More and more of us increasingly report that we experience stress in our work and home lives. According to the Statistics Canada, nearly a quarter of Canadians reported that they experienced stress on most days.
While many factors go into increasing your levels of stress, the majority of health professionals all emphasize good stress management skills as critical to better getting a handle on our increasingly frantic lifestyles.
We at Care.com have created a list of some of the most useful stress management tips to help working moms deal with stress and achieve a greater balance.
Understand what stress is
Stress is like a musical string: too much tension and it snaps; too loose, and it remains limp and ineffective. All too often we think stress is negative and something to be avoided, but we need stress to be successful both personally and professionally. Stress can give us motivation and energy and demonstrates passion, but it is negative and handicaps us only when it is out of our control and seems unmanageable.
Identify your stress
Stress is mainly triggered from the outside, but it is our attitude and our perceptions that determine how stress affects us. From this perspective, stress is a result of our personal interpretations of events. So, even if you can’t eliminate all of your stress triggers — work deadlines, finances, hosting the holidays — if you can control your inner state, then you can control your stress levels. Perhaps the most direct way to do this involves mindfulness meditation.
Taking a few minutes to meditate daily helps relieve stress and increases one’s sense of well-being. Many studies testified to these benefits, and the practice has found traction among some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.
Start the day by writing out one positive intention. Think of an action or resolution that will help you put a positive spin on the day, for example: ‘Today I will make an effort to smile more. When I am in the meeting, I will say at least two things even if I fear sounding stupid. This will help me to feel less immobilized by my fears.’
In addition to mental practices, regular physical exercise is a time-tested way to reduce stress. If you can’t wake up early enough to take a morning run, a 20-minute walk during lunch will help you feel more in control of your mind as well as your body.
Memorizing a handful Yoga stretches or participating in family activities are great options for physical activity if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands.
We are what we eat
We don’t typically associate diet with levels of stress. However we can help to manage internal stress triggers by watching our food consumption. In addition, certain supplements, like Omega 3s, have been shown to help with anxiety, stress and depression. Vitamin B6 increases the serotonin, which regulates mood to calm and heal. Foods to avoid are stimulants that increase your stress and anxiety, such as energy drinks, too much coffee or tea, sugar and excessive alcohol.
A healthy workplace
Employers should have a responsibility to conduct business in a way that’s supportive of the mental health and well being of their workforce. We all know that it takes far longer to find and correct a mistake than it does to do it right the first time. Therefore, your company’s policy should help support a lifestyle where both physical rest and mental recovery become part of the daily routine.
Unplug your life
We strive for work-life integration, but it’s still important to devote time to unplugging from electronic devices. During family dinners, put your mobiles and tablets on silent and leave them in other rooms. And don’t check email or texts after 9 p.m. These simple exercises will decrease work-related stress.