Lately I’ve felt as though my stress level is through the roof. There are a dozen or more things that could be at the root of this near-constant agitation: Coraline awakens several times a night and so I hardly sleep; our wonderful babysitter went back to college, the same week I started a new job, and I can’t seem to find a new one anywhere; along with all the usual suspects: money, Coraline’s fragile temper, deadlines, and family matters. In an October 2011 Motherlode post, Paul Kershaw, a Canadian academic and author of a set of radical policy recommendations called the New Deal for Families, is quoted as saying:
“The generation raising young kids today is squeezed for time at home, squeezed for income because of the high cost of housing and squeezed for services like child care that would help them balance earning a living with raising a family.” For this reason he’s coined the term “Generation Squeezed,” which pretty much sums it up if you ask me.
But this is not news to anyone with little kids at home, and so to wax poetic about the problem does very little for any of us. What I’m interested in is how to deal (I don’t know, for the record). There’s the Band-Aid-type fixes, and then there are the root solutions; but barring a sudden financial windfall, eternal world peace, and a prefrontal cortex that is developed and highly functioning right out the womb, there will be stress associated with parenting. So many of my mom-friends swear by a combination of anti-anxiety medication, copious amounts of wine, and what I’ll call mothering round tables, which is really just partaking of the aforementioned vices in the company of other stressed out women where you can vent, commiserate, and frequently find humor in even the most frustrating of everyday catastrophes.
Seeing as how I’m a naturally minded mama, I love a good natural remedy. And there are several in the stress relief department:
This popular Bach flower essence is literally a chill pill in a bottle. A few drops under the tongue offers near immediate relief from stress and anxiety. It also comes in pastille and chewing gum form, and a diluted formula for children.
Another popular homeopathic remedy, this one is really marketed as a sleep aid, but can be taken in smaller doses for anxiety without any of the negative side effects of prescription stuff. Also available for children.
Young Living “Peace & Calming” Essential Oil
This special blend of oils like orange and ylang ylang is magically soothing and smells amazing. Can be applied to the skin or diffused in your home.
It’s worth noting that the above would all fall in the Band-Aid fix department. Certain lifestyle changes — regular exercise, limiting caffeine intake, daily meditation — can help reduce stress more systemically. It also can be worthwhile to visit a homeopath, naturopath, or holistic chiropractor who can check you for adrenal fatigue (your adrenal glands produce stress hormones like cortisol), which can be at the root of near constant stress and exhaustion.