You are looking tired, flustered and overwhelmed. I am guessing you are feeling like you just can’t take anymore. And maybe you even feel alone. Like the other mom’s have it all together. Do you find yourself regularly hiding in the bathroom just to get a moment of peace and quiet. Do you find yourself often counting down the minutes until bedtime? Are the demands of work, family and home just too much? I have definitely been there – you are not alone. I think what you may be experiencing is mother-overload aka too much stress. When I was experiencing mother-overload I wouldn’t have said I am stressed, I would have just laughed it off and said #momlife. But motherhood doesn’t have to be this way. I have done quite a bit of research on stress recently and I am passionate about sharing what I have learned with you so that you can do things differently and life doesn’t have to feel so hard.
I have learned that when we experience a number of stressors that all pile up on top of each other it creates stress. We need to be aware that stressors and stress are different. According to the Mayoclinic stress is your body’s reaction to the demands of life, while stressors are events or conditions in your surroundings that may trigger stress.
Did you know that stress is actually a normal part of life and serves a good purpose? You can experience stress from your environment, body, and thoughts. Stress has a good purpose to – it is meant to motivate you and keep you safe. The problem is when we experience more stressors than we can handle, we experience these stressors over a long period of time, or when we remove the stressor but don’t know how to manage the stress that’s left over.
I was about to write about how stress affects us, and about the stress response system, and then I saw this article and thought it was so well articulated so i am sharing it with you here instead.
“The human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. Stress can be positive, keeping us alert, motivated, and ready to avoid danger. Stress becomes negative when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between stressors. As a result, the person becomes overworked, and stress-related tension builds. The body’s autonomic nervous system has a built-in stress response that causes physiological changes to allow the body to combat stressful situations. This stress response, also known as the “fight or flight response”, is activated in case of an emergency. However, this response can become chronically activated during prolonged periods of stress. Prolonged activation of the stress response causes wear and tear on the body – both physical and emotional.” Myclevelandclinic.org
Earlier this year, I listened to a podcast with Brene Brown and sisters Emily & Amelia Nagoski who recently released the book Burnout. In their book they talk about our stress cycle – that working through emotions is a biological process that actually has a beginning, middle, and end. And when we get stuck in an emotion we start to experience those burnout symptoms.
The stress cycle is as follows
In order for you to release the stress within your body you need to find a way to complete the stress cycle. (As i said before this is more than just getting rid of the stressors). If you don’t release the stress 2 things will happen… 1) your body will store that negative energy in an organ and stress hormones will wreak havoc on your physical systems (IBS anyone? ) and 2) a build up of stress can lead to chronic stress – aka burnout and trauma.
Before I share with you how to complete the stress cycle and a life changing mindset adjustment you need to make about stress, I want to walk through a reflection exercise with you.
Whether you go grab a journal and write it out or just close your eyes and imagine it, I encourage you to take 5-10min to reflect upon these questions.
Reminder: Sometimes our stressors are here to stay for a while and are unavoidable and that is ok. That is why it is so so important to learn how to complete your stress cycle.
According to Emily & Amelia Nagoski’s research (found in their book, Burnout), here are the 7 ways to complete the stress cycle and signal to your body that you are safe.
Since you have probably experienced stress for a number of years without completing the stress cycle regularly, you may have a build up of stress stored in the body. This means that doing one of these 7 actions 1 time isn’t going to solve all your stress problems. You need to incorporate your favourite of these 7 actions into your daily life and be an action-taking mama.
Although these 7 ways to complete the stress cycle are amazing and ground-breaking, I want to briefly touch on one more important aspect to managing stress and that is mindset. Our thoughts are powerful and therefore we can’t leave them out of the equation.
There is a TedTalk called How to Make Stress Your Friend by Kelly McGonigal that is a must watch! (I’ve included the link at the bottom)
What I want to highlight from her video is this…
So mamas, I know that is a lot of information to process and I know that as a stressed out mom it can be hard to get what you need from a long blog post so here is 4 things I want you to do…
I am here for you mama and want to leave you with this blessing….
Sending you a calming blanket of peaceful energy. May you feel relaxed, serene, and content. Let your troubles go, and be at ease. May you appreciate the things that make you smile, accept the challenges that lay ahead, and acknowledge the blessings you experienced today.
Follow along on Instagram @mentallyhealthy_me
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