Working at home and being a WAHM can be stressful at times. It seems there is never enough time, children cry for our attention, husbands and family members place demands on us, and even full or part-time jobs play a role in adding to our stress. That’s why it’s important to find ways to alleviate and eliminate some of the stress in our lives to make our time working at home all day long more enjoyable and less of a burden.
1. Identify what causes you stress. In order to relieve the stress in our lives, we have to know what’s causing stress. Do you feel time-pressure to meet a deadline? Feel that you have too many obligations? Never find time for yourself? Have a difficult client you dread facing each day? Learn to recognize what it is that’s causing you to feel stressed so you can make lifestyle and attitude changes to reduce or rid your life of that stressor.
2. Now that you know what makes you feel stressed, you can begin to eliminate that stress from your life, or at least reduce its effects on your well-being.
For instance, if you find yourself continually stressed because you’re having trouble meeting deadlines, try getting up an hour earlier or working while the kids nap. Reduce the amount of time you spend watching TV, or cut back on other obligations to find more time to do what you need to.
If you realize having too many obligations is causing you to feel stressed, learn to say no–even to good causes! Begin to remove activities and obligations from your schedule until you no longer feel pressured by all you have to do. This applies to your children’s schedules and your workload as well. You’re not a bad mom just because you say no sometimes, and if you’re so busy you have to turn down work–or pass it on to a colleague–it will actually make you more desirable to your clients because they’ll see how much others value your services.
If it feels like you never have time just for you, then make time. Set aside 30 minutes a day, or an hour a week and do only what you want to do. Go for a quiet walk. Read a book. Sit in your bedroom and stare at the wall. Do what brings you pleasure. As WAHMs, in particular, refreshing ourselves has to be a priority. If we’re not our best, we certainly can’t accomplish all we need–or want–to do effectively.
If you have a difficult client who is causing you stress and whom you dread facing, stop working for him. Tell him politely that you’re no longer available and if you feel you can, help him find someone else to do his work. One of the advantages to being a WAHM and owning your own business is the ability to choose who you work with. If someone is making your work life miserable, find another client to replace them and eliminate that stress from your life.
Whatever your personal stress triggers are, search for ways to deal with each specific issue so you can reduce or eliminate the stress each one causes.
3. Make sure you get enough sleep. If you find yourself tense and anxious during the day, take a close look at how much sleep you’re getting each night. A good night’s rest rejuvenates us and gives us strength to face the day. If we don’t take time for that renewal, our whole attitude suffers. If you suffer from insomnia or find you are repeatedly waking in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, it may be time to talk to your doctor to see what could be done to help. But drinking a cup of herbal tea before bed, reading for a few minutes before you go to sleep or other methods of relaxation may help. Give them a try to ensure you sleep as you should.
4. Exercise, eat right and take good care of your health. When our body is in good shape and we feel good physically, we always have more energy to cope with life’s trials. When we slack off on caring for our health, it begins to show almost immediately in how well–or not!–we handle stress and anxiety.
Schedule a workout at least three times a week, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, reduce your sugar and fat intake, and if needed, take a multivitamin every day. Caring for your body will help keep your mind in shape as well.
5. Smile and laugh more. Developing a light-hearted attitude and one that helps you laugh at yourself and situations you face will go a long way in reducing the stress you feel when facing trials and struggles. You’ve heard people say, “It’s either laugh or cry.” Often that’s true. And laughing is a lot more fun, especially when we make it a habit we live by!
6. Cry if it will help. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to cry when you need to. We all want to be strong and “put on a happy face.” But sometimes we just need to admit that we’re hurting or feeling overwhelmed, and shed a few tears. Crying can have a cleansing affect on our system and our psyche, and there is nothing wrong with crying once in awhile. If you find yourself crying too often, however, you might want to talk to your doctor about clinical depression. But occasional crying is as good for the soul as laughter.
7. Find outside interests. Take up a hobby. Learn a new craft. Join a local women’s club. Take music lessons. Whatever it is, do something new and something you enjoy. Getting your mind off your problems, even for an hour or two, can work wonders in strengthening your ability to deal with those problems when you get home.
8. Get organized. If your home or office is in chaos, it can add untold amounts of stress to your day. Clutter is stressful! If you’re not sure about the truth in this statement, walk into a room that is neatly arranged and where everything is in place. Then walk into a room that is cluttered with things strewn all over the floor, clothes everywhere, nothing put away. How did you feel when you entered each room? More often than not, we feel more stressful when surrounded by clutter. Take the time to organize your home, office and life, and your stress level will decrease automatically.
9. Take a long, hot bath. Whether you add the Calgon® or not, a bath will relax you and help to renew your mind. Just getting away from everyone and everything for a few minutes works wonders and there’s nothing like a nice soak behind a locked bathroom door to help you do that.
10. Learn to let go. While this is certainly easier said than done, sometimes we just have to let go of things that cause us stress. Remember the Serenity Prayer?
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Learning to live by this bit of wisdom will take you far in your struggle to reduce the amount of stress you face each day.
Being a part-time or full-time WAHM can add more stressors to our lives because we are adding another layer of responsibility and activity through our daily work load and business-building strategies. But there are ways to recognize and lessen that stress. When we do that, we remember just how much the WAHM lifestyle fulfills our dreams and just how fortunate we are to have found it.