As you know my goal this year is to tackle the stress working mothers are feeling head on.
This is a common theme within many of our lives: feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, and frustrated that we can’t do it all.
At times we aren’t sure why we feel stressed, just that we do.
As I compiled information to share with you about the methods you can use to reduce stress, which I’ll write more about soon, I received a wonderful email from Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter, a psychologist and organizer of High Achieving Women, a site which focuses on stress and burnout for women.
The first step is, of course, determining whether or not you are burned out. Dr. Carter offers information for finding this out on her site, but some things to look for include losing interest in regular activities, loss of sleep, or feelings of panic.
If you recognize that you are experiencing some stress in your life, it is time to determine why.
This can be the tough part.
Working mothers know many of their potential sources of stress: working too much, not enough time with family, too many demands from all fronts.
Yet oftentimes we are unable to pinpoint the exact purpose we are feeling so stressed, and then, of course, find methods for handling that stress.
Carter shared in her email a few sources of stress for working mothers, which I wanted to share with you. If you can figure out where that stress is coming from, then you are more apt to change the factors that are bringing you stress.
Carter states that sources of stress generally come from the following:
- Limited time
- Not enough money (at least not enough to do the things you feel you should be doing for your children – ie: enrolling them in all activities)
- Pressures from the spouse, who may feel neglected because of the time you spend on other things
- Physical and hormonal changes from childbirth and aging
- Worrying about the children in a general sense – their safety, their well being
Do you see the reasons behind your stress in the list above? Oftentimes there is a combination – you are stressed because your calendar is full but your tank is empty and there isn’t enough money to cover the bills for the month.
Identifying the main source of your stress is a first step. If you can say, “I’m stressed because I have too many demands on my time throughout any given day,” you can begin addressing these demands in a way that will enable you to free up some stress.
Once you have alleviated some of your time demands (which we will talk about in a future post), you can then work on another item on the list that might be stressing you out.
Also, once you tackle one area – for instance, time demands – you may find another area – time with spouse – suddenly fixes itself.