Stress Awareness Month with Happy Family Hub

Hi, I’m Emma. I am a thirty something first time mum living in Bracknell, Berkshire with my daughter and fiance. There’s nothing I like more than having a happy, healthy, family life and making the most out of it. I am a freelance Social Media Manager and blog at Happy Family Hub sharing our adventures as a family and also to talk with others as we navigate this crazy yet wonderful world of parenting. You can also find me over at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Do say hello – it makes me feel all warm and squishy inside!

1.) Do you suffer with stress frequently or occasionally?

Since becoming a parent and trying to juggle work and home life, I find I suffer from stress quite frequently. Sometimes if I’m particularly tired or unwell, I find it quite stressful dealing with an overly fussy or whinging toddler.

2.) What sort of things cause you stress?

I find that a build up of things can be quite an issue. Life as a working parent has proved trickier than I could ever imagine. I think the tiredness is definitely a key factor as tiredness can affect emotions and also clarity of thinking. Plus, you often don’t get as much downtime to unwind and de-stress as you used to. I also find it difficult remembering ‘all the things’ you have to pack in your bag when you’re a parent. There are so many things to remember now, it’s not just phone, money, keys nowadays – it’s several clothes changes, nappies, dummies, toys – and if you forget anything then it can be game over. No pressure then!

3.) Does anything in particular make stress worse for you?

I find that at work, part-timers are treated differently. I quite often hear ‘oh, Emma only works part-time’ like it is a negative thing, and also the pressure of getting things done in your 3 days at work can be quite stressful. I also find parenting through the night tricky at times, especially when feeling ill and all your body wants to do is rest (and not get up what feels like hundreds of times throughout the night!).

4.) Does stress have an impact on your physical health?

I believe it does. For the last couple of years, I seem to be more susceptible to every bug going, I think tiredness and stress have lowered my immunity to these things. Also, whatever I seem to catch I seem to catch it twice as bad as everyone else. It took me months to recover from Hand, Foot and Mouth disease!

5.) What do you do to alleviate stress?

Sometimes, I try to avoid the stress triggers. If I find my diary has filled up too much and I have over-committed myself, I cancel and rearrange appointments. That way, I feel like I’m not rushing about all over the place and also not tiring out the little one. I find blog writing quite cathartic too as I get to spill out lots that is in my head onto paper so it doesn’t keep flying around my head! Also, at night-time, I like to fall asleep listening to a meditation app which really helps me to switch off.

6.) Do you think more needs to be done to raise awareness of what causes stress and the impact it has on us and those around us? If yes, what would you do or like to see done?

Yes. I think that stress is ever more a common issue due to the increasing pressures against us, and instead of being viewed as a negative, necessary evil, we should do more to understand that it happens to all of us. Also, we need to all pro-actively take steps in which to manage our lives so as to alleviate stress.

7.) Do you have any tips for anyone dealing with stress?

If you’re stressed, don’t feel bad. It happens to us all. The most important thing to do is take a step back, clarify your thoughts and feelings (sometimes it’s good to write all your thoughts down) and think about how you best want to tackle any problems you may be facing. Take some time out for yourself and do something that helps you feel calm. Eating healthy foods, taking some exercise (this can even be something as simple as a walk around the park after tea!) and winding down (listening to music, taking a bath, having a cup of peppermint tea) can help you feel calmer. Know that life can be stressful and challenging, but it can also be fun and rewarding. Look for the sunshine after the rain!

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