Beth is a 30-something married stay at home parent, based in Shropshire, near the Midlands in England. She lives with her husband, nine year old son Charlie (born December 2008) and four year old identical twin daughters Poppy and Phoebe (born June 2013).
Do you suﬀer with stress frequently or occasionally?
I think it’s a mixture of both, primarily dependent on what is going on in my life. I work from home and all my children are now in school so I have lots of free time to myself, whereas when my twin girls were at home I felt a lot more stress purely due to lack of freedom.
What sort of things cause you stress?
My husband works away during the week so I often feel stressed with the pressures of solo parenting; whether it be getting them up, dressed and on item for school, to silly things like cooking or remembering PE kits. It can be hard not having another adult to help out or talk to during the day and Friday can often seem a long way away when he’s not here.
Does anything in particular make stress worse for you?
I definitely find my diet has a ridiculously high effect on my stress levels, along with the state of the house. I find when I am eating well and sticking to my Slimming World diet, I can handle day to day much better than when I am making bad food choices. When the house is in complete disarray this also makes me feel really stressed out and I am more naggy than usual. It’s a viscous cycle as you just get more and more bogged down by feeling crap whilst being surrounded by crap.
Does stress have an impact on your physical health?
I have always suffered with acne, but stress definitely shows on my face and I have outbreaks of spots when I am feeling run down and stressed out. I also am incredibly irritable and tend to just want to sleep and take naps.
What do you do to alleviate stress?
The gym is a great way for me to try to relieve stress, purely because I know I will feel better after going for an hour. I don’t particularly enjoy exercising yet I know that it will help turn around a bad day – but this is only possible when the kids are at school.
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?
When I was in full time employment, no one really took stress seriously and it came with the job. I definitely think there is a need for a more flexible approach to working in general as having children and working causes due amounts of stress, which could be avoided purely by more flexibility.
Do you have any tips for anyone dealing with stress?
Find time for you. It’s often easier said than done, especially when you have children but sometimes something as simple as a hot bath on your own, or a walk in the fresh air can clear your head. I used to feel guilty about being away from the kids but now I know it is essential for my mental health to be just me.
If you want to see more about stress awareness then please search ‘stress awareness’ to read all the posts throughout April.