Stress Relief for Special Needs Moms
This week was very stressful. There’s a lot going on here: my husband’s new job (and his office is now at home), an out-of-town specialist appointment for Princess Roo, and state-mandated standardized testing for both girls. That’s added to the usual crazy schedule I have, and the fact that Princess Roo did not sleep well this week. (And since she didn’t sleep well, I didn’t either!) By mid-week, I was exhausted and on the verge of tears all day.
Here’s what I learned and what helped:
- Prayer. I found myself praying throughout the day. I prayed for help, for sleep for my daughter (and myself!), for grace and strength to get through the day, and for God to help me through whatever situation I found myself in at the moment.
- Sleep. I can handle a sleep shortage for a night or two, but when this one kept going on and on because my hubby and daughter weren’t sleeping well (he was up and down all night several nights and she had trouble falling asleep most of the week), then I passed my limit of being able to function well. I was very tired, weepy, and overwhelmed with the mere idea of trying to accomplish basic tasks. The kids were tired too, so we had a day or two where we took some very short power naps, and at night I tried to shut down my activities as soon as Roo went to sleep so I could get as much sleep as possible.
- Exercise. Because I was so tired, there were a few days that I didn’t exercise, and I normally do something every day (usually Holy Yoga or a 30-minute walk on the treadmill). I didn’t realize how much that helps my mental and physical energy levels. Now I realize that I need to make the time even when I don’t feel like it because I handled the stress a lot better on the days that I exercised.
- Nutrition. I admit it. I turned to comfort (read “junk”) foods last week because I was tired and stressed out. On the days I did that, I actually felt worse. When I forced myself to stick to healthier foods, I felt better and handled the week’s challenges with more grace.
- Friends. Having friends to talk to and pray for me, sending me texts to see how I’m doing and making sure I was taking care of myself, was invaluable. Knowing they were there to support and encourage me, and knowing they cared, was such a blessing.
- Family. I am so thankful for family that supports, encourages, and lends a helping hand on weeks when we’re very busy and I’m overwhelmed.
- Stop. Because of some looming writing deadlines, I finally had to cry “Uncle!” and start taking things off my plate. I volunteer on the children’s ministry at church on Wednesday nights, but I had to beg off this week so I could polish an article for a print magazine. I rearranged Thursday’s schedule to wrap up critical tasks for the week, and we took a homeschool spring break day on Friday. (We had only taken one spring break day up to this point, so it’s not going to drastically alter our plan for finishing the year.) On Friday morning, we all slept late and woke up refreshed and feeling much better. (Sometimes we just need a day off, and there’s nothing wrong with taking one every once in a while! It’s a good thing we enjoyed the rest because we have another out-of-town appointment for Roo on Monday.)
The catch is to remember all of these and to use them even when I’m not stressed so that I’ll be in good mental and physical shape to handle the next stressful week that comes my way.
What’s your best stress relief tip?