grabbing fast highly saturated or sugar filled goodies that are calorific. These usually lead to spikes and then dips in blood sugar and mood. This is not sustainable in the long run, most importantly because nutrition is key to managing stress. My nutrition blog will help with some additional tips.
As much as us busy mamas are so knackered that we can’t even think about going for a walk, let alone a run, initially, we have to force ourselves. Why? Because thankfully, our bodies will respond and produce more happy hormones and lower our cortisol which helps us to sleep better. Do what you enjoy, it’s about moving, not about subscribing to a fitness programme. If Pilates is your thing great! If not – don’t worry. I’ve recently taken up paddle boarding and I love it. I look forward to doing it, which makes me want to stick with it.
We will never be completely rid of stress but we can introduce habits that help us cope and keep chronic stress at bay. If you want more guidance on how to have better lifestyle habits as a busy mum?
- What kind of busy mum are you? Take my quiz and find out, then get access to tips, tools and techniques to guide you.
- I created a Healthy Hacks Digital Guide for Busy Career Mums who want to build healthier & sustainable habits so you can thrive. Find out more and buy here.
- Join my free community Healthy Thriving Career Mums, all dealing with their stressors (you are not alone!). It is full of resources and 8 free masterclasses.