All Articles Tagged "stress"

Too Much To Do, So Little Time: How I Finally Learned To Deal With Stress And Got More Done

February 25th, 2016 - By Erica R. Williams
Share to Twitter Email This

Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

“You have the same amount of time in a day as Beyoncé.”

I heard someone say this in one of the many new-age motivational speeches I ran across on YouTube. I laughed at first, thinking just how cliché it sounded. Then I got a bit offended as I thought about how inconsiderate the speaker was. Beyoncé has help I thought to myself. You know, nannies, assistants, and other paid staff. I just have me.

I was beyond stressed. I was overworked and highly underpaid as I worked a corporate job by day and grinded in between hours and at night to establish my own business. To add another item to an already full plate, I was also a grad student at the time. Not one to properly manage stress, you can only imagine what my mental and physical health was like. I was a mess, and I knew something had to be done before I came all the way undone.

Psychology Today explains stress as “simply a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium.” Basically, stress is something that can shake us up mentally or physically. But here’s a startling piece of information: All stress is not bad. In fact, acute stress can be good for you. Its short-term effects can get you excited about something; but when it lingers for too long, it can be a problem. Chronic stress, the feelings we have of constantly feeling swamped and overworked for long periods of time, isn’t good. But it didn’t take a carefully-crafted article by a Psychology Today writer to let me know that this type of stress could wreak havoc on my life. My failing mental and physical health had already given me the heads up. To add insult to injury, I was doing so much that not much was really getting done. This, of course, stressed me out even more.

Stress had made me even more impatient than I already was, something I’d been working on for so long. Already an individual with a low tolerance level, my inability to cope with stress had made my tolerance level drop from 1 to 0. My memory was bad because I had too many things cluttered up in my brain at one time, vying for attention.

So how did I go from constant feelings of stress and anxiety to a somewhat more productive life? While this might sound like a ‘duh’ revelation, I finally realized that stress was a choice. And though I didn’t want to be stressed, my actions suggested otherwise. I then had to decide that I no longer wished to be in a constant state of anxiety, also known as crazy, depending on you who asked about my unnerving behavior.

After making the decision that I would cope with stress better than I had been, I then needed to take inventory. In my planner full of obligations and notes, I used a sheet to begin tracking my stress habits. I had to decide what tasks I could eliminate from my load. I even had to remove the people who were a waste of my time and interfering with things that I valued more. Then I had to track my time. What was I doing with these 24 hours of the day that both Queen Bey and I had?

Eliminating projects wasn’t easy because each of them were very important to me. What I finally decided to do was simply put some on hold. I didn’t begin a project without finishing another. For someone who was creatively all over the place, this was extremely difficult. All of my projects were “my babies” and it was hard to temporarily part ways with them; but for the sake of my sanity, it had to be done.

After doing all of this and learning to say no to new projects or obligations that I simply didn’t have time for, I soon became a lot more productive. Things were getting done, and my stress levels were down. I didn’t walk around in a constant bad mood. I was actually able to enjoy the process of working, instead of waiting for some magical outcome to make me happy. I also opted out of Team No Sleep. I needed sleep, for both my physical and mental well-being. While I still don’t get nearly as much as I should, I am doing better; and I always listen to my body when it tells me it needs some TLC. When I feel myself trying to tackle more than I can really handle, I remind myself that it is no fun living a life where I always feel behind. Move stress out of the way and make way for peace of mind.

Life Hack: How to Redefine Perfection And Come Out On Top

February 19th, 2016 - By Clarissa Joan
Share to Twitter Email This

peace sign jean shirt short hair

Shutterstock

There are these moments when everything is good, you are surrounded by people that you love, your refrigerator is stocked, your bills are paid, and you are enjoying life. Then your boss requests your monthly report two weeks ahead of schedule, the baby sitter gets sick and cancels for the week, the hot water heater in your basement busts, and you discover that you cannot fit any of your winter clothes from last year. These are what I call the peaks and the valleys of life. It’s the moment your baby smiles at you with those precious eyes and simultaneously lets breakfast explode all over you and the cream lounge chair your sitting in. Who wants that perfect love story anyway?

My week began with my daughter meeting two new friends, Mr. Cold and Mrs. Fever. I’m sure this is one of many play dates they’ll all have during her lifetime, but I was undone by the situation. Thankfully, I got her fever to break within less than 24 hours. None-the-less, I was not enthused about leaving her to go to my evening classes. I planned on turning in my work and skipping out, but class greeted me with a 110 on one midterm. Yay! I decided to stick around.

The middle of our week tangoed with our daughter’s 9-month wellness appointment and my day trip to NYC for a speaking engagement. We left her wellness visit with a clean bill of health! My trip to NYC was a success business-wise, but the night ended with my cab driver accidentally driving into oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the street. Escaping by inches from a head on collision without a seatbelt, I thanked God immensely when I entered my home to the sight of my husband and baby girl peacefully sleeping.

With two amazing business calls completed, my husband not being selected for jury duty, and a surprise invite to a kids party five minutes away from our home, it was TGIF for The Middletons. Genesis looked super cute in her butterfly costume, my husband got the chance to talk beer and sports with other men, and I met another work from home mom happy to share love and war stories. It was the perfect ending to our bi-polar week. But of course my husband gets a call that his store was robbed and he must report to the scene immediately.

None of what I am describing is anything out of the ordinary for the contradictory days most people encounter throughout their existence. Life is full of peaks and valleys, and the faster you climb up the mountain the faster you encounter its depths. I use to strive for perfection, or at least what I thought perfection was. I desired a life without blemish. To me perfection represented acceptance, a state of belonging. I wanted to be perfect, because my perfection would make me feel whole, complete without lost.

Then I lost, I lost a lot, and I lost some more, and I realized that in the losing I also gained. I realized that the lost added to my character just as much as anything I gained. The lost was just as important if not more important than the gain, because it prepared me for what I was not yet ready to receive. Losing my son made me a better mother for my daughter. I know this to be true. Losing my great-grandmother made me more accepting of providence, and the death of my mother opened up my heart again.

These are extreme cases that some may not be able to relate to, but the message is clear. In order to climb the higher mountain, we have to meet it at the lowest depth. My daughter getting sick made me more appreciative of her clean bill of health during her wellness visit. Almost being injured or worse in car collision humbled my spirit to the sweet peace and fullness of joy there is to be found in our own homes with our own families. As tedious as 7-hours of unnecessary jury duty was for my husband, it positioned his absence from the wrong time at the wrong place.

There is a moon and there is a sun. There is man and there is woman. There is dirt and then there is grass. There is a baby and then there is poop. “Like love and a marriage go together like a horse and carriage.” This is perfection, wholeness, and the sweet surrender to the flow of it all. No, the valley’s are not like the peaks, but they too can be appreciated and greeted with love. If the baby cries, comfort him. If it snows, make a snowman. If your clothes don’t fit, enjoy making a vision board for your new look.

If the master of the universe saw it fit to create night and day, who are we to not be thankful that He gave us two forms of light instead of one.

Resistance to the moment is war not peace, and who really has energy for that?

8 Tips To Help Moms Feel Less Frazzled

February 16th, 2016 - By Martine Foreman
Share to Twitter Email This

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

You know all that hype at the start of the new year about accomplishing all your goals and making this your year? I’m usually with it, and I walk into the new year ready to make things happen. But this year, not so much. I walked into this year feeling stressed out, tired, and a bit frazzled. I spent January trying to keep up while wrapping my head around everything I needed to do, and part of February in the same space. I’ve been exhausted!

I know it’s probably overstated, but I will say it again; moms have a lot on their plates.  And of course, I totally respect the hustle of all my friends who don’t have kids, but this motherhood thing is real. Trying to take care of yourself, pursue your dreams, and have a life—all while raising happy, well-adjusted kids—is no easy feat. Frankly, it can become a hot mess.

Since my babies need me to pull it together because being a hot mess all year just isn’t an option (for so many reasons), I have implanted a few strategies to help me lower the dial on the frazzle-meter. Check them out and let me know if they help you feel less frazzled, a little more rested, and a lot calmer.

  1. Meditate for 5 minutes. I have been trying to meditate for years, and the mere thought of it has always stressed me out (I know, I have issues). The idea of being still for a long period of time always felt weird. Well not anymore. And do you know why? I just meditate for 5-10 minutes a day. I use an app on my phone, find a quiet space—either first thing in the morning, or alone in my car at some point during the day—and I just do it. It has really been reducing my stress level and it helps me keep my emotions in check.
  2. Call the right people. I have a few close friends, and I choose who I call depending on what’s going on. When you feel exhausted, upset, or overwhelmed, call the friend that is most likely to understand how you feel because they have been there. Sometimes, we need empathy from a friend, not sympathy.
  3. Let something go. I know it often feels like every single thing on your plate needs to be there. Is that really true, though? Sit down, make a list, and reevaluate what you have going. You may need to hit pause (or delete) on a few things so you can keep your sanity and maintain your health.
  4. Slow down. In this fast-paced world we live in, we want everything done quickly and we want it done right, and when that doesn’t happen, we are not happy. Lighten up and slow down. Everything doesn’t need to happen quickly, and if it takes you longer to do something than usually, it’s probably okay.
  5. Wake up earlier. I recently started reading a book that shares tips about developing a morning routine, and it really is making a difference in how I approach my day. Waking up 1-2 hours before my kids has made all the difference and it allows me to start my day feeling calm and relaxed. Definitely a good look.
  6. Vent. I am all about expressing frustrations in a productive manner, but let’s be real—sometimes you just need to vent. Pick a friend you can trust, pick up the phone (or meet up) and tell her that you just need a quick venting session so you can get the tension out of your system. A little venting can do us all some good.
  7. Plan a vacation. When you are in a stressful space, thinking about something you are looking forward to is a great idea. Even if you don’t have the cash to do it big this year, map out any plans you have in the coming months to do something fun and relaxing, and then visualize it. I promise it will make you smile.
  8. Drink more water. When we are dehydrated, we feel tired. I don’t know about you, but I am just no good when I am tired. When you feel drained (and annoyed) grab a glass of water. It’s easy to do and it really does make a difference.

Martine Foreman is a freelance writer, lifestyle blogger, speaker and coach. To follow her journey as a busy mom, wife, and honest chick from Brooklyn, NY (now living in the burbs), check out her personal blog, CandidBelle.

Is There Really A Link Between Stress And Gray Hair?

December 14th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
Share to Twitter Email This

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Our bodies react to stress in a plethora of different ways. Even some forms of hair loss are associated with high-stress levels. But what about graying hair? Is it true that these physical and mental burdens also cause your hair to change color, perhaps prematurely? It appears that the answer could be both yes and no, depending on how you interpret things.

“Hair follicles contain melanocytes, which are cells that produce pigment, called melanin,” New York-based dermatologist Dr. Hadley King told Good Housekeeping.

The older you get, the less melanin your body produces, which results in gray and white hair. According to King, the age at which melanin production drops off is mainly determined by genetics; however poor habits like smoking or skipping on vitamin B can accelerate this process in some instances. As for stress, Dr. King had this to say:

“Stress may accelerate the demise of the melanocyte population though no clear link has been established between gray hair and stress,” says Dr. King. “Stress hormones could cause inflammation that drives the production of free radicals and it is possible that these free radicals could influence melanin production.”

Whether gray hair is a concern for you or not, there are countless reasons why you should minimize stress when possible. Click here to learn how.

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

 

No Stress Zone: Do Thanksgiving With Ease

November 20th, 2015 - By MommyNoire Editor
Share to Twitter Email This

 

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

by Yolanda Darville

“Cook the turkey and ham, see if Cynthia is baking the pies, clean the house, make sure I have games for the kids, call Uncle Joe to pick up Grandma in time for dinner, yada, yada, yada. . .”

That’s the inner monologue of most of us super-mamas as we prepare for Thanksgiving. While the Butterball turkey commercial shows serene moms preparing meals in anticipation of a peaceful family Thanksgiving meal, that scenario is far from true for most of us.  Honestly, for many of us the holidays are just plain STRESSFUL!

And there’s good reason!  Holidays bring lots of pressure.  Often sparks fly as family members who feud all year gather together for hours at a time.  There’s a huge pressure to prepare a delicious meal.  And then there are dozens of screaming nieces and nephews running around the house.  Not to mention the finances involved with big family gatherings.  And guess who gets to coordinate it all?  That’s right, mama – it’s you!

According to the Mayo Clinic, holiday stress is extremely common.  But you don’t have to just smile, and pretend to be the holiday version of Wonder Woman.  There are several easy things you can do to de-stress your Thanksgiving.  Here are a few tips:

Own your feelings.  If you have a case of the “holiday blues,” it’s okay.  Acknowledge your feelings.  Faking happiness during the holidays won’t help you become happier.  But taking time to recognize your own feelings are the first step to feeling better.

Don’t try to be a superhero.  Thanksgiving is about gathering with family and friends and giving thanks.  It’s not about stressing yourself out to have a perfect holiday.  Be sure to delegate various holiday preparation tasks to family members.  There’s no reason for you to do everything yourself.

Let bygones be bygones.  Thanksgiving is a great time to lay aside differences with family members.  Instead of spending time fuming over past arguments, focus on how thankful you are to have your family altogether.

Make a budget and stick to it.  You can’t buy holiday happiness, so don’t grow broke trying.  Stay within your means when shopping for the Thanksgiving meal.  And if the projected bill seems overwhelming, call on other family members to do their part.

Keep up your healthy behaviors.  Continue to eat right and exercise as Thanksgiving approaches.  It will boost your mood and help you handle stress.  According to Psychology Today, regular exercise has the same effect on brain chemistry as prescription antidepressants!

So now you’re ready to take on Thanksgiving.  Be sure to pass the turkey, but skip the holiday stress.

Mommies, what’s your favorite tip for staying cool during the holidays?

Yolanda Darville is a mom, writer, communications strategist and blogger focusing on philanthropy and empowering women.  Learn more about her on her blog www.bahamamommyinc.com .

A New Study Says Parents Are Miserable

September 29th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
Share to Twitter Email This

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

We parents always delight about our ‘little blessings’ to each other and how our lives would be so different without them, but we also know what a pain in the butt is it to be a mom. Honestly.

Word is, someone out there agrees and this study says parents are miserable.

Researchers at the University of Western Ontario and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research wanted to figure out why some families decide to stop at having only one child. So they analyzed data from a German survey that covered more than 20,000 people across the country, and tracked their reported well-being from three years before having kids to at least two years after their first child was born.

They found that people are usually pretty happy before having kids. That happiness goes up when anticipating the birth of their first child (all those celebrations and “congratulations” wishes can really take you far) and stays high during the year their first child is born. After that, everything goes downhill.

According to the Washington Post, 30 percent of parents stayed at the same level of happiness. But on a 1 to 10 scale, 37 percent of parents had a one-unit drop in “happiness units,” while 19 percent had a two-unit drop and 17 percent had a three-unit drop.

To compare that to actual sad life events: Unemployment and the death of a partner usually lead to a one-unit drop in happiness, and divorce only causes a 0.6-unit drop. On average, parenthood leads to a whopping 1.4-unit fall in happiness.

But what does that say about people who only drop one-unit when their partner dies?

 

What was found in the study, published in the journal Demography, is that unhappiness stemmed from three main causes: health issues before and after birth, complications during the birth, and the generally exhausting and physically taxing task of raising a child.

The researchers also found that parents’ experiences and emotional states when they have their first child strongly impact whether or not they’ll go on to have more kids. If you stay happy more than a year after your first child is born, you’re more likely to have baby number 2. (Which makes sense: Why keep doing something that makes you unhappy?)

Older parents, and those with higher levels of education, were more likely to stop at one child if they had a bad experience.

That leads us to also wonder: why do people have kids in the first place? Is it pressure from families or society? Or are they trying to fill a void within themselves?

The Road To The Altar: I’m Stressed And Highly Fatigued

September 17th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
Share to Twitter Email This

Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

As two ladies from the MN team prepare to say “I do,” they share what they’re learning about their relationships, the wedding-planning process, and themselves.

When I first shared the news of my engagement with members of my church choir back in July, one of the members who had just tied the knot a few months prior told me to enjoy the moment. I interpreted her statements as one of those things people just say when you announce that you’re getting married. I didn’t think too deeply about it.

But as I left the church later that afternoon, prepping for the ensemble’s summer break (the entire month of August), she walked up to me and said it again. This time, with a lot more conviction: “Seriously, Victoria, enjoy this moment. Don’t worry about planning or anything like that yet. Just take the time to be happy first.” I said that I would and proceeded to head home, a skip in my step, eyeing the sparkle on my left ring finger.

I didn’t realize it then, but she was so right about taking the time to enjoy the moment. Appreciate the high you find yourself on, because ever since I opened my first bridal magazine and started answering “So, when are you getting married?” questions, I’ve been stressed. Very stressed.

And when I say stressed, I don’t mean the kind of anxiety where you take a deep sigh each time the word “wedding” comes up in a conversation. I’m talking head in my hands, low-key sobbing stressed. I’ve had about three of those episodes since July. They’ve all come about over changes in the things my fiancé said he wanted for the ceremony, some stress-inducing statements from soon-to-be in-laws, and the reminder that you can’t have a wedding without alcohol. And alcohol costs money. I don’t even drink!

The realization of all the things weddings entail has left me exasperated. Did I mention I’ve only been engaged and planning this whole shebang for a little over a month now?

When I shared this anxiety with people, most gave me the “Awww, it’s going to be fine” response. But my mother, well, she’s the type to give it to you straight.

“I don’t know now. If you’re finding yourself crying about wedding planning this soon, you might be going about this whole thing wrong.”

And that’s what I’ve been trying to figure out. What am I doing and for whom? What is it that I really want for my wedding day? My opinions change daily. I told my mother early on, even before I was engaged, that when I got married, I would want to keep things small. Inexpensive dress, small guest count, money saved small. But ever since I became Feyoncé Knowles, I’ve been planning a wedding for other people. What I mean by that is I’ve been trying to do things in the hopes of not disappointing folks. I’ve looked into overpriced, grandiose reception halls. I’ve worried about inconveniencing friends and family members who would possibly have to drive 30 minutes from a church to a reception hall. I’ve thought about buying rental shuttles to help people get around. I’ve drastically limited my choices in available venues by assuming that people would say that you can’t have a reception where you wear traditional Nigerian garb but don’t have Nigerian food (halls don’t play when it comes to outside catering). And I’ve been doing this all on a budget of thousands of dollars that I don’t currently have sitting in my bank or savings account, or in my Monopoly board game box for that matter. Now do you see why I’m stressed?

They tell you that wedding planning is stressful, but you don’t realize how tiring it is until you actually have to set things in motion. Even looking for a planner and setting aside the money to pay them is a task in and of itself. So with all that going on, and after multiple cry-it-out sessions, I’ve decided to take a break from the whole process. I’ve realized that until I know for sure what it is I really want for my big day, as well as the final list of things my surprisingly choosy fiancé is hoping for, my planning is useless. I’m going to be doing useless hours of research and finding myself in a crying corner over and over again. So it’s time to start again. From scratch.

With that being said, I’m back to square one. And I’m mentally back to where I was a little over a month ago when my fiancé popped the question on the floor in his living room. I’m doing what I should have truly done then. I’m enjoying the moment. I’m enjoying talking to the love of my life about the fun and silly things we’ve always conversed about, the politics we’ve always debated on. Going out for ice cream cones. Dancing with him and our friends over Jollof rice and Gulder. Laying on the couch watching An Officer and a Gentleman, singing “Up Where We Belong” together off-key. I’m appreciating this peaceful time, and when I have my mind and my money right, as well as more hands-on help in research from my fiancé, wedding planning will reconvene and be in full swing. Before I lose my shit and my relationship, I need to focus more time on continuing to nurture the partnership my fiancé and I have. Because while a wedding is a beautiful and memorable thing, I need to do more planning, research and work to prepare for what comes after.

You Deserve A Work Break Today: Here’s Why

September 16th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
Share to Twitter Email This

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

We spend more than one-third of our days working, so it’s no wonder employees can feeling stressed, burnt out, and exhausted.

Sound familiar? Well, the solution is easy.

Science says, get up and take a work break. Just make sure it’s the right kind of break—the type that leaves you feeling energized and focused. Researchers from Baylor University explain exactly what you should do when you tell your boss you need to “take 10.”

The researchers surveyed 95 employees between the ages of 22 and 67 over the course of a five-day workweek, and asked them to record the breaks they took during the day. These breaks could be formal (like a lunch) or informal (like a coffee run or email catch-up), and essentially covered any activity that was not work-related (not including bathroom breaks).

Each person averaged two breaks per day, and from the 959 breaks recorded, scientists were able to figure out several key factors that make a successful workday break. The findings were published in the Work.

First, the best time to press pause is mid-morning. “When more hours had elapsed since the beginning of the work shift, fewer resources and more symptoms of poor health were reported after a break,” reads the study. The best breaks involved activities that employees enjoyed—the catch is, those tasks could also be somewhat work-related. The only requirement is that you derive pleasure from the task.

Additionally, while you may find a two-hour break enticing, scientists found that short, frequent breaks were most beneficial—although they didn’t pinpoint an exact length of time.

“Unlike your cell phone, which popular wisdom tells us should be depleted to zero percent before you charge it fully to 100 percent, people instead need to charge more frequently throughout the day,” lead author Emily Hunter, Ph.D., said in a statement.

Successful work breaks resulted in better health and higher job satisfaction for employees—“successful” being defined as earlier in the day, and by doing something enjoyable…like taking a break to catch up on MadameNoire.com. Scientists saw those people had fewer symptoms of headache, eyestrain, or lower back pain following the break. There was also a decrease in burnout.

So go ahead and take that quick coffee or tea break. You deserve it, and you’ll work smarter.

We Believe It: Study Says Workplace Stress Can Be As Deadly As Secondhand Smoke

September 9th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
Share to Twitter Email This

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

People have been saying for some time now to try and get a grip at work. Yeah, someone might test you and catch a professional beat down (side note: If you discover ways to do this without getting arrested or fired, come find me), but this isn’t the kind of stress researchers are focusing on. A new study coming from folks at Stanford University and the Harvard Business School has shocking revelations about workplace stress — including how deadly it can be.

Focusing on a series of common stressors that include schedules and hours, benefits and job demand — along with a cross-examination of other studies (oh yeah, they’re serious) — experts have determined the more stress an employee has, the worse off their health is. Well, um, obviously that’s nothing new for us as we know the perfect mix of stupid and deadlines can result in an ulcer. What’s worth a mention, however, is that most health outcomes are similar to those who suffer from secondhand smoke.

Did I mention death is one of them?

Hold the phones and take a message…what?! You mean to tell me being stressed on the job can lead to a headache and death? Obviously the deadly part isn’t common, but feel free to forward the study to your boss — along with a request to use a few personal days to reflect…with a glass of wine, some really good takeout and a DVR full of shows you need to watch.

All jokes aside, this study reiterates something most of us have known for years: Too much job stress can send you to an early grave, or at the very least, cause a ton of health problems. The fact that those with crazy high work demands are 35 percent more likely to develop a medical condition is some pretty scary stuff. Failure to give workplace stress the proper attention it deserves can not only lead to an imbalanced work-life situation, but also disease and poor mental health.

Hopefully companies and employers will take a look at studies like these findings and reconsider the current practices they have in place. Too many people are skipping out on much needed vacation out of fear of losing their job (this study also points out lack of employment security can increase your chances of poor health by 50 percent), or try their best to work unrealistic deadlines. There comes a point when something has to give, and hopefully for you, it’s not your health.

I know it’s easier said than done, but professionals who are working around the clock might want to rethink their hustle. Yes, there are bills that need to be paid, but running yourself in the ground is proving to be more and more detrimental to your health. The last thing any loved one needs is for you to be shut up in a hospital somewhere (or worse) because of workplace stress. This is one of the reasons I left my freelancing lifestyle for a full-time position (ironically, a freelancing gig I was working turned into a great opportunity that allowed me to stop being a one woman circus). Of course it’s no foolproof way of protecting myself against stress (it’s bound to happen), but luckily, I found a company that does its best to reduce job stress for the sake of productivity.

Remember, there’s only one life you can live and one version of you.

Related Does the Stress Justify the Paycheck? Signs You Work in a Toxic Workplace

Mommy Blues: It’s Ok To Say “I Need Help”

August 25th, 2015 - By Allyson Leak
Share to Twitter Email This

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

It’s 6:00 a.m. and after I’ve gotten a few hours of sleep, one of my twin toddlers starts stirring. Like a lightening bolt, I get up and scurry to the kitchen to prepare their morning smoothie before they are both fully awake. With one eye open I blend the smoothie, put the tater tots in the toaster oven, and fill two sippy cups with water. Then I feed them, change diapers, brush teeth, get tons of hugs and kisses, comb hair and set up playtime. After about an hour of playtime (in which I play referee because of the constant fighting), I then prepare two sandwiches with snacks. Then we go to a playground or have some kind of outing. After that, it’s naptime and during naptime I start to prepare their dinner and clean up the house. They wake up from their nap, eat, play, give more hugs and kisses, watch cartoons and it’s almost time for bed and time to do it all over again.

Now, lets be clear here, this is not about complaining because I love being a mother and adore my children because I fully commit my mind, body and soul to raising twin toddlers 24/7. But I think it’s safe to say that I deserve a break for an hour or two once a week.

I once had an issue asking for a little help because society has a tendency to make us think that if you’re a mom you are just supposed to have it all together. It’s thought that asking for help or having the mommy blues is a sign of weakness as a mother. Well, now I know that’s not true…this is not an easy job and it’s ok to say it.

 

Stop Worrying About What Others Think

You and only you know that your break away from your kids is not an attempt to escape to a beach and put your feet up, it’s merely the desire to feel like a human being with your own thoughts for an hour or two. One way to help you feel more comfortable that you are not alone is to find stories online of moms who tell their crazy, funny kid stories. A good laugh once a day will help you lighten up and realize that all moms go through the same things whether they want to admit it or not.

 

Set A Specific Amount Of Time

Ok, so when people suggest that moms need to set a certain day and time for themselves it’s completely unrealistic because when you have kids, random things come up all the time. All that will do is lead to disappointment when you have to keep canceling your “mommy” time. So instead, set an amount of time–like an hour or half an hour–that you want once a week of pure, uninterrupted time.

 

Be Proactive

Have a conversation with your significant other, mother or maybe even a girlfriend you trust letting them know that you really need a break on a weekly basis and ask if they help you out. If no one is available, then maybe you can have your break when your little one goes on a play date over a friend’s house.

 

Change Your Perspective

If you allow your outlook to be negative about not having enough time to yourself, it will consume you. Instead of feeling bad, make the best out of the little breaks you do have. If they take a two hour nap, don’t spend the whole time cleaning up around the house. Instead, make their food and then take an hour to yourself to watch a show, read a book or just be still.

 

Say No!

Yes I said it, learn how to say no. Your mother just called and needs yarn for her knitting group, the school just called and wants to know if you can head up the bake sale again, and your husband says he can’t watch the kids as promised because it’s ‘guys night’ again. The answer to all of these needs to be ‘no.’ And please don’t feel bad about it. You probably do for these people all the time and say yes most of the year, so it’s ok to listen to your inner self and say no just because it’s too much and your sanity is more important.