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Monday, April 25, 2011

Healthy Ways to Manage Motherhood Stress

Dealing with Motherhood Stress


A few weeks ago I posted about the stress response and the effects of stress on your health. While motherhood has its challenges, the rewards definitely make it well worth it—right, Moms? Think of those adorable Mother’s Day cards or the very special breakfast in bed served by your 8-year-old—who wouldn’t sign up for this? So, be the best mom you can be by finding healthy ways to deal with whatever stresses you have in your life.

Find healthy ways to deal with stress.
What you can do:

1) Identify the stressors in your life. These may be marital problems, conflicts at work, family illnesses or just the day-to-day schedule you keep. Once you’ve identified what the primary causes of stress are for you, you can begin to figure out how to either change your stressors or learn to manage them better.

2) Schedule personal relaxation time. Although the demands of your “juggling act” place major obstacles to finding some “down time”, setting a side a few minutes a day just to breathe, collect and organize your thoughts, can work wonders. Start small. Schedule 10 minutes a day to simply do nothing but sit and breathe. Deep breathing can help bring your heart rate and breathing back to normal, so you can clear your mind. Once you’ve accomplished that on a regular basis, consider taking up yoga or meditation.

3) Good nutrition through healthy food choices plays a crucial role in your ability to withstand times of extra stress. Carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals are all important for energy, mental concentration, and emotional stability. Along with the stress induced effects on digestion and your immune system, stress may increase your body's need for certain nutrients so you may need an extra healthy diet to stay focused, alert, energetic and to ward off colds and flu. So choose a variety of foods and be sure to eat complex carbohydrates from whole grain breads and cereals, beans and legumes and fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein from fish, chicken, soy and nonfat or low-fat dairy and select heart-healthy omega-3 fats from fish, avocado, nuts, olives and seeds. Cut back on junk foods, sodas, alcohol and caffeine-containing beverages.

4) Get some extra sleep. Sleep deprivation not only contributes to weight gain and feelings of fatigue, it can also increase medical expenses, sick days and accidents. When you sleep well, you wake up feeling refreshed, alert and ready to face your daily challenges. To help you get a better night’s sleep try to maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule, even on the weekends; establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine; create a sleep conducive environment (dark, quiet and comfortable); and try not to eat a meal, drink alcohol and caffeinated beverages or exercise within a few hours of bedtime.

5) Although exercise right before bed time can disrupt sleep, an active lifestyle can actually help control stress and improve sleep patterns. Exercise can not only help reduce anxiety and increase productivity which can help you handle stress better, but also helps control your appetite and burn calories which can help you maintain a healthy weight. And let’s not forget about the cardiovascular benefits of exercise – it not only strengthens your heart, it can help lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol and triglycerides which in turn reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke.

6) Supplement your diet. Fill in nutritional gaps with a well-balanced, high-quality multivitamin/mineral supplement. Look for one that provides at least 100% of the daily value for 21 essential nutrients including the B vitamins folic acid, B12 and B6 to help promote heart health, the antioxidant nutrients,
vitamin C and E which support immune function and protect against free radical damage and key bone health nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and magnesium. Supplement the omega-3s in your diet with a top quality, pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplement. For digestive health, take a probiotic supplement to help maintain healthy intestinal microflora and for additional stress relief, try botanical ingredients like Ltheanine from green tea and ashwaganda. L-theanine has been shown to facilitate the generation of
alpha brain waves, which are associated with a relaxed yet alert mental state, and ashwaganda is an Ayurvedic herb traditionally used in India to enhance the body’s ability to adapt to stress. And lastly, if getting to sleep remains a challenge, occasionally try herbal ingredients like valerian which can help you
maintain a calm state and promote restful sleep.

We all know that being a mom takes an extraordinary amount of patience, love and discipline. That’s what makes moms so special! But juggling family, finances and work commitments can really be stressful, so remember to keep things in perspective –prioritize wherever you can, delegate responsibilities, eat right, stay active and TAKE YOUR SUPPLEMENTS!

But, most of all, make time for what’s really important – taking care of yourself, so you can be the best mom ever!

Information taken from Shaklee Sciences Bulletin. Shaklee Information is protected by copyright, trademark and other laws and are the property of Shaklee Corporation, unless otherwise noted.
Photo from:<p><a href="">Image: healingdream /</a></p>

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