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What chronic stress looks like in motherhood…
Your whole life you looked forward to the day you would become someone’s mama. You nourished and loved your baby from the very beginning. The moment you laid eyes on that precious screaming, bright red baby your heart burst into a million pieces. It was the happiest moment of your life. What you didn’t realize is that chronic stress in motherhood can have an effect on your personal health.
Then, reality set in. You had no energy from lack of sleep and lack of nutrient dense food. You were scrambling in the kitchen to try to eat a piece of toast while bouncing the baby. You found yourself shoveling food into your mouth the moment you have two hands free because you didn’t know the next opportunity you’d have to feed yourself. You didn’t recognize your body when you looked in the mirror.
“Who is that person,” you wondered? “Will I ever feel or look like me again?”
The challenges with breaking free from chronic stress…
Exercise was a total joke. You didn’t have the energy to workout, and who was going to watch the baby? Anxiety swooped in, as you worried constantly about the little human you were responsible for. Every cough, sneeze, fever, and irregular bowel movement had you jumping onto google only to be left thinking your baby picked up a terrible infectious disease from the supermarket.
While your baby is growing and thriving, you find yourself completely unbalanced both physically and emotionally. You tell yourself, eat more fruits and vegetables, join a gym with childcare, but your good intentions don’t come to fruition because you’re overwhelmed by the intensity of caring for other humans.
The stress changes as your kids grow…
As your children grow older the challenges shift. You find yourself driving your kids all over town for their after school practices, coming home to finish homework, attending to your children’s emotional roller coasters. Your anxiety shifts to a whole new set of “what if” scenarios as you try your best to protect your children from the scary outside world.
No matter what stage of motherhood you are in, new mom, seasoned mom, or empty nester, you know all too well the physical and emotional toll of being a mother.
This is what chronic stress looks like in motherhood!
When you became a mama you probably didn’t calculate all the challenges you would experience on a personal level. Not to say you wouldn’t do it all over again in a heartbeat, because you would! No matter how challenging your children have made your life they are still the best part of your life.
However, you still feel physically and emotionally out of balance. You likely know that when you eat better you feel better, and when you exercise you have more energy, and that finding a personal mindfulness practice can reduce your stress. But the idea of incorporating these aspects of a healthy lifestyle into your busy mama life is too much for your brain to handle. You’re in survival mode. You begin diets that aren’t sustainable. You join a gym you never visit. You practice 5 minutes of mindfulness and never return to it. You feel stuck!
For more information on the science behind chronic stress and your health check out this article from the Mayo Clinic.
3 Steps to Break Free from Chronic Stress
- You need to know what you want in order to get there.
Develop a vision for your ideal health and happiness. Think about exactly, and specifically you what you want your life to look like in the future when you’ve eliminated your stress. How do you feel? How do you look? What are you doing? Who are you with? What is possible for you now? An example could be something like this…I feel my body with energy and health while living life to the fullest with my kids. I am calm and at peace. I’m fueling my body with nutrient rich whole foods, and finding time to practice yoga weekly.
2. Now that you know what you want, make a plan!
Develop a step-by-step plan to move in the direction of your vision for health. What are your specific goals. Do you want more time to meditate? Do you want to finally lose those stubborn pounds? Do you want to feel a sense of peace and calm in your everyday life? When you know your goals, ask yourself what are the obstacles that could get in the way of you reaching your goals. What are your roadblocks. Now that you know your roadblocks, make a plan for how you’re going to deal with them when they come around.
3. Gather Support
Tell your friends and family that you’re on a journey to transform your health. Ask them for support. Having the help of a coach to keep you accountable, and think through your vision, goals, and roadblocks can help you reach you stay on track and gain greater clarity.
Time, Energy and Commitment
As one of my favorite quotes says, “If it’s important to you, you will find a way. If not you’ll find an excuse.” When you reach the point where you’re ready to take action in your life to make significant changes to improve your physical and emotional health, you’ll find a way to make it happen. Time, kids, money, obligations will always be there, but change is possible when the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain to change.
You’re health and happiness is worth the effort. If you neglect your physical and emotional health it will take a toll on not only you but the rest of your family. When you’re not at your best you can’t perform at your best and that translates into the way you interact with your family.
Answer the following questions to determine if you’re ready to commit to yourself…
Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?
Are you done making excuses and ready to take action to improve your health and happiness?
Are you done dieting and ready to adopt a healthy lifestyle?
Do you want to feed your whole family nutritious foods?
Do you desire to implement stress management strategies to help you cope with your crazy mom life?
Do you want to have more energy to play and engage with your children?
Do you want to regain your sense of self and make yourself a priority in your life?
If you answered yes, you’re ready to set yourself free from chronic stress, and make the changes necessary to feel like yourself again and return to peace.
For more on mindfulness and mood, check out my article on beginning a mindfulness practice.