Halloween is almost here, Thanksgiving is around the corner, and Chanukah, Christmas and Kwanza are all coming in December. That means upcoming crazy days for mothers who are already incredibly busy. How do you cope and what can you do?
First, ask yourself how stressed are you right now. If you’re like most Americans, you’re very stressed. Career Builder.com says that 78% of American workers feel burned out. 1/3 of Americans say they’re living with extreme stress.1 Nearly 80% of all doctor visits are stress-related and 43% of adults are sick because of stress.
As a mother, that stress gets magnified, especially if you are a working mother. Despite their best attempts, many husbands are not much help at home and women carry the greatest burdens of housework as well as childcare and community service. And the more stressed you are, the more stressed your children are.
”Children absolutely sense parents’ stress,” says pediatrician Kenneth Ginsburg, associate professor at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. In 2009, 36% of kids surveyed said they worried more this summer than last; 30% said they worried about family financial difficulties. 2
What Can You Do To Lower Your Stress Levels?
1. Sleep at least 7 hours a night. According to the World Health Organization, anything less than 7 hours a night could cause cancer! Less than 7 hours means you are 3 times more susceptible to colds and likely to gain more weight. The solution: go to bed earlier, no email before bed, no TV in bed. Make your bedroom a sanctuary for sleeping, making love and resting.
2. Take Vacations: Sadly, Expedia found that 34% of Americans don’t go on vacation at all! And yet for women aged 45-64, two weeks of vacation cut their incidence of heart attack in half, according to a Boston College study! 3 Expedia also found most people feel rejuvenated after vacation, are more productive and more satisfied with their marriage.
3. Use aromatherapy to help with stress. A few drops of vanilla oil on the wrists of a child can transform a cranky, whiny child into one who is happy and laughing. Peppermint extract on your forehead or temples can help relieve pain immediately. It’s also great for concentration. Lemon scent cuts keyboard mistakes by 50%!
4. Spend time with girlfriends The latest research shows spending time with friends creates the release of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that relieves stress and promotes euphoria. In a study, those who had the most friends over a 9 year time period cut their risk of death in the next 10 years by 60%.4
5. Cultivate Optimism Optimists live 7 years longer than pessimists, have better lung function and are far less likely to die young or die from cancer. The top 10% executives think differently from others: they are all optimists! So if you want greater success, achievement, and joy in your life, become a more positive thinker.
Women have the ability to make a huge difference in the lives of others. As mothers, your greatest gifts are your love, wisdom and care taking. But only if you take care of yourself and manage your stress.
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Snowden McFall, professional speaker, trainer and author, is the owner of 27- year old Brightwork Advertising and Training and 14-year old Fired Up. She has written 5 books, including Fired Up!, which has sold 63,000+ copies, and her new book Stress Express! 15 Instant Stress Relievers. An expert on stress and motivation, she has appeared on 300 radio shows, CNN Financial News, The Home Shopping Network, Bloomberg Television, Investors Business Daily, and foxnews.com. She was named National Women in Business Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration and was honored at the White House and Congress. She can be reached at www.firedupnow.com
For your free report: The Top 20 Tips to Get Fired Up and Stay Fired Up, go to http://firedupnow.com/top20tips.html
1. “Stress in US Rises, Causes Health Problems,” The Scoop, The Meeting Professional, March 2008, p.442.
2. Jayson, Sharon “ Kids ‘absolutely’ feel parents’ stress, 30% worry about finances,” USA Today, 11/2/2009 http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-11-03-kids-stress-parents_N.htm
3. Brown, Sarah, “Clean Break,” Vogue, June 2003
4. Taylor, S. E.; Klein, L.C.; Lewis, B. P.; Gruenewald, T. L.; Gurung, R. A. R.; & Updegraff, J. A. “Female Responses to Stress: Tend and Befriend, Not Fight or Flight”, Psychological Review (2000), 107(3), p.41-429.