Many of you may have read the recent article or seen the latest video about the mother who got so fed up with her children’s bickering in the backseat of her car that she threw them out to walk home.
I’ve read a lot of message boards about this post, and many of the posts said something like this: I may not have done the exact thing she did, but I can certainly understand how she felt when she did it.
When I heard this story, not only could I understand how she felt, I believe my blood pressure rose in response. I know what it is like to have two fighting children in the backseat, two children who will not stop despite all threats.
Now that my daughters are both independent thinkers just two years apart in age, the bickering has begun. And with so much to do between work and home and life, I find that my tolerance level is not what it once might have been when things were not as stressful.
Stress doesn’t affect us just by making us tired or depressed. It also shortens our ropes, so to speak, so that when something is going wrong that we can’t control, we have more difficulty holding back the emotion that we want to display. This might be crying or yelling or, well, kicking our kids out of the car.
I recently wrote a post about where the stress is coming from. Once we figure this out, we have to determine what we can change to get rid of that stress. I’ve gotten a lot of great tips from some wonderful professionals, and wanted to share a few with you today and over the course of the next few weeks.
If you are feeling an inordinate amount of stress and pressure in your life, here are a few things to try:
- Get out with the girls. This is my number one suggestion, and I will tell you why! If you are feeling under a lot of pressure, you are probably also feeling guilt about how you are handling the stress and also about why you can’t keep it ‘all under control’ (because, dearie, that is impossible!) Going out with women who are in the same space as you and who are suffering with the same issues can be such an eye opener. Case in point: I went out with some moms from the mom’s club I belong to last night. I didn’t want to go at first, only because I was exhausted from a sleepless night with my youngest; but once I got there, I was so glad I went. We all had the same issues to discuss, and then we left them on the floor and had a great time talking about other things: our hobbies, our desires, our likes. Understanding you are not alone is really key to reducing stress.
- Exercise. This is one thing that we can easily drop doing because we feel ‘we don’t have the time’ to do it. But in reality, the time spent exercising can really help put things into perspective. Plus, it’s good for us, and oftentimes if we are feeling stressed at the beginning of a workout we are feeling much more relaxed by the end.
- Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter of High Achieving Women offered a great tip for reducing stress: don’t pile everything into a do do list. Instead, separate the Must Dos and the Will Dos If I Have Time. Complete the first list first and, if you do have time, what is on the second list last.
- Tamar Chansky, author of Freeing Your Child from Anxiety, says this: Find friends with whom you can vent, but make sure they are also optimistic. “Spending time with unhappy people has been proven to bring your mood down.” So make sure you are hanging out with other people who have a good point of view, and who can see the rainbow through the gray clouds.