Life is full of pressure points. On any given day I can handle them, but sometimes, for whatever reason, they all start throbbing at the same time. Multiple kids have multiple issues. Projects at work loom large. A friend calls with a crisis. My parents get sick. The throbbing becomes so intense it is painful and I feel like I am going to pop. I have fallen down the hole, taken a drink of panic, and I can’t fit back through the door to sanity. I am a stressed out mom.
Like Alice in Wonderland, the trip once started doesn’t get better. The trick is to stop before you start. What are the sanity secrets to keep your feet on solid ground? After years of falling, here are my three…
1. Allow for Quiet Time
Sometimes, the noise of the world around us is enough to drive us crazy! Our brains need time to process and ponder. But if we don’t schedule it we won’t have it. Just do it, force it, leave the dishes in the sink. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and get settled into your favorite chair for a couple hours. Or try taking your journal outside and finding a cozy spot beneath the trees to get inspired. I usually start with whatever Bible study I am currently working on for about an hour. After that, my mind begins to wander and I let it. What usually happens next is that all the things that stress me out become clearer and solutions solidify that I just couldn’t see before. By this point, I am amazed at how God just seems to meet me when I get quiet enough and I usually end up in some solid purposeful prayer! Whatever you choose to do, be sure you save this time for just yourself.
2. Balance Emotions
When we’re constantly running around getting things done and taking care of the kids, our emotions are not a priority. But instead of pushing your feelings aside to deal with later, I challenge you to deal with them now! I am pretty expressive and my passion needs an outlet. I need Mark for this. It is important for me to have time with him. We discuss important decisions about work, life, and kids. He balances me. Spending a little energy working up a sweat exercising usually helps to take the stressed out mom out of me too.
Another key to dealing with stress is having someone who knows you better than yourself. Do life with a friend who can see from the outside when you are on a downhill slalom and running over every flag. Whoever it may be, confiding deeply in this person will help take some of the weight off your own shoulders. Friends like these are hard to come by and take an investment of time. But over the years they learn your weaknesses and can be a great source of insight. Be open to transparency that can be painful when you don’t want to hear it. The accountability they provide can help keep your sanity intact and your parenting on track.