When I had my first kid, people would always ask me if I wanted to have more children. Lovestruck by being a first-time mom, I would always reply with a yes.
“Yes, I want more. I love being a mom.”
At that time, nothing was more fulfilling than seeing a mini version of myself looking right back at me. I am three love-bugs in now, and when the day-to-day stress of it becomes overwhelming, I try to find that first-time mom within me again. Her energy. Her light. Her optimism. She’s still there, but sometimes she gets buried under the demands of life and motherhood. I want to share some simple ways for you to combat stress and anxiety that have worked for me.
Self-care is the best care. Self-care is the quiet and subtle way that we honor ourselves in everyday moments, like taking the time to lotion up after a shower instead of rushing off to the next chore. It’s taking a mental health day out for yourself to make sure you are OK. It can be taking time to spend with friends or your mom or whoever gives you room to be free and perfectly imperfect. Making tending to yourself a priority puts you in alignment with your core being. Self-care can reignite the fire that tends to dwindle when we are stressing about mom stuff and dealing with the craziness of just being us and just being a woman who at times still feels like a girl trying to figure it all out.
Another good way to offset stress is by picking up a new hobby or reconnecting with an old one. I’m a dancer. Have been since I was a teenager. It’s a joy for me. I do it even now as a woman in her 30s simply because it feels good. It’s a way for me to connect with myself as a person and not just as a mom. It’s my personal creative space to build joy. This is important. I know this because the years that I let go by without honoring that passion always left a void. I may have had happy moments, but I wasn’t whole. Being whole allows us the grace to be able to pour into others out of the surplus of living well. Make sure that you are living well daily by making room for your passions.
Be sure to take some time and dedicate it to a mental wellness diet. Certain foods can cause our brains to operate in a funk. Added sugar doesn’t cause anxiety, but it decreases the brain’s ability to cope with it and makes anxiety worse. It sends a bad signal to the brain that has been linked to anxiety disorders, depression, and even schizophrenia. During your diet, get your sweet fix from natural sources like fruit and honey. If you are feeling extra motivated, ditch fried and processed foods, caffeine, and white bread. Eat food that is good for the brain like salmon, whole grains, fruits, veggies, eggs, nuts, and even dark chocolate.
Finally, I’m aware that some stress we have can be directly related to finances. This holds true for single moms, married moms, almost-moms, and so on. Finances are a big deal in every family dynamic. After hitting some bumps in the road, I found some ways to bring in extra income that didn’t take up a lot of time.
- Have a yard sale
- Sell on eBay
- Teach someone to do something that you know well and charge a fee
- Self-publish a book (paperback or eBook or both)
- Having more than one way to bring in income can be very freeing once you find what works for you.
Stress and anxiety are signals that something is off balance. When it hits, we must pause and see what’s really happening. Do I need to adjust my schedule? Is an unhealthy diet draining my energy? Do I need to deal with something that I’ve been putting off? Mamas are the precious cornerstone of society. We must be well. Make mental reminders of the things that first excited you about becoming a mom. Hold onto those gentle reminders and move forward knowing that nothing has been placed upon you that you don’t have the power within to handle and overcome.
***Originally published on MemphisParent.com and in Memphis Parent Magazine***