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How to reduce stress as a working mum?

Motherhood can be full of surprises, and one of the biggest ones is the stress that comes with it, especially when trying to balance work and family life. We often have the romantic image of fulfilled and happy but sleep-deprived mothers in our heads, however, stress is a real issue that we need to address more openly. Personally, I found that the stress caused by motherhood challenges, such as tantrums and the constant need for attention, was far greater than the stress of working in global manager roles in the corporate IT world.



Did you know that stress is actually a natural reaction of our bodies to something that threatens us? It triggers the fight or flight reflex, which is an evolutionary response to danger. While this response was rare in the past, it has become a part of our daily lives. Not because we need to face predators daily but due to our fast-paced lifestyles. We are expected to react to stressors constantly, such as conflicts at work, kids with the risk of hurting themselves or not doing what we ask them, being constantly late as it is impossible to leave on time with kids, and so on.

Sadly, 80% of working mothers experience at least one stress-related health issue, such as fatigue, being overweight, or having high blood pressure. This is not the life that you imagined when you started a family.

However, as I always emphasize in my coaching programs, reducing stress as a working mother is not an easy task, but it is absolutely achievable. There are various techniques, both short-term and long-term that you can try, and if you need more hands-on support, just drop me a message.

In this article, I will focus on the holistic picture: proactive solutions that can help you reduce your stress level, and in the next article, I will share with you some tips on how to manage stressful situations. 


Your routine 

The key to reducing stress is to create and design a lifestyle that enables you to release tension regularly, like a pressure cooker. 

If your daily routine does not allow you to relax and unwind from time to time, your resilience level and your capacity to respond to stress factors in a relaxed and balanced manner will be greatly diminished. You will lose patience quickly, snap at your loved ones, and feel guilty about it. 

My recommendation is that you include at least three stress-releasing activities in your daily routine that allow you to recharge your batteries and let go of frustration. You don't need to visit a spa every day (although you can if you want), it could be a quick exercise, meditation, or simply sitting down for ten minutes with a cup of tea. You can also call your best friend for a short laugh and venting. Everyone is different, so you will know what works best for you, but spending time in the fresh air regularly, going for a walk, or exercising are great options.


Sleeping

Never underestimate the power of sleep. It plays a crucial role in managing stress, affecting our mood and immune system. 

Experts recommend respecting our circadian cycle and going to bed early to achieve deep sleep before midnight. If you miss this window, you cannot make up for it later. Ideally, adults should sleep for 7-8 hours every day, but due to work, household chores or binge-watching Netflix, it's common to stay up late. It's understandable, as usually late night is the only time of the day when you can do whatever you feel like, however, it's still worth aiming for an early bedtime and making some compromises to improve our sleep quality. If you're struggling to get enough rest, check out my e-book 'How to Sleep Well, even as a Parent', it contains tons of practical coaching tools to help you work on your sleeping habits.


Your Personal Stress Factors

Finally, let's take a closer look at the factors causing you the most stress in your personal life. For instance, one of my clients realized that she was more stressed out during family time. When she was alone with her children, she felt okay, however, when her husband was present, she had certain expectations of him that they had never discussed, leading to frustration and stress when he didn't act as she had hoped. Bear in mind that everyone is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, by examining your typical stress-inducing situations and patterns, you can become more aware of them and work on removing these stressors from your life.

I hope these tips help you to reduce stress in your life. 

What additional tips would you add?

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