The seven biggest mistakes stressed women make


Do you often feel short of time, energy and good humour? If stress is taking over your life, maybe you’re making one of these seven mistakes.

Coach and mum Suparna Dhar has seen many mums struggling with stress – and over the years she’s noticed many women making the same seven common mistakes. To help you avoid them she shares them with us now, plus tips on dealing with them!

The seven biggest mistakes stressed women make

Stress in it’s simplest form can be defined as immense pressure or tension and we can feel it physically, emotionally or mentally. We can find ourselves losing our temper for no real reason, having a headache and waking up with a feeling of dread.

It’s not uncommon for mums to find themselves feeling symptoms like this, especially if we’re juggling work or a business, our home, childcare and a social life. To help you find a better way to cope, here are the seven biggest mistakes I’ve seen mums make, and some ideas on what to do instead.

1) You spend energy on the wrong things

When you feel stressed you may feel overwhelmed and quite often you can’t decide what to do first in logical way – instead you flounder around doing things that perhaps aren’t helpful or going to get you any further forward.

So the first thing you need to do is focus on your intention, and work out what is it you need to do and why. Ask yourself what has to happen by the end of today, and what the consequences are if it doesn’t.

Don’t make this a to-do list but really think about big wins, what do you need to do in your business that will bring you more customers or clients.

In your personal life pay attention to your emotions and negative feelings of guilt, and write some action points to help alleviate these feelings and spend no more than five minutes writing this list.

2) You think you haven’t got time to explain

If you constantly find yourself with a super long list, source some help. This can range from a cleaner, flexible childcare to working with a virtual assistant who you can outsource work to you that you personally don’t have to do yourself.

Initially all these things take time, however in the long run this is key to you managing your stress as it will free up your time and energy. Of course there are many situations in life where support doesn’t need to be paid for, but you simply need to make people around you aware that you need help as no one is a mind reader!

3) You hope things will get better on their own

Albert Einstein wisely said ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. So don’t just hope that something will get better; if you find certain times of the day in your personal life, or situations in your business, stressful – for example, face-to-face meetings – ask yourself what you can do differently.

Take some time out and reflect on what actions have have taken in the past, and what actions you could take in the future that would make you feel more comfortable and relaxed. Ask other friends, mums and business women how they deal with similar situations – sometimes just knowing you are not the only one who finds a situation stressful can be really comforting and powerful.

4) You ignore physical symptoms

Headaches, backache, overeating, not eating, disturbed sleep, feeling run down and feeling anxious are some of the most common signs of stress. If you are constantly ignoring the signs your body is giving you your stress is only going to get worse and more serious.

To start taking positive action now. Take regular breaks from your business, and carry a water bottle with you and healthy snacks.

In your personal life make time to re-energise yourself by going for a walk, having a bath or eating something nutritious. (If you need more help with your physical symptoms of stress, read this advice from a GP.)

5) You rely on quick fixes like caffeine and sugar

If you are constantly feeling exhausted, nervous and relying on quick fixes such as caffeine, sugar, smoking and alcohol, be mindful that none of these are going to help you in the long run.

Instead, try and take a step back and look at the bigger picture. What needs to change? Do your expectations of yourself need to be tweaked? Do your business goals need to be reviewed? Or is there a habit that isn’t serving you well?

Look at your mindset – your thoughts belong to you and you alone. In most situations presented to you in life you have a choice as to how you want to react. When life gets too much you need to focus on choice, do one thing at a time and prioritise.

6) You think you don’t have time for a break

Believe it or not, when you feel you don’t have time for a break is exactly when you need one!

Do you ever find yourself finishing work and then rushing to do to the school run, and wondering by 7 pm why you feel totally zapped? If you are working from home, work in cycles of 45 minutes and then take a 10 minute break or book yourself in for an exercise class mid-day.

If you are with clients, build in a break and make a point of sitting down and eating a healthy lunch. Taking time out from work for you is essential in giving you the mental and physical energy to carry on. (You can read more tips on making time for yourself here.)

7) You don’t make time to eat properly

When you are stressed your body need nutritious food instead of fat/sugar/salt high processed food that we so easily turn to.

So take time out and eat high protein food which will fill you up for longer such as chicken, fish, beans and lentils. Also drink lots of water and eat fruit which will give you a sugar boost in a natural form. (You can learn how to eat your way to better productivity here.)

Find the tools to maintain a healthy balance

Stress in itself isn’t a bad thing – its a part of all our lives. But if you manage it properly and avoid these seven mistakes, it doesn’t have to take over your life. And instead of feeling as if you’re barely coping, you can enjoy a healthy, balanced and rewarding life.

Suparna Dhar is ‘The Freedom Coach’. She supports support stressed-out mums who have been through domestic abuse and helps them find the confidence to create happy, healthy and fun families. You can find out more on her website.

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