Stress

Shaterical - posted on 07/15/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )

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how do u deal with school work and a toddler and a baby on the way without stressing out??

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Felicia Neikolle - posted on 07/16/2009

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I have what I call sanity time. I go down to the basement and no kids are allowed ... I stay down there and just read or do a crossword puzzle something. Although this isn't working lately either ... about to be back on the meds for the anxiety attacks. Good luck!!

Tomia - posted on 07/16/2009

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You just look at the bigger picture and realize you are doing it all for them. If possible turn to others for help, create a circle of support. Take some me time every now and again.

Carrie - posted on 07/15/2009

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i did this just last year! it is very stressful.



make sure you have support, whether it be husband, boyfriend, family and friends. it's easier to get work done without a toddler around, so if you can? study and do assignments in the evening time, i'm lucky because my son has always gone to bed at 7.



but if your in the first trimester make sure you have plenty of sleep because that tiredness creeps in quick, this is where family and friends come in handy to babysit on odd saturday or sunday so you can study.



and also think of the future and the break you'll have when the baby is born.



i can't wait to go back now. my sons 6 months already, it flies so take one day at a time. good luck xxx

Sara - posted on 07/15/2009

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I do not think there is anyway to not stress out, I just try to remember how much better I will be able to provide great things like college for my kids. Oh and it really helped me to recognize that I could only take one or two classes at a time and take it slow. There was one particular semester that i only took an online class so that I could deal with a one year old and a new born and working! It took me ten years to graduate with my BS in biology, but I just graduated and it feels so wonderful. I think that diploma means more to me because of what I had to do to get it and that I did not neglect my munchkins to do it. Good luck and even if it feels like it will go on forever, if you keep at it an end will come, do what you can!

Jenna - posted on 07/15/2009

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That is a pretty good amount of stress, but always keep in mind that you are doing GREAT! I truely know how you feel. I have a 3 year old, a 5 year old that starts her first year of school this year, and an 8 year old (9 in Sept) that will be going to a school about 20 miles away from our house (Better Academics). Not to mention I will be starting my new college in Sept, my husband works full-time from 9a - 6p and I will be getting a full-time night job within a few months of starting classes.

Its always a lot to handle! No matter how many kids you have, no matter what you schedule looks like and no matter what is going on with your career. Always remember, you ARE a mom and you CAN take ANYTHING that comes your way!

Stress managment strategies:



Exercise

Physical exercise not only promotes overall fitness, but it helps you to manage emotional stress and tension as well. For one thing, exercise can emotionally remove one temporarily from a stressful environment or situation. Being fit and healthy also increases your ability to deal with stress as it arises.

Relaxation and meditation

There are many ways to use structured relaxation and meditation techniques to help control stress and improve your physical and mental well-being. While some types of meditation and relaxation therapies are best learned in a class, it's also possible to learn meditation techniques on your own. There are literally hundreds of different types of relaxation methods ranging from audio CDs to group martial arts and fitness classes. The following are only examples of the types of structured programs available that can increase our capacity for relaxation:

* Autogenic training: Developed in the early 20th century, this technique is based upon passive concentration and awareness of body sensations. Through repetition of so-called autogenic "formulas" one focuses upon different sensations, such as warmth or heaviness, in different regions of the body. Autogenic training has been used by physicians as a part of therapy for many conditions. Popular in Europe (where it is even covered by some insurance plans), this method is currently gaining acceptance in the United States. No particular physical skills or exercises are involved; however, people desiring to learn this technique must be prepared to invest time and patience. Since this technique is slightly more complex than some relaxation methods, a course is generally the best way to learn the method.

* Biofeedback: Biofeedback is one method of learning to achieve relaxation, control stress responses, or modify the body's reactions through the use of monitoring equipment that provides information from the body which would normally not be available. This method is based upon the principle first advanced in the early 1960s that the autonomic nervous system (the part we don't consciously use) is trainable. For example, instruments can be used to measure heart rate, blood pressure, brain activity, stomach acidity, muscle tension, or other parameters while people experiment with postural changes, breathing techniques, or thinking patterns. By receiving this feedback, one can learn to identify the processes that achieve the desired result, such as reduction in heart rate and blood pressure. Biofeedback is used by many practitioners for a variety of psychological and physical conditions. Because the technique involves the use of measuring devices, it can only be performed by a professional.

* Imagery: Imagery, sometimes referred to as guided imagery, is the use of pleasant or relaxing images to calm the mind and body. By controlling breathing and visualizing a soothing image, a state of deep relaxation can occur. This method can be learned by anyone and is relatively easy to try out.

* Meditation techniques: Ranging from practices associated with specific religions or beliefs to methods focusing purely on physical relaxation, meditation is one of the most popular techniques to achieve physical and mental relaxation. There are thousands of different types of meditation, and many can be learned on your own. The meditative state is one in which there is a deep centering and focusing upon the core of one's being; there is a quieting of the mind, emotions, and body. The meditative state can be achieved through structured (as in a daily practice of a routine) or unstructured (for example, while being alone outdoors) activities. While teachers of meditative arts are readily available, some techniques can be learned though books or online tutorials.

A form of meditation popularized in the last few decades is TM, or transcendental meditation. TM has the goal of achieving transcendental consciousness, or the simplest form of awareness. It is practiced for 15-20 minutes in the mornings and evenings and is relatively easy to learn. Numerous classes and teaching materials are available for beginners.

Another variant of a meditation technique has gained popularity in the U.S. since its description in the 1970s by Harvard physician Herbert Benson. This technique involves generation of the so-called relaxation response through the repetition of a word of phrase while quietly seated, 10-20 minutes per day. Designed to evoke the opposite bodily reaction to the stress response (or "fight or flight" reaction), this method carries no religious or spiritual overtones. Its value has been documented in the reduction of blood pressure and other bodily stress responses. Like other forms of meditation, it can be learned on one's own, but time and practice are required to elicit the desired relaxation state.

* Progressive muscle relaxation: Progressive muscle relaxation is a method developed in the 1930s in which muscle groups are tightened and then relaxed in succession. This method is based upon the idea that mental relaxation will be a natural outcome of physical relaxation. Although muscle activity is involved, this technique requires no special skills or conditioning, and it can be learned by almost anyone. Progressive muscle relaxation is generally practiced for 10-20 minutes a day. As with the relaxation response, practice and patience are required for maximum benefits.

* Qigong: The martial art qigong is an ancient Chinese health-care system that combines physical training (such as isometrics, isotonics, and aerobic conditioning) with Eastern philosophy and relaxation techniques. There are many different kinds of qigong, including medical qigong. Some forms are practiced while standing, sitting, or lying down; others involve structured movements or massage. Over 70 million Chinese practice some form of qigong daily. Qigong has been used for centuries in China for the treatment of a variety of medical conditions. Learning qigong involves time, commitment, patience, and determination, and learning from a master or group is advisable. Since this technique involves physical exertion, check with your doctor before beginning, particularly if you have a chronic medical condition or are over 40 years old.

* Tai chi: Like qigong, tai chi is a Chinese martial art. It has been termed a kind of "meditation in motion" and is characterized by soft, flowing movements that stress precision and force. Also known as tai chi chuan, this method is thousands of years old. As with qigong, training from a master is necessary to learn the art of tai chi. Again, since motion and force are required, check with your doctor before beginning training.

* Yoga: There are many forms of yoga, an ancient Indian form of exercise based upon the premise that the body and breathing are connected with the mind. The practice of yoga is thought to be over 5,000 years old. One goal of yoga is to restore balance and harmony to the body and emotions through numerous postural and breathing exercises. Yoga, which means "joining" or "union" in Sanskrit, has been called the "search for the soul" and the "union between the individual and the divine." Among the benefits of yoga are increased flexibility and capability for relaxation. No special level of conditioning is required; yoga can be learned by nearly anyone. Classes, books, and videos are widely available. Those with special or chronic physical conditions will want to get clearance from their doctor before beginning.



Time management

Good time-management skills are critical for effective stress control. In particular, learning to prioritize tasks and avoid over-commitment are critical measures to make sure that you're not overscheduled. Always using a calendar or planner, and checking it faithfully before committing to anything, is one way to develop time-management skills. You can also learn to identify time-wasting tasks by keeping a diary for a few days and noticing where you may be losing time.

For example, productivity experts recommend setting aside a specific time (or multiple times) each day to check and respond to email and messages rather than being a continual slave to incoming information. Banishing procrastination is another time-management skill that can be learned or perfected.

Organizational skills

If your physical surroundings (office, desk, kitchen, closet, car) are well-organized, you won't be faced with the stress of misplaced objects and clutter. Make it a habit to periodically clean out and sort through the messes of paperwork and clutter that accumulate over time.

Support systems

People with strong social support systems experience fewer physical and emotional symptoms of stress than their less-connected counterparts. Loved ones, friends, business associates, neighbors, and even pets are all part of our social networks. Cultivating and developing a social support network is healthy for both body and mind.

How can I get help with stress management?

If you feel you can't manage stress on your own or you are faced with unbearable stress, remember that there are resources to help.

1. Check in with your doctor. Stress can take its toll on your body, increasing your susceptibility to infections and worsening the symptoms of practically any chronic condition. Stress alone can also be a cause of numerous physical symptoms. Your physician will be able to assess the effects that stress may be having on your physical functioning and can recommend ways to combat these negative influences. Remember to be honest about the extent of stress you are experiencing. In severe cases of short-term life stress, your doctor can talk with you about the possibility of medications to help alleviate the short-term symptoms. Your doctor is also an excellent referral source should you decide to seek a counselor or therapist.

2. Consider counseling. Stress-management counseling is offered by various types of mental-health professionals. Stress counseling and group-discussion therapy have proven benefits in reduction of stress symptoms and improvement in overall health and attitude. Counseling doesn't have to be a long-term commitment, but some people will benefit from a series of stress-counseling sessions from a qualified therapist. He/she can help you identify the problem areas in your life and work on strategies to control your most stressful moments or situations. The very act of talking to an impartial and supportive observer can also be a great way to unleash tension and worry.

3. Spend time with those you love. Countless studies show that people with a balanced, happy social support structure (consisting of friends, family, loved ones, or even pets) experience fewer stress-related symptoms and are better stress managers than people without social support. Your loved ones are also in an excellent position to observe your lifestyle and offer suggestions and help when you need it.

4. Take a course. Many relaxation programs, meditation techniques, and methods for emotional and physical relaxation are actually learned processes that can be acquired most quickly through a class or course with a competent instructor. An added benefit is that you will meet others with similar goals and interests.



# Engage in a vigorous physical exercise that is convenient and pleasurable. Sometimes it helps to get a friend to exercise with you.

# Don't let one thing dominate you, such as school work, relationships, jobs, sports, etc.

# View life as challenges to seek, not obstacles to avoid.

# Take responsibility for your life and your feelings, but never blame yourself.

# Maintain a reasonable diet and sane sleep habits.

# Avoid the use of sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and other drugs to control stress.

# Protect your personal freedoms and space. Do what you want and feel, but respect the rights of others. Don't tell others what to do, but if they intrude, let them know.

# Find a time and place each day where you can have complete privacy. Take time off from others and pressures. Short time-outs during the day can help improve efficient functioning the rest of the day.

# Don't drift along in troublesome and stressful situations or relationships. Take action to change rather than trying to avoid the problem. Taking chances is the key to emotional well-being.

# Surround yourself with cues from positive thoughts and relaxation.

# Review your obligations from time to time and make sure they are still good for you. If they're not, let them go.

# Open yourself to new experiences. Try new things, new foods, new places.

# When worries start to build up, talk to someone.



Unhealthy ways of coping with stress

These coping strategies may temporarily reduce stress, but they cause more damage in the long run:

* Smoking

* Drinking too much

* Overeating or undereating

* Zoning out for hours in front of the TV or computer

* Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities



* Using pills or drugs to relax

* Sleeping too much

* Procrastinating

* Filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems

* Taking out your stress on others (lashing out, angry outbursts, physical violence)

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I know my kids are my stress reliever. I have a 6 year-old "bonus"daughter, a 20 month-old toddler and a 5 month-old, plus I'm in school full time. I don't work, but when I'm now at school I have the kids. Plus, I have my oldest daughter's biological mother to deal with (which is streeful in and of itself!). I just make sure to take some time every single night to spend time with each of my kids. Even if it's just sitting down and watching a movie together, it's quality time and it recharges me. I hope this helps and good luck!

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