By Mary Jane Bogle as seen in Country Living magazine
Hey, Mom, when was your last stress test? No, I’m not talking about running on a treadmill with monitors hooked up to your heart. I’m talking about the stress levels in your home. With the holidays just around the corner, you might want to add a quick tension check-up to your to-do list. How you rate against these seven signs of stress can have a big impact on your holiday season.
1. SLEEP. You’re not getting any, or at least not enough. Mom Sense Rx: Turn off the TV at least an hour before bed. Better yet, don’t turn it on at all – enjoy a good book or long bath instead. Cut out the caffeine, too. Your day will run more smoothly is you get a good night’s sleep.
2. SAYING “NO.” You don’t do it often enough. Overcommitment is the quickest way to send your life spinning out of control. Mom Sense Rx: Let someone else run the bake sale, plan the Christmas play or host the family get-together. Keep your focus where it matters most – at home.
3. SAYING “YES.” If “no” is your instant response to your kids’ requests for your time and attention, it’s time to refocus. Mom Sense Rx: Reprogram your instincts and indulge your kids’ interests. Bake the cookies. Play in the snow. Get out the finger paints and Play-Doh. Not only will you build a lifetime of memories, but you just might find some personal renewal in the process.
4. SELF-CONTROL. You seem to have lost it somewhere along the way. Raising your voice and snapping at the kids (and husband) is no way to spend the holidays! Mom Sense Rx: Inhale and exhale slowly, then count to 10 before you respond to any stressful situations.
5. SUSTENANCE. A Pop-Tart and a cup of coffee do not a calm mother make. Mom Sense Rx: Take time for three nutritious meals every day. Consider talking with your doctor about supplements, too. That extra vitamin B and omega-3 might be just the thing your worn-out body needs.
6. SOCIAL LIFE. If you find yourself complaining about kids, husband and house with your friends, it’s time to change the conversation – or the friendships! Mom Sense Rx: Surround yourself with people who encourage you and build you up as a wife and mom.
7. SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE. When was the last time you took a moment to renew your soul? Mom Sense Rx: A daily quiet time for reflection and prayer will do wonders to keep your focus positive and upbeat.
Taking steps to handle your daily stress now – let alone the extra tension holidays often bring – will reap dividends come Thanksgiving or Christmas morning, helping you and your family experience peace on earth – and in your home!