Moms of Tweens and Teens Share How They Cope with Stress
Raising tweens and teens can be stressful no matter what age or stage our kids are in. There are so many different challenges that come with these hard years of parenting and we are all just doing our best to manage everything. And although each of us has our own trials unique to each kid’s struggles and strengths, we can certainly agree that this season of motherhood brings out the very best and worst of us and our kids.
We do all we can to help them grow into responsible, healthy, and respectful adults, and this is an ongoing job that demands our emotional strength and physical endurance. We are constantly worrying about their well-being and safety every day as they go out into this scary and sometimes cruel world while they’re still trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in. Moms are often the ones who do it all. And on top of everything we do for our kids, many of us are dealing with additional life circumstances that consume our time and energy which is often distressing and exhausting for us too.
We are overworked, overburdened, overtired, and overwhelmed with it all.
So how do we manage all this stress?
Experts agree there are several effective ways to manage our stress that are beneficial, such as daily journaling, having a regular exercise routine, limiting our screen time, connecting with friends, and finding creative and enjoyable outlets outside of work and family. Focusing on our own physical and mental health by maintaining good nutrition and sleep habits, making time for much-needed relaxation, and seeking counseling for help and guidance can all prove to alleviate stress. No matter how busy and frazzled we might be, there are many good coping strategies we can use to maintain our health and well-being.
Oftentimes, we read long lists of all the “healthy and productive” ways to deal with our stress and wonder how on earth could we ever do all of that. Maybe some of us might think we are failing at taking care of ourselves while buried in the thick of everything going on in our lives and these ideas only add more pressure to our already exploding minds and weary bodies. I get it. I really do.
I just ate an entire bag of chips with cheese dip late last night while watching Old School with my 17-year-old son when I knew I should have gone straight to bed. I’m gulping down my third cup of coffee, with bags under my eyes and a bloated stomach, thinking about the exhaustive list of tips I read and how many I actually do or don’t do to manage my stress. Clearly, I’m not scoring too high right now, and yet, there are a few good things I try to do to settle myself down, quiet my mind, and restore my tired old body from time to time.
I go for long walks outside which is something I always love to do. I breathe in the fresh air and soak in the sunshine while I process and pray about everything. My body’s repetitive motion gradually loosens my constricted muscles as I feel the knotted ties that bind them start to fray. My weekly women’s fellowship group with my absolute favorite friends fills me with the fuel I need to stay positive and strong, especially when life is tossing me around. And to be honest, eating those chips and staying up late spending time with my son while watching some fun movie is my own form of self-care and I do that more often than I care to admit. The consequences aren’t fun, but it’s always worth the exhaustion and stomach ache I endure the next day.
Let’s be real: We ALL have our vices and even our victories in how we survive this really hard thing called life that seems to knock us off our feet and slam us to the ground and we often don’t see the unpredictable hits coming that can take us down. How we manage to brush off the dirt and stand up again to keep treading through the tumultuous terrain is a feat in itself. No one handles stress perfectly and pretty much all of us succumb to doing some unhealthy things and yet, here we are, pulling ourselves out of bed for another day of getting back at it so let’s celebrate THAT, shall we?
I asked some of my favorite mom friends to share how they handle all the stress in their lives because I think we can all learn from one another what works best for each one of us. There are so many unique and creative ways to release our pent-up emotions, relieve our tense muscles, and distract us from drowning in our spiraling thoughts. Some can be practical and some can be comical, some can be a bit irrational, but we are all desperate to do anything that can be freeing and inspiring, rejuvenating, and relaxing. ALL the different ways we manage our stress are important and useful whatever they are. Here are some great ideas to add to your de-stress list if you’re in need of more. Let’s embrace and enjoy all the hilarious and unusual things we do to help us get through the pressures we face every day.
“I watch True Crime Documentaries. They’re a great distraction to my own stressful life and really fascinating. My life always seems a lot better after watching them!”
“I rainbow organize things (think Home Edit). Closets. Bookshelves. Sock drawers. Shoes.”
“I will eat a jar of queso and not even care if I end up wearing some.”
“I create elaborate fairy gardens outside in my flower beds.”
“I dance naked in the bathroom to 2000’s throwback jams.”
“I tell my dogs long detailed stories- some made up and some real. They’re better listeners than some people I know.”
“I sit with my 22-year-old daughter and watch clips of South Park and laugh out LOUD.”
“I go see horror films on the weekends with my husband. He worries about my dark side, but I don’t care.”
“I sing from the top of my lungs while listening to my favorite songs in the car and I don’t care who pulls up next to me and thinks I’m crazy.”
“I stress clean my entire house top to bottom- literally every nook and cranny. And I must admit, I even clean my dog!”
“I stress bake and my family and friends reap the benefits.”
“I take power naps. Shutting down my mind and body restores me both physically and mentally.”
“I dive into some random organization project and lose myself in putting order into something when I feel like everything else in my life is chaotic and messy.”
“I listen to audiobooks on the way to work and back home and even while I’m doing housework and cooking. I love the distraction and desperately need it to ease my mind from constantly thinking about everything.”
“I eat a chocolate candy bar and drink a diet Coke and laugh with my coworkers while we share inappropriate jokes. Works every time.”