How do you deal with stress?

Anchel wants your tips on how you manage stress.

My two favourite stress relievers.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe it is already the end of November! I think I accidentally hit the fast-forward button on our life in September and the weeks have just flown by.

We have a lot of family birthdays and anniversaries in September and October, followed by many of the traditional Hindu festivals and holidays, and now we’re gearing up for Christmas (yes, we celebrate it all!). And, on top of all of this, we have a jam-packed schedule. But we’ve been managing using our “one-in, one-out” strategy. We’ve also been dealing with transitioning Syona to nursery school (there are still lots of tears but we are persevering), loads of paperwork and sourcing various equipment for Syona.

Up until now I thought my stress was under control — or as under control as any mom of a special needs toddler who is still not sleeping through the night. But I had a big wakeup call last week.

I’ve been meaning to go to my doctor for a few months now just to make sure the fatigue that I’m feeling is just a result of being a mom (I mentioned my never-really-slept-through-the-night toddler right?), but I’ve also been struggling to lose my baby weight. Over the past couple of months I’ve committed to getting in shape and have gotten my eating habits under control. While I’m more toned and fitting into clothes I wasn’t a month ago, that stubborn belly fat has barely budged. My doctor (who is so wonderful, smart, patient and truly lovely) explained that the fatigue and lack of weight loss is likely because of the higher-than-usual cortisol levels due to increased stress in my life. I wasn’t completely surprised. Like many of you, I’ve read the studies about how moms of adolescents and adults with autism have similar stress levels as combat soldiers. I would imagine that it is the same case for moms of children with special needs in general.

There are lots of things I do in my life to manage stress. Here’s a brief list:

  • Exercise.
  • Eating healthy (whole grains, fruit and veggies, lean proteins, lots of water and yes, the occasional treat).
  • Talking with Dilip or another family member or friend when I am feeling stressed out.
  • Playing with Syona. Just spending some time rolling around on the ground, smiling, laughing and cuddling are huge stress-relievers.

Here’s what I need to work on:

  • Building meditation and deep breathing exercises into my day.
  • Yoga — I love it and need to get back into it!
  • Better sleeping habits. (Since Syona doesn’t sleep through the night I need to get better at going to bed earlier.)

I’m also planning to visit a naturopath to see if there is anything else that they can suggest to me so I can try to better manage my stress. (I promise I’ll report back)!

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one feeling stress and I want your help!

Are you feeling stressed? What are your stress-fighting tips?

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