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10 Tips for Stressed-Out Moms

      Ever have one of those days where you cannot handle one more child forgetting his history project, one more trip to the vet for the sick dog, or having to clean (for the fifth time that day)  a crunchy Cheerio kitchen floor?

      Here are 10 tips designed for you to get your life under control, to go with the flow without losing your mind - or at least get part of it back if it’s already left for the day….

 #1.  Get enough sleep!  It’s hard to love your children/spouse when you are so tired you can’t even see what they look like.  If you’ve been up all night with a sick child, make sure you get a nap the next afternoon.  If you work, take your lunch break in your car and squeeze in a quick nap there.

 #2.  Get your down time:  discover what refreshes you or reenergizes you. You need to do this daily.  If time does not permit daily, then at least once a week.  Get a sitter and take a nap or go out for a walk.  If you can’t afford a sitter, create a playgroup where you can exchange child care time“Time off” is not a luxury, it’s a necessity! 

#3.  Find time to exercise – preferably daily, or at least several times a week.  It may be very difficult to summon up the energy after chasing wired up toddlers all day.  However, exercise has been proven to decrease stress, build your stamina, and help you maintain a better perspective on your life.  Find something you enjoy doing.

 #4.  Eat all four food groups and decrease all the foods you love:  chocolate, fast foods, and take-out – which are all loaded with fat, sugar and salt.  Did you realize that an unbalanced diet leads to fatigue and irritability and even mood swings?  Hydration is important to help you think clearly and assist your body in burning fat!

 #5.  You really do need to laughLaughing decreases the levels of two stress hormones we hear so much about these days:  cortisol and epinephrineLaughing also assists the immune system by increasing the antiviral and antibacterial functions in the body.  It can dissipate anger, decrease depression, fatigue, and tension (and it exercises your internal organs!).

 #6.    Listening to music instead of the television can relax your mind and body.

 #7.  Maintaining your relationship with your spouse is vitally important.  We need to be “the safe harbor” in the storm of life for our spouse.  When we (and they) feel loved and cared for, then we feel connected.

 #8.  Being appropriately assertive.  Often as Christians, and even as women, we don’t know how and when to state our needs, desires, and preferences in a healthy way.  Inability to do this can lead to stress as we tend to internalize our frustration and anger.

 #9.  We need to have our time with the Lord each day to renew our bond with Him.  This keeps our priorities in place and reassures us that He still loves us and still cares about us.  Meditation, praying, and worshiping are all ways to focus on God.

 #10.   Keeping our lives in perspective.  Today is one day.  How we react to it, what we expect from it, how flexible we are, is all up to us.  Tomorrow is a new day - it’s an opportunity to ask for forgiveness from God and others, forgive ourselves for any mistakes we may have made and to move on, enjoying our blessings and being grateful for them.

                                God bless you in your efforts to relax,

                                 Mary