As mamas, our to do list is pretty exhaustive and almost always never ending. If someone were to ask you to remove what you don’t really need to do, you’d probably look at them quite blankly …maybe followed by a punch to the face 🙂
With our long lists and even longer days, without realising it we can find ourselves hanging out in what’s known as the “stress zone” way past our welcome.
The thing is, if we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing, and lets face it the survival of the human race kinda depends on it, then something’s gotta give.
The problem is we’ve just pointed out that the to do list is non-negotiable, so where do we go from here?
Let’s just pause here for a second to take a look at what stress does to the body.
The most obvious are anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches and fatigue, but the most interesting fact is the direct affect it can have on our digestive system.
You know that feeling of “butterflies” that an athlete has before an important race or that sick feeling you got before your 8th grade oral presentation?
There are over 100 million neurons, like those found in the brain, present in the gut – giving some truth to that saying “a gut feeling”. Whilst these neurotransmitters can’t tell your big toe to wiggle, scientists often refer to this centre as your “second brain”.
This “brain in your gut” is revolutionising medicine’s understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health and even the way you think.
Essentially, how you think can result in a level of stress that is connected through your nervous system controlling your digestive system.
Take a moment to reflect back on times of stress and what you noticed ~ did it make you feel sick, did it change your bowel movements, did you experience bloating or gas?
Now think about how much time you spend in the “stress zone”.
What if there was a way to reduce our level of stress simply by altering the way we think.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to achieve what we used to in a day before having children and to live up to the expectations of others or ourselves.
What if we could change our perception of the things that stress us out and make them work for us.
This may mean altering our expectations, not necessarily lowering them, but just making them realistic. For example, how often do you scroll through instagram wondering how other mums can get their houses looking so pristine (or white?!) or get their kids to pose for their selfies and look so damn adorable. Here’s the secret…
The reason why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. ~ Steven Furtick
Everyone’s instagram is a show reel!
So, it’s been a long winded journey to get here, but here’s the thing – turn your perceptions of “stress” into “stretch”.
I don’t mean literally stretch the stress out, I mean call it what it is. You don’t have to be stressed about the impending “to do” list, it’s not going to change the fact that things need to be done or that you have a lot to do.
However, being stressed about it constantly will result in you making yourself sick, exhausted or depressed by the end of it.
Stress versus Stretch
I’ve often found myself at a cross roads when something dramatic happens, with two choices. I can either lose my s%$# completely and fall in a heap, or I can rally, grit my teeth and just get it done.
Often I look back on these situations with a sense of pride (and amazement!) at what I was able to achieve when I choose the high road. Of course, there have been many a time where I’ve taken the low road, but I’m glad to say these are becoming fewer and far between!
Be aware of your stress levels and train your reaction to acknowledge that you are busy without letting your emotions take over. You’re not stressed, your stretched!
Here are a few tips for both the home and biz:
- Schedule your priorities rather than prioritise your schedule – a long list can be overwhelming, so just concentrate on what really needs to be done TODAY
- Do it or delegate it! Don’t waste time second guessing, just get it done and move on. Or, call in the favours and delegate so it doesn’t waste more of your time.
- Focus on the present moment, don’t let yourself get carried away with what’s coming up next.
- Say “no” ~ potentially the hardest word in the english dictionary, except when your child is reaching for your hot coffee!
- Be the CEO of your own life and call the shots!
- When you feel the stress creeping in, have a back up plan. Deep breathing, count to ten, scream at the top of your lungs ~ find what works for you and hustle mama!