April is Stress Awareness Month and if you’re like me, there are times in my life that I’m on the hot mess express and feel like I can’t get off. I am working my full-time job and trying to meet my goals, pouring my heart into others through my side business, running my boys from this event to the next, getting homework done in between, and not to mention making sure they’re wearing the right outfit each day of the dreaded spirit week. Oh, yea. And then there is trying to make time for a date night with my husband, dinner, and laundry and then don’t forget about my self-care routine I’m trying to fit in. I have hundreds of tabs open in my brain, but not sure where to start to clear them out.
A recent study calls this type of stress, “invisible labor,” and it can negatively impact the well-being of moms. However, do we bring this on ourselves? In the study, 90% of the women surveyed felt solely responsible for household management. I would totally agree with this, as I’m always communicating our schedule for the week with my husband and making sure he’s aware of what’s coming up. It’s no fault of his own…I just take it upon myself to carry the bulk of the “invisible labor” daily.
Prolonged stress is not good for our health. According to The American Institute of Stress, there are many symptoms of stress including frequent headaches, forgetfulness, insomnia, increased frustration, and excess anxiety and feelings of overwhelmedness just to name a few. There have been so many times I’ve felt so overwhelmed, that I just feel paralyzed and then feel like I can’t do anything. Mamas…we need to get off the hot mess express create new habits that lead to less stress. Here are a few suggestions for how to better manage your stress:
• Relinquish some control: it’s okay to ask for help…divide up some of your “invisible labor’ with your partner. For example, ask them to get groceries or do the homework with your kiddos.
• Tell your tribe how you’re feeling: you’re not the only stressed out mom…I promise! Rely on the support of your fellow moms who know how you feel and can share ways they are attempting to get their stress under control.
• Create a self-care routine: easier said than done, I know, but think of ways you can put your oxygen mask on first and create new habits that will serve your well-being. Get up a few minutes early and have a hot cup of coffee, write what you’re grateful for every day, take a few minutes before bed to read instead of scrolling Instagram, for example.
• Breath: when those feelings of overwhelmedness take over…stop…breath in and out slowly and deeply and say a mantra to yourself such as “I am in control of my life.”
So…are you on the hot mess express too? You can get off at any time, but it will take making some intentional changes in your life. You don’t have to bear all of the “invisible labor” and stress yourself out to the max. What matters most is that your children feel loved and see a mama who is the healthiest and happiest version of herself. We got this, mama.