All Articles Tagged "stress"

The Realities of Raising a Toddler and Newborn

June 2nd, 2015 - By Rich
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What did I get myself into?

Sometimes I ask myself this question as I have a 16 month old son and a baby on the way. My husband and I planned to have our children closer together in age, but this will definitely make for a very interesting household — to say the least.

On one hand, I’m kinda thankful our second child is another boy. Given we already have one, it will make things a heck of a lot easier in the sharing and supplies department. Our little guy shot up in height and wasn’t able to wear many of the things I purchased for him. At least this way they’ll get some use, along with other baby-related items we never got around to donating.

Now that we got the pleasantries out the way, let’s get a little real. Raising both a toddler and newborn is going to be very difficult. This is a reality I’ve come to grips with over the course of my pregnancy — and as much as I’ll try my best to plan for two little ones in diapers, there are certain things I just have to take in stride.

Luckily I know of a few other mothers who’ve had children very close in age. While they do warn me of stressful times ahead, in the end, they say it’s all worth it.

“If you can make it through the first few years everything else will fall into place,” notes one of my gym buddies. “They end up taking care of each other.”

Well this is a little refreshing to hear.

The biggest shock to the system is obviously going to be the whole sleep thing. Luckily our toddler has been able to sleep through the night since he was four months or so, but we get to push the reset button with our infant. Any parent of a toddler can attest to how much energy — and rest — you need to keep up with them, especially when they hit the wonderful stage of exploring, not listening to “no” the first time and talking back. Needless to say, it’s going to be a wee bit difficult to do so when we look and feel like extras from The Walking Dead.

I can’t begin to imagine how parents with multiple children balance their time and attention between each. Obviously my newborn is going to need additional eyes and assistance given he won’t be able to communicate for some time. Yet in the same breath, I don’t want to not give my toddler the one-on-one time he deserves.

Another thing I’m not looking forward to is the amount of diapers we’ll need. Sure my oldest will hopefully potty train  with time, but purchasing diapers each month definitely adds to your budget. Thus far I’ve been pretty savvy with buying in bulk online and getting a nice deal. I’ll just have to come to terms with the fact that I need to do it a second time for baby number two. The same goes for their 529 college savings plan.

So little to no nights with rest, two babies vying for your attention and little to no social life. Got it.

All jokes aside, I think it will be fun for them to grow up together. Sure the first year or so of raising a toddler and newborn will be challenging (one will go through the baby motions while the other enters the terrible twos), but it’s nothing too impossible.

I’ll rely on a ton of prayer…and a few glasses of wine.

Your Life Would Be Much Easier If You Chose Peace Over Anxiety

May 29th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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I know what you’re probably thinking, this chick has no idea what I go through on a regular basis.

Guess what? You’re right.

Each of us deal with our own set of circumstances in life that can make things manageable or extremely stressful. This doesn’t mean there aren’t any commonalities that allow us to come together, and hopefully discover new ways to cope.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a worry-rat and with a type A personality. Call it being a Virgo or born with a need to have perfection, but I will run myself into the ground thinking about all the “what if” scenarios that can but don’t always happen. While this can help me with preparation, it does absolutely nothing in the sanity department.

Eventually I discovered that peace was more important and productive to my journey than anxiety.

This concept is easier said than done, especially if you have a long history of stressing yourself out. There will come a point whether in your life or career when you think to yourself, “Just how is worrying about the unknown really helping my situation?” Does playing out an outcome over and over again really put things into action, or does it stop you in your tracks? It can be hard to keep your eyes on the future when you allow fear (false evidence appearing real) to cloud your mind.

There’s something beautiful about the idea of peace that’s so freeing. The dictionary describes it as the “freedom from disturbance.”

That’s pretty powerful.

Think about it: how would your daily hustle be different if you had a “freedom from disturbance”? Sure it won’t change external forces around you, but at least you can make the choice to hold on to inner calm.

I wish I thought about this during my days of working in an office. My what a difference it would’ve made! I can recall times when I loathed going to work. Would I have a good day? Would a project I was working on blow up in my face? Are my co-workers going to act civilized? When it came to holding on to my “freedom from disturbance,” I failed miserably.

Thankfully with age comes progress and maturity. I now see how crucial peace is to my life. In a world full of chaos and negativity, you need something positive to keep you going. That’s not to say I don’t have my bad days, but at least I can acknowledge how hard I work not to allow others or circumstances rob me of my joy. Even when things take a turn for the worse or unexpected, choosing not to be over-anxious allows me to think clearer and impact my circumstances more efficiently.

Stress is real and so is failure. While you might not be able to control every aspect of your life, please realize you do have power over your thoughts and reactions. No matter what you’re going through, if you have breath in your lungs, you have the opportunity to do what’s necessary to change your circumstances. Your life or career isn’t over because of a few setbacks, and if you too choose peace instead of anxiety, you can start removing unnecessary weights from life off your shoulders.

How do you deal with feeling anxious?

When It’s More Than Stress: 7 Symptoms To Be Aware Of

April 24th, 2015 - By Rich
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Is it just me, or does it seem like we blame everything on stress? Sure, stress is the culprit when it comes to many of our challenges in life, but I really can’t agree with stress being the only culprit.

I do agree that our ability to manage the stress in our lives is incredibly important, and mismanaging stress can lead to a host of other issues like overeating, poor sleep, and even changes in mood to name a few. But as women, and especially as moms, we have to remember that what’s going on with our bodies and minds is not always stress-related. Sometimes there are other issues at play.

Many medical issues can mimic the symptoms of stress, and since mothers tend to be juggling a lot anyway, we do run the risk of writing something off as stress-related when we really should be visiting our physician for evaluation and possible testing.

So how do we know when it’s just stress and when it’s something deeper? The truth is, we don’t always know. That’s why we need to seek professional help so we can figure out what’s really going on. In addition to seeking the opinion of a medical professional, we must pay attention to our gut. Don’t ignore that feeling you have that tells you something is just off.  Is it possible your gut is wrong? Sure, it’s possible. Is it likely, though? Not really because no one knows your body as well as you do.

Here are 7 common symptoms that may be more than stress. If these symptoms are present in your life and they have been ongoing (or you just have that funny feeling that something is wrong), please seek medical help. Although I am in no position to offer medical advice, I feel pretty comfortable urging you to get help if you think something may be wrong.

Sleep Issues

It’s not uncommon for people under a great deal of stress to have sleep issues. Insomnia, oversleeping, and unrestful sleep are common complaints. However, if your sleep issues linger, you should consider the possibility that you actually have a sleep disorder or some other medical problem that may be disturbing your normal sleeping pattern.

Weight Gain or Loss  

I am an emotional eater, so I know that being stressed out can lead to indulging a bit too much. But if your eating and exercise habits haven’t changed and you find that you are gaining or losing weight at a rate that’s unusual for you, seek medical attention. Several medical conditions can cause a sudden fluctuation in weight.

Chronic Fatigue

What busy mom isn’t tired? I know I sure am.  And although being extra tired when your stress levels are high is pretty normal, feeling drained and having an overwhelming sense of fatigue may be signs that something deeper is going on. Being exhausted all the time should not be your norm.

Mood Swings

When under a lot of stress it’s normal to get irritated easily or even feel frustrated or anxious. But when your mood swings become very evident to the ones you love, and it starts to impact your relationships, consider the possibility that it’s more than just stress. Could you be suffering from depression? Is it possibly you have an anxiety disorder? Explore all possibilities if you or the people you love feel like something may be wrong.

Upset Stomach

An upset stomach, constipation, nausea, and diarrhea can all be triggered by stress. That said, chronic stomach issues should not be ignored. There are several gastrointestinal conditions that can show these exact same symptoms. If your stomach issues are ongoing you should visit your physician.

Loss of Sexual Desire

What mom hasn’t been just too tired to have sex? But being too tired to have sex sometimes is different from never wanting to have sex because you absolutely have no interest in it at all. If you feel like you have lost your sexual desire, stress may not be the culprit. Talk to your doctor to explore other possibilities.

Frequent Colds & Infections

It is true that chronic stress can lower your immunity and make you susceptible to frequent illness, but lowered immunity can also be a sign that a larger issue is at play. If you are becoming ill far more frequently than you ever have before, consider the possibility that a vitamin deficiency or underlying condition may be causing it and seek medical attention.


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 her out at CandidBelle.


Styling Experts Solve Your Biggest Stress-Related Hair Problems

April 21st, 2015 - By LaKrishia Armour
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Stressed woman thinking


Does your day sound anything like this?

You rush out of the house without eating breakfast. You work two extra hours because your team is ‘lean.’ You stretch your day so you can make time to socialize after work, eating fried appetizers and throwing back drinks. Or, you might scarf down a cheeseburger in record time before shuffling your kids to their evening activities. Then, you fall into bed without following your nightly hair routine. You wake the next day, rinse and repeat, and the feeling of being overwhelmed builds. Momentary stress creeps up on you and becomes daily stress.

Those seemingly small daily stresses can lead to a feeling of being burned out. Whether self-imposed, situational or even environmental, stress can leave your hair looking crazy (and make you feel even worse).

Two experts share how re-incorporating a little TLC into your busy life can help you recover from the damage that stress causes to your hair.

Pump The Breaks: Ways To Bounce Back When You’re Facing Burnout

April 16th, 2015 - By Taylor Gordon
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Do you feel pressure to always be at the top of your game at home and at work? Have you been feeling absolutely exhausted? Have you noticed it’s getting harder and harder to maintain your workaholic lifestyle?

You’re probably experiencing burnout. The daily grind has a way of doing it to you when you don’t take a second to pump the breaks. Read on to find out ways to bounce back.

That One Time I Had Shingles

April 3rd, 2015 - By Kendra Koger
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That One Time I Had Shingles


Around the time that I started my Musiq Soulchild workout plan, I decided to try to cultivate a more healthy lifestyle.  I decided to start eating better and taking vitamins.  So one morning while I was in the vitamin section at Walmart I saw that they had a sale on those gummy vitamins (you know, the ones where on the commercial people are jumping on them like trampolines).  I got excited and was like:  “I want trampoline vitamins!” and bought the discount supplements.

After about four days of taking them I realized I was developing a rash on the left side of my face.  Even though I used my best zip zapping remedies, the left side of my face just got more inflamed, and painful with each day.  Finally, I realized I couldn’t take it anymore and went to Urgicare.  As I got dressed my mind raced with:  “What could be causing this?” and my eyes fell on my gummy vitamins and I immediately felt betrayed.

I grabbed the jar, sat in Urgicare with my four year old bouncing next to me, and avoided eye contact with anyone who would look at my inflamed disfigurement.

After the doctor examined me, and though I presented the bottle of offending gummies, I was in a for rude awakening.

“You’re not having an allergic reaction.  You have shingles.”

“What?!  The old people’s disease?!”

Yes, disgusted readers, after two more doctors checked me out, it was unanimous.  I, a woman still in my twenties, had developed shingles (a disease that is usually advertised for people 55 and older).

After getting enough pills to make me feel like Elvis, and tons of paperwork to read about it, I discovered that shingles (“SHINGLES?!”) can develop from a weakened immune system (usually by having leukemia, HIV or stress).

As the blisters on my face turned into scabs, I made countless doctors’ appointments, to get tested, blood drawn, and inserted into any machine to tell me what was wrong.

After about losing a pint of blood, many examinations and a few weeks of waiting for all the results I learned that I didn’t have anything.  My shingles were caused by stress.

What I guess I should have mentioned earlier was that around the time I started my new workout regimen I was personally dealing with a few deaths of people around me.  I was put in a position of acknowledging my own mortality, and trying to do the best that I could to ensure a good future for not only myself, but for my daughter.

I had a lot of sleepless nights wondering:  “What if?” and trying to figure out if I was making the right steps.

All that stress culminated in me getting shingles.  That’s when I realized my folly.  I was spending so much time worrying about my future that I wasn’t enjoying my present.  Each day was used to fixate on my past, worry about my future, and being a spectator in my current life.

Two things came from my weeks of having shingles (“SHINGLES?!”).  The first was the knowledge that I needed to RELAX!  I eliminated a lot of unnecessary stressors and I haven’t been happier. Life is too short to spend it worrying about everything.  I now have a better sense of perspective.  My drive is still the same, but I’m not so stressed about things I can’t control.

The second thing that developed from this is that I now have a few scars on my face from the whole ordeal.  I thought about getting a few cosmetic creams to lighten the appearance of scars, but I decided to keep them for now, as a reminder to myself of what could happen anytime I begin to become stressed out.

My complexion isn’t as clear as it used to be, but I’ll always cherish these few reminders to enjoy each day and remember that stress is nothing but damaging.

Ways To Live A More Peaceful Life Instead Of A Stressful One

March 27th, 2015 - By Opal Stacie
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

We tend to have misconceptions about what is readily available to us to help when it comes to dealing with a brain that won’t stop thinking or stressing over absolutely everything. But using any of the solutions on this list will help you find a sense of peace even in the most chaotic places. The trick to lasting peace, however, will take a bit more time and commitment. This isn’t your traditional, “find peace with Yoga and meditation” article. Nope! Instead, we believe that making simple lifestyle changes will go a long way in helping you feel less stressed. Most of these methods are scientifically proven to boost your mood and improve your quality of life, and I personally use quite a few of them as a way to find peace in my own life.

Money On My Mind! The #1 Stress For Women Is Money

February 5th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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Most Americans have lots of stresses, but the number one turns out to be money. And despite the country’s economic turnaround, financial woes are still what’s most on our minds.

According to a new survey by the American Psychological Association called “Stress in America,” a whopping 72 percent of adults say they are stressed out about money at least some of the time in 2014. Another 22 percent responded that they have extreme stress about money.

Women worry more about money than anyone else. In fact, it has kept more women up at night than men. An incredible 51 percent of women say they lay awake at night worrying about money, versus 32 percent of men.

The main triggers for money stresses include paying for unexpected expenses, paying for essentials, and saving for retirement. Basically, handing over money for stuff.

Only wealthy Baby Boomers seem to be immune from such money stress. Everyone else — from parents to millennials to Gen X-ers and lower-income households (with less than $50,000 per year) — expend lots of brain power on financial concerns.

And all this stress is affecting our health. “Parents are more likely than nonparents to report engaging in unhealthy stress-management techniques, such as drinking alcohol and smoking,” reports Yahoo.

Lack of money also kept 32 percent of adults from living a healthy lifestyle and 12 percent report say they even cut out doctor  visits because of financial concerns. Chronic stress is nothing to take lightly, it can lead to high blood pressure, ulcers, irritable bowl syndrome, headaches, and depression.

The stats may seem depressing but actually stress is trending downward, with lower overall levels currently than in 2007.

How worried are you about money?

Ask Dr. Renee: Depression Is Real

January 2nd, 2015 - By Dr. Renee Matthews
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Depression Is Real

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In the last year we have heard more and more about Black women committing suicide. The first person that shocked us was Karyn Washington the creator of committed suicide at age 22. Then a few months ago Simone Battle committed suicide at age 25, she was on “X Factor” and in the pop group G.R.L. And then December 4, Titi Branch committed suicide at age 45, she was one half of the Miss Jessie’s hair empire. Although details of this most recent incident have not been released, it is important to know that mental illness is real and should not be ignored. It is very important if you are feeling down for an extended period of time that you seek help. Let’s admit we all get down for a day or two but if that turns into a week or more you need to seek professional help.

This time of year can be particularly hard for people who are single, have recently lost a loved one, or perhaps they are having financial hardships this holiday season. It is very important, if you can, to check on someone who you know may be alone this holiday season. Another suggestion would be invite any people you know are without family this season, to your family for the weekend to make certain they are not alone during the holidays. Here are some more tips to help prevent the holiday blues.

It is always best to prevent stress and depression in the first place, especially if the holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in the past. If that is not possible please try some of these helpful tips.

Express your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season. But try to set a time limit on those tears. If you try to find one thing to be grateful a day more things will come and you will one day realize you are no longer sad.

Help others: If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships. It is amazing how helping others will help you in return and maybe even more than the people you were helping.

Be Realistic: The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos. Be open to change and realize that it is inevitable.

Love your family: Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside any arguments, differences until a more appropriate time for discussion. The dinner table is not the time to bring up conflict in the family nor verbally attack a family member. Be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.

Don’t overspend. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.

Try these alternatives:

• Donate to a charity in someone’s name.
• Give homemade gifts. (cookies, cakes, bath soaps etc.)
• Start a family gift exchange.

Make a list and check it twice. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.

Don’t be a people pleaser. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.

Stay healthy, don’t forget to workout. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.

Try these suggestions:

• Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.
• Get plenty of sleep.
• Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.

Relax, relate, release. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.

Some options may include:
• Taking a walk at night and stargazing.
• Listening to soothing music.
• Getting a massage.
• Reading a book.

Seek professional help if you need it. You may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Please never be ashamed to seek help. The Crisis Call Center is available 24 hours a day (800)273-8255.

Depression Is Real

Source: Ask Dr. Renee

Dr. Renee Matthews has appeared on television shows such as “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and WGN’s “People to People”  where she discussed different health topics. She started her media career with her own radio show on ReachMD, a programming source for health professionals. In addition Dr. Renee has been a featured medical correspondent on Sirius XM’s “Sway in the Morning.” 

Dr. Renee earned her undergraduate degree in 1999 and her Medical Doctorate in 2005. She spent the early part of her medical career as an educator for numerous hospitals and attending staff on cord blood. 

Twitter: @AskDrRenee

How To Apply Workplace Professionalism To Stressful Holiday Situations

December 16th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Holiday/Christmas stress


If the holidays are supposed to be a wonderful time of year, why do folks test your patience? Have you ever been shopping and experienced the most ugly of attitudes? Instead of getting caught up in nonsense, make the decision to keep your calm and continue with your endeavors. Here are some tips on how to apply your professionalism to stressful holiday situations.