As a mom do you find that you experience a lot of stress? I know I sure do. There was one night that I had been working all day, was making dinner and trying to help the kids get their homework done. I started to get pains in my chest and got real scared.
I called my husband and he came home and took me to the E.R. Long story short my heart was fine and the pains were caused by stress. My doctor told me I needed to be taking more me time to relax.
For a long time, I was ashamed by the whole experience. What kind of mother was I if I could not handle everything? I started doing some research on this at home safely hidden away from anyone because I was so embarrassed about it. The more I researched the more I found out that I wasn’t so unique.
According to an American Psychological Association poll, almost a quarter of American women rate their stress as extreme – an 8, 9, or 10 on a 1 to 10 scale – compared with 16 percent of men. In another study, the APA reports that millennials (18- to 33-year-olds) are more stressed than older generations – more than 50 percent report that they have lain awake at night in the past due to stress.
Although stress may be normal in our lives it does not mean it is a good thing. A large percentage of mothers report having stress related headaches at least twice a month. Others report stress-related stomach aches, hearth palpitations and daily back pain.
The following are the health problems that can be caused by stress: sleep disorders, stroke, weight, acne, anxiety disorder, autoimmune disease flare-ups, cavities, depression, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, increased cancer risk, irritable bowel syndrome, memory loss, panic disorder and PMS.
What happens when we are under stress? Stress causes your nervous system to activate its “fight or flight” response. When this happens all sorts of things start up; your heart rate increases, adrenalin gets tossed in to you, your muscles become tense, and your blood starts flowing differently.
The thing is, that this happens whether you are stressed out for a minor reason (your child spills their milk) or a major one such as your teen getting in a car wreck. This becomes a problem because it happens too much and it takes a toll on our bodies.
In 2009 Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine, Elizabeth Blackburn discovered in a study of chronically stressed mothers an average shortening of their life expectancy by 9 to 12 years. Those chronically stressed moms were physically ten to 17 years older than their actual age.
Moms, heed these results and find time in your day to take a break. Get away from the kids. Go out for a cup of coffee if you can. Go to the library, visit a neighbor, but whatever you do, take a break. If it is only to soak in the bath you owe it to yourself. If you don’t you won’t be any good to yourself, your kids or your husband.