Taking Care of Mom is Essential for the Family

If you think about it, the family, in all its different styles and configuration is truly an amazing thing. Each person plays a role in the dynamic that you find, and each person is a unique and extremely important part of the group. A mother is no exception. Without a mother figure in a family, it doesn’t quite seem to work as well. Many times the mother will act as mediator, the glue that holds the family together, and sometimes the disciplinarian. As a mother, you have a number of roles to fill, and it is important, no essential that you take care of yourself, both for your sake and that of your family’s.

But finding the time to de-stress and take care of you can be a challenging task. Chances are your day begins before anyone else, and ends only when they are asleep in their beds. If you’re searching for ways to take care of yourself, if only for a few moments at a time, here are some quick-and fun- ways to put Mom first.

Listen to the Music

Whether you enjoy gospel, R&B, bluegrass or opera, finding the time to slip your mp3 player into your hand, some ear phones on your ears and listen to some great music is a great choice. Music has been shown time and again to help reduce stress, and change a person’s mood in a moment’s time. Granted, if your kids catch you dancing around the living room you’ll get some strange looks, but hey, if the song is good enough, why not?

Take the Time to Worship and Study

Perhaps one of the first things that most moms will give up in their hectic lives is the time that they spend in spiritual matters. It’s an easy thing to do, really. Between running around with the kids, making sure the budget is balanced, and entertaining a growing circle of friends and associates, spending time on such intangible matters often takes a back seat. It is important to remember, however, that you are not just a body alone. Just as your physical body needs nourishment, your spiritual side needs something as well. Taking care of you means taking care of all of yourself.

Put it all into Perspective

Often times, mothers will slip and lose their sense of perspective. When you down in the trenches dealing with everyday life, it can be difficult to really see the bigger picture. However, seeing the larger scope of things can be a great way to help reduce stress and help to prioritize what needs to be done. One of my favorite ways is to do this is to keep a quote book. It’s just a simple notebook that has a number of my favorite quotes from friends and family, or famous people. A quick glance through is a great way for me to get my point of view straightened out when everything else seems so topsy-turvy.

Take a Hike

One of the important aspects of taking care of yourself and your family is to get regular exercise. And it doesn’t have to mean going to a boring gym, or trying to follow an exercise DVD full of entirely too enthusiastic instructors. Instead, you and your family could go for a hike in the woods. Or, if the weather isn’t cooperating, consider walking around the mall with your teenager daughter or son. The amusement you’ll get when they accidentally meet up with their friends will be well worth the price of your window shopping. Getting regular exercise, no matter what form is an essential part of taking your health seriously.

There are many ways that you can make sure that your health and well being are in top form. These are just a few, and chances are with all the reasons you have to keep healthy, you can think of a few more. Remember, as a mother, you are an integral part of any family unit. Everyone depends on you to be healthy in every sense of the word. Take care of yourself!

Stress: What it is, and How to recognize it

Just about everyone has felt it at some point. The quickening of your breath, the aches in your shoulders, even the beating of your heart gets faster. We hear about stress all the time, but do you really know what it is, and how it can manifest in your life? Here are a few surefire ways to recognize it, and the effect that it is having on you and your body.

Generally speaking, stress is something in a situation, action or thought that can make you feel frustrated, angry or anxious. Specifically what may cause stress to your neighbor or brother probably won’t be as stressful for you and vice versa. Everyone has different stress triggers.

Of course, this definition can be a bit useless because it is so broad. In most cases, a better way to handle stress is to recognize what symptoms it has, or how it manifests in your daily life. One of the most debilitating symptoms is that of anxiety. Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear, especially when the source of such feelings cannot be easily ascertained. This not knowing often adds to the feeling, making it worse than before.

Other symptoms associated with stress often depend on the situation, and the person suffering from undue stress. For example, one person may feel tension in their shoulders, while another will feel nauseous. If faced with a stressful situation, your neighbor might break out in a sweat, while your mouth feels dry as a desert. Often a prolonged exposure to stress will lead to higher blood pressure and other health problems as well. The physical symptoms vary widely, and it can be hard to recognize them for what they are. In most cases however, if the stress is removed, the symptoms will dissipate soon after.

In addition to the mental symptoms that can signify a rise in stress levels, there are some mental ones that should be considered. First, people under high levels of stress find it difficult to concentrate. Thoughts might become jumbled, or incomplete. Add to that the frustration and anger normally felt under times of stress, it can be easily seen why undue stress has become such a problem in today’s society.

It should be noted, however, that not all stress is bad. In truth, stress, in small quantities can be beneficial. A small amount of stress allows us to test our potential limits, to grow and change to meet new challenges. One way to think of stress is like a weight on an exercise machine, offering resistance to our muscles. Too much stress (or weight) and the muscles or ourselves are damaged. But if there is no resistance, over time we lose our strength, both physically and mentally.

If you feel that you might be experiencing undue stress, take a quick inventory of your body and mind. Are there any aches or pains that can’t be explained away through previous injuries? Are you snapping to judgment and being more irritable than normal? Do you often feel sick to the stomach in a given situation? If you have answered yes to any of these, there is a good chance that the situation that you are in could be causing you stress. By learning to recognize the symptoms of stress for what they are, you can learn how to adjust your life to alleviate their impact.

Stress: Common Causes and Treatment Options

We’ve all felt stress at many points in our lives. For many it is dismissed as simply a part of our existence, but when it becomes too much it can help to aggravate feelings of anxiety and diminish our well being. When that happens, the stress that a person is feeling needs to be dealt with effectively, either through home remedies, or possibly with the help of professional care. In either case, the first step is to recognize some of the common causes of stress. That way, if treatment becomes necessary, you can more easily chose the correct one.

Causes of Stress

Unfortunately the specific causes of stress can vary widely from person to person and situation to situation. For example, some medications, or recreational drugs have side effects that include anxiety. Other causes of stress include a demanding workload, underlying health problems, and even relationships. Whatever the causes, they certainly need to be addressed for any treatment option to work effectively.
Perhaps the most effective first step in discovering the causes of your stress and anxiety is to take a personal inventory. Start by sitting down and taking a deep breath. Then ask yourself a series of questions, and be prepared to give honest and complete answers.

  • What is constantly on your mind?
  • What worries you the most right now?
  • Does something in particular make you sad or have feelings of depression?
  • How is your workload? Has it become too much?

Ask yourself these questions, and also try to keep a diary or a journal of thoughts or actions that seem to be associated with your anxiety or increase in stress levels. While these exercises may seem pointless at the time, soon, you’ll begin to see a pattern. Soon you’ll be able to link the triggers of your increased stress with various thoughts, actions or situations. By knowing the root causes of your stress and anxiety, you’ll be able to better treat them.

Treatment Options

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to help alleviate stress is to talk with someone. Often have a good conversation with a friend or a loved one is all that is needed to relieve anxiety and help put your world into perspective.

In addition, there are a number of different ways to cope with the stress you experience in your life. For starters, take a look at your diet. Eating a well-balanced diet can help to maintain your blood pressure, reduce your cholesterol, and help to alleviate feelings of indigestion, which is a common symptom of too much stress. Also, consider trying to get more rest. In today’s world, very few of us get the sleep that we need on a regular basis. The normal adult needs somewhere between seven and ten hours of sleep a night to function well. How much are you getting? Also, try to eliminate or at least limit your consumption of alcohol, nicotine, or other recreational drugs. Often these substances will cause more harm than good, especially if you are under a high stress situation.

Finally, consider learning how to meditate or perform relaxing breathing exercises. You would be surprised how much you’ll relax once you start to meditate on a regular basis.

When to Call the Doctor

Of course, there might be situations where all these home methods are simply not as effective as you wish them to be. Sometimes in order to deal with the underlying causes of stress, you might need to call in professional health. There is absolutely no shame in doing so; millions of people a year ask for help with wonderful results. The stigma of asking for help in regards to your mental and physical health is lifting rapidly, and with good reason.

Often, making the choice to talk to your doctor isn’t so much about the symptoms of stress, but rather how they are affecting your life. If your levels of stress and anxiety have become so overwhelming that you can no longer function at the same level you were before, a call to your doctor is in order. Another reason to call your health professional is when you cannot pinpoint the cause or source of your feelings, or if you have a sudden, uncontrollable feeling of panic. Together the two of you should be able to plan a method of dealing with your stress and anxiety. Be sure to discuss any medications you are already taking, including over the counter ones. There are a number of anti-anxiety medications that will often interact with other medicines – so knowing what’s in your medicine chest is extremely important.

Once you are at your doctor’s office, you can expect a review of your medical history, a physical examination, as well as a detailed conversation with your doctor concerning your life in general, as well as the symptoms that you are experiencing. This is done not to waste time, but rather so that other medical causes for your symptoms can be ruled out. Once this is accomplished, your doctor will determine if you do need to see a mental health professional and can often offer a recommendation.

The causes of stress and anxiety can certainly vary from person to person, and treatment options can very just as widely. Finding the most effective ways to treat your stress and anxiety can be a long process, and often a combination of different ideas will work the best.

The Importance of Implementing Time Management Tools

Learning how to manage your time wisely and efficiently is essential to just about everyone, in both their professional and personal lives. Proper time management can help you in a number of different areas in your life, and here are some of the most notable.

Physical Health

Believe it or not, learning how to budget your time wisely and use the time management tools available to you every day can be an integral part in maintaining your overall health. By utilizing things such as schedules, appointments, and even traveling more efficiently, you are able to find more time to exercise and eat a more healthy diet. Even on your most hectic days, proper time management techniques can help you find a few minutes here and there to get the exercise and nutrition that you need.

Expands Your Mental Horizons

How many times have you said to yourself “I can’t think about that now!” Well, one of the ways that time management techniques can be a benefit is by allowing you the time to think about things outside the daily scope of your life. By challenging yourself mentally – doing a crossword puzzle, playing an online strategy game, or even reading a magazine that challenges you can be wonderful ways to get your brain working. Something as simple as setting timer to let you know when the laundry is done is a great way to allow you to schedule some time for some mental exercises.

Contribute to Society

Except for a select few, most of us try to contribute and draw from the neighborhood around us each day. Whether it is taking the time to call the neighbor across the street, or saying hello to the postal carrier, each one of us interacts on a daily basis with the people around us. However, if you chose not to manage your time wisely, the moments that you spend learning and growing with your neighbors will be few and far between. Humans as a rule are social creatures – in most cases we need social interaction to live and thrive. Why deny yourself the possibility of discovering something new in your own neighborhood? By implementing a few simple time management tools, you’ll be able to have the time to sit down on your front porch and visit with a neighbor. Who knows what you may learn.

Making the Most of Your Career

One of the many aspects of leading a full and busy life is that often work and school schedules will impact your home life. Learning how to use proper time management skills and techniques can be a great way to help minimize that impact. Simple things such as having a daily “to-do” list, or a knowing the estimated time to complete each task is a great way to help make sure your work day doesn’t turn into your entire day.

Help with Emotional Overload

Sometimes, even the best of us get overwhelmed. Whether it is stress from the job, or friction in a relationship, there are many things that can take an emotional toll on a person. However, a few time management techniques used here and there can mean a world of difference in reducing your stress levels and emotional tolls. Something as simple as setting your alarm clock fifteen minutes early for some “me-time” or having Wednesday night dinner is take out can be great ways to help lighten your load.

Finding Your Spiritual Center

It has been said that after the essentials of food, water and shelter have been met, humans by their very nature will turn to ideas and thoughts of more spiritual nature. In truth, the spiritual aspect of your life, whether you believe in a high power, or simply the power of the human spirit is no less important than making sure your life, and career is in order. This perhaps is the one area where proper time management techniques can offer the greatest hope and help. By using your time and efforts more efficiently, you can be more open to exploring things of an otherworldly nature.

These are just six of the many areas that proper time management tools can help. By implementing just a few of them, you’ll soon find that your days will become richer and more fulfilling. Having the time to do what you were meant to do, instead of only doing what you have to do is very fulfilling indeed.

Stressing Out Your Heart

Like it or not, stress will affect your physical body. We have all felt the aches in our neck and shoulders, the indigestion, even the stiffness that can come with elevated levels of stress. There is one organ, however, that is often affected much more than any other by stress. It is your heart. Most people, however, don’t realize exactly how stress can directly affect a person’s heart. Here are just a few of the ways.

Long Term Stress Can Trigger Heart Complications

While short term stress is temporary, by definition chronic stress is long term, and therefore can contribute to a number of problems. One of the most notable is that increased levels of stress can trigger an underlying heart condition. When a person is under stress, their heart automatically works harder and pumps more blood through the system, preparing it to either fight or flee from the situation. If the heart muscle has to do this on a regular basis, it will most certainly weaken, leading to a time in the future where it can no longer handle the demands placed on it by the body.

What You Eat Affects Your Heart

While you might have heard that a morning cup of coffee is bad for your blood pressure, in most cases, you can drink a normal size cup without any real problems. What does cause a problem is the amount of sugary, low fiber and high fat content foods consumed on a daily basis, often with the coffee in question. Foods that are low in fiber, highly processed, and loaded with sugar can lead to a build-up in the arteries of fat deposits, which make your heart have to work that much harder just to get the blood flowing. Often, a person’s hypertension can be managed through simple changes in their diet; so it stands to reason that trying to eliminate overly processed foods might be a place to start.

Loss or Suffering Can Add Stress to Your Heart

Nearly everyone has experienced a loss at some time in their lives. Whether it is the loss of a relative, a friend or colleague, the added stress of the emotional turmoil that is felt during the grieving process can place a great amount of stress on a person. This added stress can also lead to an increased heart rate on a regular basis, feelings of depression or anxiety, and poor eating and exercise habits. All these factors can contribute to an unhealthy heart. In addition, if past experience has not been good, as in someone suffering from an abusive relationship, the chronic stress on the heart can be very damaging indeed.

What Can Be Done?

As you can see, there are a lot of factors that can contribute to the health, or sickness of your heart; only a few of them has been listed here. Thankfully, there are ways to cope with these stressors in your life, and most of them are fairly easy to accomplish. The first is to realize that not all stress is bad. Temporary stress, something that challenges you to grow and change both mentally and physically can be a good thing. Things such as being challenged by a complicated math problem, or pushing yourself to do a few more repetitions in your exercise routine is a great way to strengthen both your mind and your heart.

Another great way to reduce the effects of chronic stress on the heart is to find ways to alleviate it on a regular basis. These can include anything from having a weekly Tuesday lunch with friends, or participating in a worship service. Some find going for a bike ride to be therapeutic, while other people find curling up with a great book to be the most relaxing way to reduce stress. Other people will take up a form of meditation, or an exercise such as yoga or tai chi. Whichever method or methods you chose; it is a great idea to do whatever you can to reduce the affect that stress has on you.

Of course, in order to combat stress, it is important to recognize it for what it is. Sometimes, however, that is easier said than done. If you know what to look for, the warning signs of increasing levels of stress, you can certainly make some changes to bring your stress levels under control. For example, did you know that those extra ten to twenty pounds that you are carrying around could be an indicator of your stress level? Often people will temporarily try to relieve their stress by fluctuating between not eating and all, or eating way to much in one sitting. This leads the body to not know where or when their next source of food and energy will be coming from, so it will store energy in the form of fat. If you have a few pounds that you just can’t seem to lose, consider taking an inventory of your life and seeing what level of stress you have.

Besides altering your diet and exercise plans, another factor that can help reduce stress is the amount of sleep you get each night. Many people are affected by stress more intensely because they simple don’t have enough energy to cope with the stressor effectively. Providing your body with at least seven to ten hours a sleep per night is one of the best ways to bring your stress levels to a bearable amount.

Your heart and your body are truly on the front lines in your battle to deal with the many stressors in your life. By understanding how stress can affect your heart and ultimately your health, you can find ways to better combat the effects. From getting regular exercise, to eating a regular and healthy diet, and spending quality time with friends and family, you can make sure that your heart, body and mind remains healthy for a very long time.