Being a working mother involves juggling multiple full-time responsibilities. If you are, or have ever been, a working mom, you know how demanding it can be. You have to be fully present at your job, and your colleagues or supervisors might not understand how much stress you’re under. At the same time, you have so much to handle at home. No matter your family structure or the division of labor between you and your partner, you’re probably used to feeling like you never have time to catch your breath. Working moms dedicate practically every waking moment to taking care of others. You’re looking after your kids, handling your career responsibilities, tackling chores around the house, and keeping up with countless other tasks. You should feel proud of yourself for your strength and tenacity during this phase of your life, but it’s also important that you recognize the risk of burning yourself out. Even if you feel like you have everything under control, neglecting self-care can put an extreme amount of physical, mental, and emotional stress on you.
Stress management is a key skill for working moms. You deserve to feel happy and healthy, and implementing stress relief into your daily life will help you achieve peace despite the intensity around you.
Here Are Six Stress Management Strategies for Working Moms
1. Shrug off criticism.
Unfortunately, women are very likely to experience judgment from others, and there are many impossible double standards that working moms face. Some people criticize working moms for returning to their jobs instead of staying home, and others disparage stay-at-home mothers for giving up their careers. You might hear these insensitive comments from the people around you, and it might make you question whether you’ve made the right choices.
As much as you possibly can, though, you must ignore these remarks. Only you know what’s best for yourself and your family, and comparing yourself to others who have chosen a different path will be detrimental to your mental health. You probably have a close circle of loved ones whose opinions you value and whom you may turn to for support, but outside of this circle, criticisms don’t matter. Trying to please everyone around you, especially when they all have differing opinions, will only burn you out and make you unimaginably stressed.
2. Avoid comparisons.
Sometimes, criticism comes directly out of the mouths of the people around us. Other times, our critical inner voice is our biggest attacker, and this voice is fueled when we compare ourselves to others.
Comparison is the root of so much unhappiness and dissatisfaction for everyone, but it’s an especially common struggle for working moms. Many working moms prefer to showcase their wins and hide their losses, which can make you feel like you’re not keeping up. However, you’re not viewing an accurate and unbiased representation of their lives, so it’s not a fair comparison.
Social media has made this issue even worse. You probably don’t post pictures of your sleepless nights, children’s tantrums, work stress, or other struggles on Facebook or Instagram, and neither do other working moms. When you only see the best moments from working moms you follow on social media, it’s tempting to compare yourself. If you’ve found that social media has started to negatively affect your opinion of yourself or your life, it’s probably time to take a break. Distancing yourself from social media can be difficult, but it’s one of the best ways for working moms to find stress relief.
3. Focus on progress over perfection.
Trying to be the perfect mom, perfect employee, and perfect person will put an undue amount of stress on you. No matter how much you excel in every area of your life, aiming for perfection will leave you disappointed.
Instead, one of the best ways to improve your stress management skills is to prioritize progress over perfection. When you’re able to notice your progress and celebrate small wins, you’ll feel happier and calmer with life overall. You won’t be stressing over the little mistakes or obstacles that have gotten in the way of becoming perfect. You’ll have a much more realistic, balanced, and healthy outlook on your life and your family.
4. Ask for help.
Working moms often feel like they have to do everything themselves. If you prefer having total control over a situation, it can be difficult to ask for help. You might feel like you’re giving up or admitting that you can’t handle things on your own.
The truth is, though, that no one goes through life without ever asking for or accepting help. If your partner, best friend, or sibling asked you for support, you’d likely offer help without a second thought. You should extend that same compassion and empathy to yourself.
Maybe you need someone to watch the kids for an evening so you can catch up on sleep, or maybe you could use some help with household chores. Sometimes, allowing someone else to handle one small task can be the difference between feeling completely overwhelmed and feeling like you have everything under control. If you need immediate stress relief, don’t hesitate to reach out to your support network.
5. Find time to do something you gave up when you became a mom.
Working moms constantly make sacrifices for the sake of their family. You may have given up a beloved hobby because you don’t have the time anymore, or you might have to turn down invitations to go out with friends because you need to be at home with your children. It’s common for working moms to put everyone and everything else in their lives first.
Neglecting time for yourself can make you feel more anxious and overwhelmed, though, and it will only amplify your working mom stress. No matter how busy you are, you deserve to take some time to unwind, enjoy a hobby, or see your friends. Even spending just an hour doing something you love can help you feel relaxed and refreshed, so it’s an excellent tool for stress management.
6. Talk to a therapist.
In some situations, working moms can improve their stress management skills and find stress relief on their own. Other times, life can become so chaotic that it feels impossible to overcome the stress and anxiety without help. If your stress is starting to chip away at your physical or emotional health, therapy may be your best option for stress management.
Working moms often resist the idea of going to therapy because they don’t want to take time out of their day for themselves. However, counseling can be an incredibly valuable resource if you’re trying to manage all of life’s stressors on your own. By taking the time to work through your experiences and learn healthy coping skills in therapy, you better equip yourself to handle the challenges in your day-to-day life.
For many working moms, therapy is one of the only times of the week where you get to focus on yourself and yourself alone. Your therapist might encourage you to work through some of the negative emotions you might be feeling due to your stress, and you can learn healthy coping mechanisms and stress management strategies. Some of the skills you work on in therapy may help with short-term stress relief, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises. Others may involve gradual progress toward long-term goals that help you relate more positively to yourself and your surroundings.
The Beverly Hills Therapy Group offers therapy for moms who are experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, and many other concerns. To connect with a therapist to work on stress management or other mental health goals, please reach out to us today.