It wasn’t until I experienced stress as a new mom did I really understand the tolls stress can take on a person’s life. I recently read somewhere that 1 night of inadequate sleep causes a person to lose 30-40% of their mental efficiency, 2 nights of inadequate sleep, a person loses 60-70% of mental efficiency and 6 nights of inadequate sleep, the body goes into distress and begins to not function in an optimal way – digestion, hormone levels, cardiovascular systems all begin to function less optimally.
Well, if you have a newborn it would look like your ‘mental efficiency’ would be pretty much screwed any way you look at it! With those numbers in mind, I decided I’d agree. Maybe that’s when mommy brain kicks in and we start forgetting our keys in the refrigerator and the coffee on the roof of the car.
But sleep aside, what about all the other areas of stress. Lack of sleep is just one little factor in the stress a new mom experiences. In some cases, stress can serve us well. In exercise for example, we stress the body so that our muscles, bones, and cardiovascular systems grow stronger and develop more stamina.
However, chronic stress is destructive and toxic to our bodies, our health, our wellness and overall happiness. Chronic stress can cause aches and pains in our joints, headaches, high blood pressure, sleeplessness, TMJ, and even heart disease. Chronic stress can make us irritable, exhausted, burnt out, withdrawn, depressed, and combative. It affects the quality of our lives, our relationships, our accomplishments, our work, and our overall energy level.
We want to address and to eliminate this stress from our lives, not just find ways to cope and manage it. If we do not eliminate it, its destructive effects still linger in our lives, shifting our energy downward – whether we are conscious of it or not.
So how can we possibly start to eliminate stress?? What’s the magical formula?? There are 3 simple steps you can use TODAY to begin eliminating stress in your life.
STEP 1: MAKE YOUR LIST
List what your stressors are and where they’re showing up in your life. Write down when you are most stressed during the day. Identify what your stress looks like and how your body physically reacts.
STEP 2: IDENTIFY WHAT YOU’RE LOSING
For each stressor identified, write down what this is preventing you from. How is the stress in that particular area causing you to fail in some way? What is it causing you to miss out on? How could you be feeling if you didn’t have that stress?
STEP 3: CREATE ONE SMALL CHANGE
What is one small change you can make in your life to help decrease the level of stress you’re suffering from? Don’t take on your entire list from Step 1 at once. Pick the one you want to work on first and see that through. Focusing on too much, too soon will add more stress to your plate and have an adverse reaction.
By creating a list and seeing it down on paper it makes it easier to manage. If you continue to go through life just complaining how ‘stressed’ you are and not willing to do anything about it, I guarantee the stress will continue to multiply. So sit down, get out your paper and make a plan to change it. These steps work well especially when they’re pair with the help of a coach. Maybe you can’t figure out what it is that’s causing you to be stressed? Maybe you can’t see how it’s causing to fail? Maybe you’ve got 1 and 2 down but can’t see what you can change. A coach can streamline the process and give you the tools to help you find those answers as well as creating the accountability to help you stick to your change.
How do you choose to manage your stress today?
Katie O’Brien is a Certified Professional Life Coach who is all about Balance, Bliss & Babies. Owner of KAO Coaching and a loving mother herself, she remains passionate for helping moms move beyond the painful norms of motherhood while creating their happiest, healthiest selves.