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Moms, Are You Trying To Do It All?

Wake up early. Get the kids ready for school. Go to work. Take the kids to soccer practice. Fix dinner. Referee sibling fights. Read The Cat in the Hat – twice. Do you feel as if you need endless energy just to get through one day?

It's important to try to balance your needs and the demands of your life. Otherwise, the pressure of day-to-day life can add up. And, ongoing stress can take a toll. It may weaken your immune system, making you more likely to get colds and other infections. It can also make you irritable, causing you to snap at your loved ones or co-workers. In short, unchecked stress can keep you from being your best. To take some of the pressure off:

  • Remember that no one can do it all. Try not to feel as if you need to be perfect or keep the ideal home. It's not possible – even if you didn't have to work or if you had a nanny like Mary Poppins. Remember, it's OK if the laundry piles up a bit or if you serve take-out for dinner once in a while.
  • Make the most of your resources. Are you tapping into all the help available to you? Is there something your partner could take off your plate? Try to find a balance so that one of you isn't doing more of the work.
  • Enlist your children to do their fair share of age-appropriate chores.Even young children can pitch in. Let them help set the table, for example. Or, look to other moms in your neighborhood. Would they be willing to do a childcare swap?
  • Finding help may take some time – and some creativity. You may need to look to more than one resource to get the support you need.
  • Discover the power of "No." Don't take on more tasks than you can comfortably manage. Has a friend asked you to help out at a fundraiser? Ask yourself if you have the time to do it and at what expense. Don't be afraid to set limits or say you can't do it this time. It's a sanity-saver to turn down requests when you're overbooked.
  • Add yourself to your to-do list. It's normal to want to put your family's needs first. But, don't neglect your own. Set aside at least 15 minutes every day to do something for yourself. Even a little time unwinding with a favorite magazine can refresh you a bit. Treat this like an order from your doctor.
  • Do a stress check. Learn what your stress symptoms are. For some, headaches and tense muscles may be signs that stress levels are too high. Take a few deep breaths or listen to soothing music. You might even call a friend. A good listener can be calming.
  • Seek professional help, if needed. Sometimes, stress can get out of control. You may feel as if it's too much to handle on your own. A few sessions with a behavioral-health professional may help you learn stress-reduction techniques and coping skills. Remember, seeking support is a sign of strength – not weakness.

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