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.

Tips to Reduce Burnout for Busy Moms

Sometimes, it can seem like your day will never end. Between making sure the house is clean, the kids are kept under control, and making sure your husband leaves the house with his briefcase before you leave for work yourself, it’s enough to make any mother exhausted by the time her head hits the pillow. Exhaustion and burn out is a real potential problem for many busy moms, and finding ways to prevent it should be at the top of your priority list. Here are a few of the best ways that moms worldwide have found to reduce the feeling of burnout.

Tip # 1: Organization is your Friend

Perhaps one of the most important lessons that a busy mom needs to learn is that being organized in your daily life can truly be a lifesaver. Being able to quickly find a wet-nap when your child has spilled a sticky, sugary juice box all over herself just before you pull into day care can mean the difference between a few moments of inconvenience, or worrying about how you’re going to get those stains out later. Staying organized is also a great way to keep dinnertime a free-stress zone. By taking a few hours over the weekend to cook the meals for the week, and organize them into microwavable containers, dinner during the week will be easy.

Tip # 2: Be Sure to Make a Connection

It’s safe to say that the majority of what you do each day is for the betterment and growth of you and your family. Unfortunately, with the chaotic and busy lives that moms routinely lead, we forget what it’s all being done for. It is important to remind yourself, each day why you are working so hard. Take the time to connect with your children, your husband, even your best friend down the block. By doing so, you’ll be able to keep everything in perspective. It doesn’t have to be anything spectacular. Sit down with your kids while they eat an after school snack. Talk with them about their day. Tell them about yours. Ask them to tell you the funniest thing that they saw that day during dinner – make it a contest with the winner picking the next meal to have. Take the time to spend some alone time with your husband – a trusted neighbor or a relative can certainly look after the kids for a few hours. By making and maintaining a connection with your family, you’ll start to understand how and when the balance between your work life and home life needs to shift and change. Having this understanding will certainly help prevent burnout in the long term.

Tip # 3: Realize that No One Can Do it All

Psst. I have a secret to tell you. I have yet to meet a mom who tries to do it all, and succeeds. Trying to be all things to all people all the time is one of the best ways to reach burnout at breakneck speeds. What many moms don’t realize though is that help is there for the asking – all you have to do is reach out your hand and say something. Delegate some chores to your husband and children. Ask your neighborhood worship place to see if they have a youth program that can look after your children for a few hours. There are even governmental programs available that can provide low-cost child care or groceries for those times when things get a little lean financially. A busy mom can certainly reduce her amount of stress if she uses the resources that are available to her.

Tip # 4: Reduce Burnout Potential by Balancing Your Life

One of the best ways that I have found to reduce stress in my life is to try to keep everything in balance. As a person, you have physical, mental, and spiritual needs that should be met on a consistent basis. After all, how can you expect to conquer the mountains in front of you if you are not up to the challenge? Before you can truly take care of anyone else, you must be able to take care of you. Often mothers will put even the family pet before their own well being, much to the chagrin of those around them later. So take an hour each day to exercise. Hire a cleaning service if you can. Take the time to read and study a new philosophy, or revisit a classic romance novel from your collection. By making sure there is time for your well being in your life, you’ll find that balance is much easier to maintain.

These are just a few tips that my friends and I have learned over the years to help keep us going. With all that is going on in their lives, it is little wonder why so many moms reach the stage of burnout so quickly. By following a few of these simple tips and by discovering a few more, hopefully your time of burnout will be a thing of the past.