5 tips for stressed out working moms

As former House leader Tip O’Neil was fond of saying, “Parenting ain’t beanbag.” I may not have gotten that quote exactly right, but the sentiment is accurate. Raising children can be stressful. Couple that herculean responsibility with the stress of a full-time job and you have a recipe for disaster.

Even more concerning is the mounting evidence that emotional stress takes a significant toll on a person’s physical health. Doctor’s now believe that stress plays a role in almost half of the cardiac events in this country. Considering the fact that heart disease is the leading killer of Americans, the 50% figure is significant.

Your kids need you around for as long as possible. If you’re overworked, you owe it to them to take care of yourself and manage your stress. Try out these five health tips, for stressed out working mommies.

1) Reserve daily time for yourself

What time? You’re probably asking as you stare at your screen incredulously. Full-time mothers don’t have a free second to themselves, let alone working moms. I’m sure your calendar probably feels insanely overbooked, but this might be the most important tip on the list. Just finding little windows of time to yourself can improve your overall stress level immensely. Plop your kids in front of the tube and do some yoga. Read a book while your little darling runs around outside. Anything you can do to get that all-important “you” time in will pay off in spades.

2) Get 8 hours of sleep minimum

Sleep deprivation is a silent killer. I hear so many people claim that they only need five or six hours of sleep to be fully functional and always reply the same way – poppycock. Doctors estimate that only a tiny fraction of the population can get by unimpaired on fewer than seven hours of sleep – most people actually need 8 or 9. Sleep deprivation causes the release of the stress hormone cortisol which, among other things, makes you gain weight. If you’re little bundle of joy is keeping you up in the middle of the night, try establishing a regular bedtime routine that allows you to get a full night’s sleep. It may take some time to establish the proper sleeping habits, but once you do it you’ll notice improvement in your cognitive functions almost immediately.

3) Exercise in the morning

Yup, before you head into the office is the best time to get in that morning jog or bust out a few asanas. Exercising in the morning will jump start your metabolism and improve your mood – both huge components of stress.

4) Share the load
I knew a single mother who, in addition to her full-time job, was working towards her masters in healthcare administration. She couldn’t have done it all without help. Whether or not you have a partner whom you live with, it’s important to have someone in your life that can help ease the burden. This person can be a lover, a parent or just a close friend. Lean on your network when things get overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to ask for a sitter or just a little emotional support.

5) Engage in relaxing activities with your kids

You can actually involve your kids in your new health regimen. Take up painting, meditation or arts & crafts and encourage your children to share your interests. If you’re lucky you can reduce your stress levels while spending quality time with your little ones.

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