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Stress Case

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So I thought I’d take a minute to write a little about something I have in common with every other human on the planet: Stress.  Raise your hand if you’ve felt “stressed out” in the past week.  The past day? The past hour?  Keep that hand up– you know where this is going.

 And here’s the thing about stress: it can come from anywhere.  I can feel stressed because of anything from traffic on the way to a meeting, my daughter’s health,  clothes that shrunk in the dryer, family arguments or miscommunications, to fears or anxieties going on within my own mind.  Nobody is exempt from feeling this way, and it actually probably is a sign that we are intelligent enough to be taking our lives seriously (A Plus).  If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that becoming a parent takes this stress to a whole other level.  It’s completely overwhelming to have everything we take on in our lives already, and then to have trying to successfully raise our children lumped on top of it.

For example, right now I am writing this in my bed with a broken foot, a ten month old baby, a husband out of town, and a group of friends on speed dial who have been nice enough to bring me food and help give my daughter a bath at night.  But here’s the thing, nobody “wins” when it comes to stress or anxiety.  Stress is relative, and nobody has more of a right to this feeling than you or me.  It just is.  But I have found a few things that help me when I’m feeling stressed and overwhelmed.  I hope they help you, too!

1.     Don’t spiral.  It’s easy to allow stress to accumulate to the point where it feels dramatic and is a “good story”.  Nobody wins points for being the most stressed-out or anxious person you know.  Try to focus on the solution and the solution only, and take the first step to making things easier or better for yourself.  It feels good to save your own day!

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2.     Make sure you eat and drink water. This sounds so dumb but really can be a culprit at times.  Feeling really fragile? When is the last time you ate a little something with protein? I keep trail mix and a bottle of water in my car for this exact reason.  And then I eat it all and get anxious about needing to replace it.  Working on this. 

3.     Admit it.  My mother once gave me great advice about jealousy.  She said if you’re feeling jealous about something somebody is telling you, come clean right away! Say something to the person like “Oh man, I am so jealous that you get to do that!”, and it will immediately diffuse your feeling of jealousy.  Seriously, try it.  I do the same thing when I’m feeling overwhelmed.  Instead of acting grouchy or keeping everything inside until I implode, I just admit it.  I say “I’m feeling SO overwhelmed right now, I just feel like I could cry” and right away I feel better.  Sure, most of the time I say this to a two foot tall person with one tooth, but it still works!

4.     Close your eyes and breathe.  Obviously not when you’re driving, ok? But I have found closing my eyes and taking deep breaths to be an excellent way of centering myself and calming my heart rate.  Try to smile when you do this, even when you don’t feel like it.  I use an essential oil blend by doTerra called “Serenity” that includes Lavender, Sweet Marjoram, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Hawaiian Sandalwood, and Vanilla oils.  I put a drop on my wrists or a couple of drops on my shirt when I need a little bit of help relaxing.   

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5.     Delegate.  I’m terrible at this. It’s really my greatest challenge.  But I have found that my stress levels go waaaaay down when I’ve allowed other people to help me.  Is there just one thing you can take off of your plate and give to somebody who loves you? Do it! You won’t regret it.  Remember that we aren’t less capable parents if we do it with a little help– the goal is to enjoy our lives with all of its components!

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xoxo
EAM

(Photographs by Nina Suh for Love And Lemonade Photography)

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17 Comments

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you!!! I feel like you wrote this for me!! I have an almost 10 month old son. 🙂

    07.07.15Reply
    • Happily Eva After says:

      Hang it there, Mama! Not every day is easy, but it’s all worth it in the end!
      xoxo
      EAM

      07.07.15Reply
  2. manpreet says:

    This was really helpful blog on stress. However, I feel stress comes in your life as subtle way to tell you that something needs to be changed. when I feel stress I just tell myself whats the problem and whats the solution ( like you mentioned) so i can end one situation and move on to the other one. All your tips were really great especially on delegating your tasks if you can.
    Thank you,
    xoxo

    07.07.15Reply
    • Happily Eva After says:

      Agreed! Make your life work FOR you!
      xoxo
      EAM

      07.07.15Reply
  3. Melissa says:

    Thanks for the reminder that all of us mothers are experiencing similar beautiful chaos. Let’s all take a deep breath together!

    07.07.15Reply
  4. Maria says:

    I recently discovered your blog (through Instagram) and have been enjoying reading it. Thank you for taking the time to write.

    07.07.15Reply
    • Happily Eva After says:

      Thank YOU for reading, Maria!
      xoxo
      EAM

      07.07.15Reply
  5. JLS says:

    Your post is spot on. I find that my patience level has come to an all new low since having my Daughter (almost 5 months ago), sometimes it’s really hard to close your eyes and breathe because you’re so frustrated and exhausted. I find your posts to be inspiring, humorous and enjoyable all in one. Keep em coming!

    07.07.15Reply
    • Happily Eva After says:

      Hang in there! It gets easier
      xoxo
      EAM

      07.11.15Reply
  6. I love this…and asking for help is definitely something I struggle with on the daily. I have a 10 month old and a 3 year old and sometimes I feel like I am doing so much I forget who I am. I need to get better about it, so thank you Eva for the reminder. Love the blog btw….and your sweet baby girl is the CUTEST.

    07.08.15Reply
    • Happily Eva After says:

      Totally understandable but remember that the best gift you can give your kids is being the best version of yourself! Make time for YOU!
      xoxo
      EAM

      07.11.15Reply
  7. Glenda says:

    I found you through IG and enjoy reading your blog! Yes! STRESS! I find that it creeps up as a way to bring attention to us and make us slow down. To make a change! And if you can’t solve it, let it be! Marlowe is the cutest!

    07.08.15Reply
  8. Lauren R. says:

    Stumbled upon your blog through IG…your daughter is adorable, love the pictures, content, and realness.

    07.08.15Reply
    • Happily Eva After says:

      Oh thanks 🙂 She is a rascal! Thanks for reading!
      xoxo
      EAM

      07.11.15Reply
  9. Lindsey says:

    I really like this post, and I love the idea of admitting the feeling right away in order to diffuse it! I can see how that could be really helpful for me. Adding that to my toolbox. 🙂
    I’m really enjoying your blog! Keep writing!

    07.08.15Reply
    • Happily Eva After says:

      Yay! Glad I could help you, Lindsey!!
      xoxo
      EAM

      07.11.15Reply
  10. Elizabeth says:

    I’m such a basket case today after a marathon night with my daughter who said at 4:00am, “I can’t sleep, I tried and I just can’t do it”. I swear to you that reading your tips literally made me tear up. I’m such a dork. haha I love your mom’s advice and think it might be one of those pieces of advice that resonates and sticks with me. Thank you!

    07.13.15Reply