By Susie Cortright
Among our most critical responsibilities as mothers is the responsibility to the self -- the responsibility to recharge our resources so that we feel balanced, energized and able to thrive under life's demands (and to model this healthy approach to stress for our children).
Choose a life of less stress by identifying your stress points. You can start by answering the following eight questions in your personal journal:
1. Whether you're a WAHM, a SAHM, or a mom who works outside the home, why did you make that lifestyle choice? Write down all the reasons, both personal and professional.
Such a list is an excellent tool for positive affirmation, particularly on those days when the sacrifices you've made stare you squarely in the face. If you discover that the choice you've made isn't the right one, outline the changes you need to make.
2. What are your priorities? How important is your spirituality, your family, your professional identity? Consider this ranking when you're called to make choices and compromises.
When have you put your identity, your plans, and your self-nurturing on hold while you took care of someone else?
3. If you had 15 to 30 minutes each day for yourself, how would you spend it? Schedule time for yourself. Mark it in your day planner or on the family calendar.
4. How much of your stress level is the effect of over-dramatization? Remind yourself that the level of stress you experience is directly related to the way you internalize it and the importance you place on your own dramatization.
5. Do nutrition and exercise contribute to your stress or help you manage it? If you aren't sure, keep an energy diary to help you determine the hidden factors in your lifestyle that may be robbing you of energy. Make a plan to change or eliminate those influences.
Log the times each day when you feel beat or burned out. For me, it's 3 pm -- about the time I want to hit the cookie jar. Try to schedule your workout (not a great big snack) for the time of day when you need an energy boost.
6. How easy is it for you to say "no"? Respect yourself and your time enough to delegate tasks and refuse to take on more than you can handle.
7. Are you multi-tasking yourself into more stress? When we try to do too much at once, we are raising, not lowering, our stress level. Multi-task only when you can realisticallyfulfill all tasks adequately. It's hard to tune into your kids while you catch up on your own reading, for example, and you can't take time out for yourself while simultaneously devoting the time to anyone else. Decide which tasks deserve your full attention. Then give it.
8. Do you have the support network you need? Conduct a search at http://groups.yahoo.com or http://www.topica.com for an online group that shares your hobbies, interests, or lifestyle.
© Susie Michelle Cortright
Susie Cortright is the founder of momscape.com and Momscape's Scrapbooking Playground -
http://www.momscape.com/scrapbooking. Join her scrapbooking club here:
http://www.momscape.com/scrapbooking/scrapbook-club or learn more about starting your own scrapbooking business on Susie's team.
Read more articles by Susie Michelle Cortright.
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