The job of a parent is one of the most stressful occupations out there. Your days are filled with so much love and so much chaos at the same time.
Whether you’re a brand new mom with a tiny little infant or a seasoned mama of multiple children, you have probably experienced some stress during any big transition.
However, as a mom, it’s so important that we keep it together for our family. Lets face it, we are basically the managers of this little business called a family.
When we don’t function properly, things can easily fall apart. That’s why it’s imperative to take care of ourselves both mentally and physically.
There are plenty of ways to do this through self-care and stress management, and I’m not just talking about taking a warm bubble bath and getting a massage.
Learning stress management techniques and positive thinking approaches have really helped me to stress less and appreciate more.
Here are some of the ways that I was able to do that.
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4 Tips to Reduce Stress as an Overwhelmed New Mom
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1 Positive Thinking
I genuinely believe in the power of positive thinking. Changing your mindset to being optimistic, instead of pessimistic, is really life-changing.
Below are a few ways that I think positive when I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
‘It won’t be like this for long’
Yes, right now the days are long, draining, and exhausting. It can really take a toll on your body and mind.
But it DOES get better, especially if you’re a mom of an infant. As you get into a routine or schedule and learn what your baby’s cries all mean, the stress will start to lift.
You’ll recoup your energy and have time for more things.
Your baby will become less dependent on you for everything and you will get a break from the 24-hour care you are currently providing.
Of course, our children will always need us, but it becomes less and less as the months and years pass.
‘There are so many other positives in my life’
At the moment, you may be feeling like your world is crumbling around you.
When you’re operating on no sleep and every little thing is getting on your nerves, it can feel like nothing around you is going right.
However, I’m sure there are SO many things that are!
Maybe it’s that you own a home, have a supportive husband, parents to help with the kids, a great job to go back to, friends who will listen to you vent, and most importantly, a healthy child that will forever be a part of your life.
They don’t even have to be big things, but little things, like you a roof over your head, clothes on your back, goals for the future, a skill, an education, etc.
When you start thinking of the people who don’t have what you have, it may make you realize how truly lucky you are.
‘They won’t be this little forever’
There’s going to come a day when you wake up and realize wow, I don’t have a baby anymore. It will come a lot sooner than you think.
One day you will give anything to hear a baby screaming in the middle of the night or to have a tiny, warm body nestled in your arms.
I know it may seem unthinkable now, but you will miss the chaos.
As my kids are growing, I wish I could just rewind time. I’ll take the midnight wake ups and messy playrooms to hold a tiny, sweet baby again.
2 Remaining Calm
The mindfulness shift of positive thinking definitely helps you stay grounded in a stressful situation, as does some of these strategies below.
Take deep breaths
This is commonly used as a stress reliever and it really works!
When I’m feeling flustered because I have a million things to do or frustrated because the kids are screaming, I take a really deep breath and let it out super slowly.
This gives you a minute to stop, calm down, and regroup.
Along with the deep breath, you can close your eyes, count, and say those positive thinking statements above.
Walk away from the situation
Keeping yourself present in a stressful situation will cause you to do and say things that you shouldn’t and wouldn’t if you weren’t already agitated.
Take a break by excusing yourself from what is frustrating you. Take some deep breaths, drink some water, and regroup before coming back.
Similar to the positive thinking, but actually talking to yourself about the situation.
You know how most people love to vent when they’re angry and just talk about all their problems to a friend or family member?
If you have no one around to talk to, just talk to yourself.
You can talk out the situation or the problem that you’re having and work it out in your mind.
Reassuring positive thoughts, or even just It’s ok, it’s going to be ok, will help.
Don’t raise your voice
When you yell, scream, or raise your voice during a stressful situation, do you know what it does? Makes you more stressed!
Getting angry and yelling will increase your blood pressure, increases stress hormones in your brain, and increase muscular tension, to name a few.
Before you yell or get angry, try to talk about the situation in a calm, quiet voice.
3 Don’t try to do it all
The sooner we eliminate the things that are causing us stress, the sooner we will feel better and lead a more fulfilling and happier life.
For me, all the housework and home life was taking a toll on me (as a stay-at-home mom).
I just CAN’T clean the house, do the laundry, make the bed, make dinner, clean up toys, feed the kids, clean up meals, change diapers, play with the kids, date my husband, go to work, RUN A BUSINESS, and the million other things that us moms have to do on a daily basis.
So I took a step back and prioritized my life.
These are my most important daily tasks: the things I WANT to do and things I NEED to do:
- Spending quality time with my kids (not vacuuming or washing dishes while they scream at my feet)
- Dating my husband (even just quiet time on the couch while watching a movie or talking about our day)
- Keeping the kids healthy
Those would be my priorities and where I would spend all my time. If perhaps I had a few extra minutes a day, I would get to the lower priority issues.
The things that are absolutely necessary will get done and the things that aren’t crucial can wait.
4 If Something Causes You Stress, CHANGE IT
My husband and I had a sit down and laid out how we can reduce some of the stressful situations in our daily lives. We wanted to enjoy time as a family instead of fighting about it.
So, we made a list of things that stress us out and how we can manage to reduce the anxiety it brings.
We had tangible solutions for our problems and put them into place.
- Cleaning up the kitchen until 9pm some nights after a homemade dinner. Instead, we decided to get (healthy) take out 2-3 times a week, eat out 1-2 times a week, and make simple crock pot or one-pot meals 2-3 times a week.
- Cleaning up the toy room every night. Now we have the kids clean up as much as they can before bed and leave it a little messy until we clean it every 3-4 days.
- Trekking to family and friend’s houses with the kids for parties and get-togethers. Instead, we began saying no to a lot of offers.
- Vacuuming the whole downstairs every other night. We just vacuum the kitchen because that’s where the only real mess is.
- Cleaning the bathrooms and dusting. We hired a cleaning lady 2x a month.
- Always rushing out the door when we’re late because we’re packing up the diaper bag, snacks, and toys last minute. We have things prepared in advance, in a bag, in the car before we need it.
- Our toddler not listening to our requests and making bedtime routine impossible. Instead of just yelling and getting nowhere, we made a reward/sticker chart to manage her behaviors and it helped a lot!
These are just a few ways to change the situation.
You may even be thinking, I can’t eliminate the biggest stressors in my life like workload in your career or waking up in the middle of the night with your baby.
However, you would be surprised what a little rethinking can do.
For example, if you baby is constantly waking up at 3am for a 45 minute play session, why don’t you try sleep training? That’s how I got both my babies sleeping through the night by 5 months old!
Or if work is stressing you out, have you thought of ways to change things around? Perhaps waking up early to get work done? Asking your boss to work remotely once a week? Hiring an admin?
Of course everyone’s situation is different, but you CAN find a solution for fixing your problems. You just may need to think outside of the box.
I hope you try a few of these techniques to stay calm and positive when you’re a bit stressed.
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