Listen to “018: What is stress? A guide for WAHMS.” on Spreaker.

So, what is stress?

We’ve all felt it- and we’ve all been there.  As a work at home mom, you don’t need to ask “What is stress?” because you’re most likely experiencing it on a regular basis.  But just in case you need a wake up call, let me help you out.  (Plus, I’ll throw in a few pointers to help you avoid unnecessary stress!)

Signs of stress

Your body has this fight-or-flight defense mechanism that kicks in anytime it feels threatened (whether real or imagined).  The best way to cope with stress in your work at home position is to recognize the symptoms of stress and begin to address them one by one until you alleviate them the best you can.

Working from home does bring a certain amount of stress into your life- I won’t lie.  When you’re balancing family with work and attempting to divide the boundary lines of each, trying to keep up with the housework and kids, and keep up with clients…yes my mompreneur friend- being a wahm does come with its share of stressors.

In order to keep ourselves sane (to some degree) and actually continue enjoying our lives, we must learn to recognize stress factors the moment we see them in our lives.

Recognize them and deal with them.

Low energy

If you can barely lift your head out of bed in the morning or you just can’t seem to ramp up and get moving past lunch time, your energy, my friend, is way low.

Some things you can do to increase your energy levels are the obvious: like eating healthier, taking vitamins, and getting more sleep.  Which leads me to the next symptom of stress:

Insomnia

If you’re not getting to sleep at night and you find yourself burning the midnight oil more often than not, you might be experiencing a significant lack of sleep due to insomnia.

Of course if you’ve got little ones underfoot and the baby’s keeping you awake at night, you could easily develop insomnia as well, but if you’re just having a really difficult time getting to sleep on a regular basis, I would go see my doctor and get some advice about what to do.

Some small tips I would recommend are getting your kids on a better sleeping schedule (one that meets mama’s needs too!), and get your kids and yourself to bed earlier!  Make sure the kiddos are getting plenty of exercise throughout the day so they’re nice and tired at night.

And the same goes for you!  Don’t neglect your own daily exercise routine.  Find some form of exercise you like, and go for it!  At night your body will be ready to settle in to a deeper rest and sleep.

Aches and Pains

Whatever we’re experiencing in our emotions shows up in our physical health.  Psychology and science backs up that you’re more likely to experience several aches and pains- anything from headaches to unexplained illnesses- all due to psychological or emotional traumas and disorders-much of which is caused by stress.

Frequent infections and colds

Again, just as with aches and pains, we might find that our stressors will manifest in frequent infections and colds.  The best way to combat this (besides getting rid of the stressor, of course), is to build up your immune system.

Drink plenty of water daily, take vitamin C, eat healthy and clean, exercise, and practice prayer and meditation.

Moody and easily agitated

Moodiness is another symptom of stress.  If everything your family or friends do irritate the stew out of you, then you might be experiencing stress on a level beyond your recognition.

If you find yourself getting constantly irritated with your situation to the point where you feel helpless about changing anything, you’re probably already stressed about it.

Try to solve the problem in the best practical way possible- removing or at least changing the stressor- if you can.  If it’s an impossible feat (because it’s your own kid who’s stressing you out!)- well that’s a whole different story.  You can’t remove your kid but you can remove yourself from a situation or remove an object involved in the situation that is causing you stress.

For example, if your child’s attitude is awful after you’ve instructed them to do a chore, you can remove a favorite toy or electronic device.  It may cause more stress at first (because you have to put up with the tear-fest), but it removes stress for you later on when your child knows how to better behave when they’re told to do something.

Disorganization, forgetfulness, & inability to focus

Lastly, I cover this point because- well- it’s so common- and I’m experiencing this one right now.  Although I consider myself a fairly organized person, I’ve discovered lately how disorganized and forgetful I can be.  This is why I absolutely have to live by a calendar and a checklist each week to make sure I don’t miss anything.

Disorganization is often a result of having too much to do.  Which mom doesn’t?  And now you’re a mom working from home, so you’ve more than doubled your responsibility load.

As a wahm, you might find yourself occasionally (if not constantly!) forgetting things or unable to focus on certain tasks.

Hear me when I say, it’s absolutely normal to feel overwhelmed.  It’s all about how we work through the overwhelm and overcome it.

In another post, I’ll share some ways I believe we can overcome the stressors of our overwhelming load as work at home moms, and how we can make things easier for us. What are some ways you manage stress?

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