I am a work-at-home mom with three children. Trust me, I know a thing or two about stress. Stress is a killer and I mean that both figuratively and literally. Sometimes I tell my husband that I am losing my mind and I’m not so sure that I’m joking anymore. It’s a lot to handle. Did I mention that I’m the primary breadwinner for the family? All of this has required me to do a little bit of reading about stress management lately because I don’t want to always feel like I’m one step away from a full-blown collapse. Are you with me on this?????
Fear not! There are a few things you can do to help ease your mind. These stress management tips have all worked for me in the past and I continue to practice them to date. If you are new to the blog, allow me to paint a very quick picture for you. My husband and I both work from home and have done so since 2007. Balance is a word that I absolutely hate, but it’s something that we always try to achieve. When I have a ton of deadlines, he tries to manage the kids and vice versa. However, we all know that theory always works better than reality. So, stress management is something that I have to focus on daily. While I love what I do with all of my heart, it does take a toll on me.
Stress Management Tips For Work At Home Moms
Settle into a routine: I need a routine and I don’t like to stray from it. I wake up and know exactly what has to happen and in what order. This information offers some peace of mind. If – instead – I tackled each day wearing blindfolds, I think I would begin every morning with a very different attitude. A routine makes all the difference.
Get a soundtrack: Stress management begins with some of my favorite music. No, seriously. For the last few months, I stopped listening to my playlists while working and it mentally affected me in a very negative way. I need my tunes. I was driving over the weekend and realized something that I will never forget. There are three things that settle my soul – church, music, and quality downtime with my family. Those are the only three things that can reset my button. It’s 100% true.
Get up early if need be, but try not to work around the kids: Two of my children are in school full-time, but my third gets home at 12pm. This is a difficult situation to be in because I still have so much to do after he walks through the door. How do I combat this situation? Sometimes I lose. I’m not going to lie. But most of the time, I try to wake up before everyone else in the house and steal a few extra hours of work before our actual day begins. It’s the only way to stay ahead of myself. Otherwise, I end up ignoring him until 3PM when the rest of the gang comes home and that’s just not ideal. If it needs to happen because of insane deadlines, then that’s just life, folks. Caleb will color next to me while I am working on a video because in the end, our mortgage needs to get paid. This is the only way we make money. Our children understand the situation to the best of their ability. We do the best we can… and that leads up to my very next stress management tip.
Forgive yourself: We are very hard on ourselves. I think a lot of stress comes from expectations. We ask too much of ourselves. We cannot be all things to all people. We cannot be a Pinterest mom while being the breadwinner for our family while training for a marathon while having an actual social life! Guess what – it’s literally not possible. It doesn’t all fit. I hate to tell you, but you are going to have to choose a few and let go of the rest. And then… forgive yourself for letting those go. It’s hard to hear.
When I first married my husband, I used to cook these amazing meals. With cookbooks! Like actual recipes! WHAT????? I would follow the instructions and I would make a mess in my kitchen and I would set the table with candles and it would all be so divine. We’d have so much fun. Mind you – I had an amazing job! I was a business consultant for Accenture. So, I worked pretty long days, but I still found a way to squeeze in a souffle. I found a way to make that work. However, when I added children into the mix… everything fell apart. I couldn’t swing it. I couldn’t have a job and make restaurant-quality meals and love on my children while giving them everything that they needed. So now, I just throw together whatever I can like an Iron-Chef and hope for the best. It took me several years… but I forgave myself. I can’t make a lasagna every Monday. I just can’t! But grilled chicken with white rice and broccoli? That I can do. And it’s ok! Dessert is now an ice pop instead of Baked Alaska and I bet my kids are happier because of it!!!
Unplug: I have a really hard time of letting go of work. That is my nature. I actually believe it’s part of what makes me so successful. But it all comes at a cost. While watching TV at night, something prompts me to open up my computer and fix something in a post I wrote 6-hours before. Or while sleeping I remember that I haven’t shared something on Facebook in a while – so I open up my browser and scan for something funny. My mind is always on and borderline manic. I am filled with anxiety 24-hours a day. I need to learn how to unplug more to help me personally with stress management because if I never let go of work then how can I ever get into a relaxed state??? Don’t be like me. Shut your computer and walk away. This is one of my greatest downfalls when it comes to stress management.
Make a list: Lists are a great way to define your day. I use them all the time to block out segments of my mornings and afternoons. If you take a few minutes and unload your mental to-do onto a piece of paper, you can be sure that you aren’t going to leave out anything critical.
Don’t say yes to everything: OOFH! Another hard one for me to accept completely. Stop saying yes to everything. When you say yes to everything, you undervalue yourself and you stretch yourself too thin. I am going to tell you a quick story about something that just happened. I was invited to review something a few months ago for the blog. They offered me a set rate and it was well below my standard fee. The requirements would have taken me out of state as well. Well, I wrote back and firmly asked for 10X what they were asking. I said that it wasn’t possible for me to do it for less because… it wasn’t. I knew that I was going to spend a good 6 hours working on this campaign. Truth be told, because the original rate was so low, I didn’t think I would hear from the PR firm again. But do you know what happened? They met my rate. Don’t say yes to everything. Know your worth. And if your worth isn’t met, just say no.
Don’t ignore your feelings: Part of stress management is being able to feel it when it starts to creep up on you. Are you getting snippy with everyone? Are you feeling frazzled? Are your everyday tasks starting to get harder and harder? These are all signs that you are starting to get overwhelmed! Stay plugged into yourself.
Practice self-care: Take the long, hot shower. Get the massage. Sleep for 10-hours. Drink your favorite cup of tea in the morning. Sit outside for a few minutes every single day and breathe in some fresh air. Go out for a walk. Meet up with a girlfriend for coffee. Read your favorite book. Sit quietly in a room. Schedule a well-visit with your doctor. Do whatever you love to do and do it often. It’s not about spending money. It’s about finding joy. Make sure that you find joy daily because you deserve. We all do.
Walk away: Hear me out. Stress management sometimes means that you just have to remove yourself from the situation for a little bit. And that’s ok. I don’t mean to physically walk away and leave your house because that’s not always possible when you are a work-at-home mom. I just mean that if a project is a bit too overwhelming or if a child is giving you too much grief or if your husband is not quite understanding what is happening, then leave it on the table for another day. We have to remain sane for the sake of families. If we fall, the whole ship goes down. If you feel – even if just for a moment – that it is too much to handle and you are not strong enough in that instance to handle it – then walk away. Gather your strength and approach it again when you are ready. This is real life! Deal with it when you can.
Talk to someone you trust: We all need a friend that we can lean on when things get too intense. Stress management should always include a confidant. You need a release – and I don’t mean your Facebook status update. I mean a literal friend!
Social media boundaries: I want to write an entirely different post about this, but social media really isn’t doing anybody any good – is it? Not only does it take away from our precious time during the day, but it makes us think we don’t have enough or do enough. I’m not pretty like HER. I don’t travel like HER. My house isn’t as clean as HERS. My dinner doesn’t look as good as HERS. Well, who really cares? On top of that – all those quick little breaks we take to “check in” truly add up. And the more we subtract from our allotted work map, the more stressed out we become. Less Twitter and more whatever it is you do in real life.
Ready for a Stress Management Giveaway?
In order to jumpstart your stress management routine, I have a $25 Amazon gift card to give away to one reader. This gift card can be used to purchase a planner and a candle or whatever you feel like you need to help with your stress management at home. To enter, be sure to use the form below. You have one week to enter. US residents only. Good luck!
Do you have any stress management tips that you’d like to share? Leave them below. I would love to hear from you. The more we share the better.
To see more contests that I have live on the blog, click here.