We all lead hectic lives, stress being one of the most taxing in our lives. Internal factors for why we become stressed include:
- Learn to say “No”
No is one of the smallest words in our vocabulary, yet it carries an incredible amount of weight. People are afraid to use no because it can conjure up feelings of being rejected (… and we all know how painful that can be.) Instead of stirring up toxic emotions associated with a “NO” we find it easier to do things we’d rather not do and attend events that aren't to our liking.
- Don’t over commit
What is normal? I know I can tell you who is pretty amongst my friends, who is smart, who is the most athletic, but who is normal? Normal is our internal perceptions making it so. We all have this perception to be Wonder Woman/Superman is normal. There is pressure on today’s parents to work, raise our kids, have the perfect marriage, the cleanest house and be home every night with a healthy, balanced, home cooked meal on the table. When we try to be all things to everyone - there will be stress. A simple technique to deal with this is to look for your inspiration in others around you and work to emulate the core values that inspire you.
- We need to have self-care
If I asked you to rank yourself and your 10 closest family or friends in terms of who you prioritise, where you would end up on that priority ladder? The first time I did this I ended up at number 3 behind my husband and daughter. It was only when I realised that in order to have more happiness in my life I needed to be in the number one spot. It didn't mean I was selfish, but when I am happy those around me are too. When you put yourself first, you have a greater capacity to care for others.
Every day I spend an hour just on myself. Now I know people find this hard to believe, but it could be as simple as a hot bath once a week or a walk to the park where the kids are not allowed to annoy you. Or a quick lie on the bed with the door shut. Little ones learn very quickly the sign on the door means mummy time.
- Set good boundaries
Good boundaries let others know that ‘I matter’ and this is how I like to be treated. Without boundaries it’s possible to be taken advantage of or feel like life is pushing you around.
I remember how often I used to shift the goal posts just to accommodate others. Strong boundaries act like a compass, always guiding me when to say yes and when to say no.
- Be gentle on yourself
Stress comes about when you place unreal expectations on yourself and try to be successful in every avenue of life. I have found that it is far easier to build on my strengths and to look for ways to accept and accommodate for my weakness.
Cleaning for example is not my forte; therefore I have learned to live with a slightly less than perfect looking house. Its clean it’s just not sterile and the dust can sit for weeks before it’s removed and I'm ok with that.
I also loathe cooking; well actually it’s not the cooking side of it that I hate but the thinking about what to cook side of the equation. So 25 years ago I made my husband cook one day a week. He cooked the same meal every week for two years when he got bored with that he brought himself a cook book and had been experimenting ever since.
What to do about it
The biggest trick is not to criticise when others offer to help. I watch friends complain about how their husbands do not help, yet when they do they berate them because it was not done their way or to their high standard.
Being part of a family is a team effort. When everyone pulls their weight the tasks can all easily be done. Stress comes when we have a high expectation of ourselves and those around us.
At the end of the day you have to do what feels right and ignore what others think.