Let’s face it, our lives are fast-paced and always on the go. We’re more burnt out and overwhelmed than ever. Our nervous systems are crashing. We’re juggling kids’ schedules, making meals, and tackling laundry while joining business calls and answering emails non-stop. All while the dog is barking in the background and a voice inside our head is shouting, “There must be a better way!” Well, my friends, I have some good news—there is a better way.
Studies show that women are two times more likely to suffer from stress than men, so here’s some incentive to keep reading. When I feel like the stressors in my life are working overtime and I need to find balance STAT, you won’t find me curling up in a ball.
Stress isn’t actually as bad as we think. It’s our mindset about stress that does the damage to our body and mind. Here are my go-to’s to keep my stress levels in check every day.
1. Bring your awareness to the stress: "I am intentionally aware of my stressors."
I think most of us can agree that it takes a little more than taking deep breaths and listening to music to not lose our sh*t.
If we really want to get a handle on our stress, it’s critical to pay attention to the factors that might be causing it.
If you’re like me, it might be tough to pinpoint just one. Now, I know that “being present” isn’t always easy when you’re feeling overwhelmed or as I like to call it, “in the middle of a stress storm.”
Picture This: Your kids are yelling and screaming in the middle of a grocery store. Do you: Pause and gently close your eyes to meditate? Do you whip out your yoga mat in the middle of aisle 9? Nope. This isn't a movie. It's real life. And If we're being honest, none of that is happening.
Regardless of the scenario, it’s clear that we need to make these solutions to stress a bit more realistic.
I don’t mean numbing out with a mindless Instagram scroll or too many glasses of wine on a weeknight. At MotherBar, our CBD mints help make these high tension moments easier. I like to think of the mints as a little on-ramp to stress relief. They don’t require much from us, except the willingness to slow down and get ahead of our stressors before they get the best of us.
2. Change your mindset about stress: "My stress is only harmful if I believe it to be."
So what if I told you that there are ways to make stress work for you instead of against you? Yes, it’s possible to turn stress from a scary negative into a positive. One of the best ways to reduce stress is to change how you think about it.
When you’re experiencing stress, you have two choices: to let it take over and break you down, or to go through it, presence the moment, and accept things as they are.
So, although our stressors will never truly go away (I’m looking at you in rush-hour traffic), switching gears like this is what helps us take our power back – especially when pulling our hair out seems like the only viable option.
3. Reframe stress as a tool: "I see stress as a strength, not a weakness."
When we start thinking about stress differently, it can quickly shift from being a burden to an opportunity. That’s right— we can make stress work for us, not against us. There’s a study
that was conducted by the University of California San Francisco, which confirms that some stress is actually good for us.
When something happens to cause us stress, our brains activate our stress hormones, putting our bodies into fight or flight mode. When this happens, our heart rate increases and oxygen is sent to our brain, helping to improve our mental performance, making us more alert and increasing our success in overcoming challenges.
Fight or flight mode is designed to protect us from any perceived threat — a superpower amongst us women. And when this happens, our immune system gets a boost in an effort to self-protect. Pretty cool, right?
If you can realize that your body’s response to stress is actually creating a protective shield inside of you, you can start embracing the adrenaline from stress to work in your favor.
When I feel stressed now I imagine Wonder Woman jumping into action rather than the Grim Reaper coming to take me down. Permission to do what works for you.
4. Connect with a close friend or loved one: "I stay connected when i'm stressed."
Believe it or not, when we’re stressed, we release oxytocin, the same hormone that’s released when we’re happy, in love and exchanging physical touch.
Also known as the “cuddle hormone,” oxytocin makes you more social, more inclined to show and crave physical affection, and it reduces your blood pressure. It also encourages you to talk about your feelings with your partner, a trusted family member, or a friend.
When you’re feeling stressed, remember: Follow your natural instincts.
FaceTime someone you love. Ugly cry. Cuddle up with one of your kids. Cuddle up with yourself, first and foremost. I promise it makes all the difference when you reframe the stressful moments.
5. Recognize that stress enhances your best qualities: "With my stress, I can mother myself and mother others."
When we feel stress, we’re actually wired to be more kind, empathetic, and nurturing—but I’m sure it doesn’t always feel that way. Oddly enough, the stress that most of us are battling against actually makes our bodies more resilient.
This is known as the “tend and befriend” response to stress. It explains why we often respond to what we believe to be a threat, by protecting and tending to others.
The stress we’re feeling around the clock is also what makes us the amazing mothers, wives, sisters, friends and bosses that we are.
While all of this tending and befriending is great, it doesn’t mean that can leave ourselves in the dust. Mothering ourselves is actually the most important. We need to be selfish (in a good way) and take care of our mental health so we can show up as our best selves for those who need us.
At MotherBar, our mission is to make stress optional. Our CBD mints give you the space to reframe your stress.
Keep them in your purse, keep them on your kitchen counter, or in your car dash, and you can proactively respond to stress before it totally takes over and spins you out like your last load of laundry. The next time stress seems to be taking over, simply try to remember this:
My body is trying to tell me that it has what it takes.
I can trust myself to handle whatever life challenges come my way. I must remember that I don’t have to face this alone, and neither does anyone else. Let’s stop fighting our natural response to stress and be easy on ourselves.