A few years ago I was dealing with debilitating single mom stress, well just plain stress, to the point that I started having hot flash and night sweats on an hourly basis. It was really bad! I couldn’t think straight because my mind was foggy. I was dealing with depression, doing the model mommy thing, and working through dissolving a toxic relationship. This went on for a year or so when I finally decided to get help. I went to the doctor and they put me on anti-depressants and start me on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) because I was entering menopause. I was only 32 years old! Ugh!
I did the anti-depressants for a couple of months and I refused to go on HRT. The meds I was taking was making me feel like my head was detached from my body. I really couldn’t function and I was afraid I was not going to be alert enough to take care of my kids. I was also scared to drive even though I hadn’t taken medicine for a couple of days. The affects of the medicine was still in my system making me feel drowsy and crazy in my head. I had to do something so I researched a few natural therapies I could use to deal with the stress.
I found out about lavender, meditation, EFT, and Valerian root. I used a combination of these things to finally get stress relief.
I use Valerian Root first. I heard about it when I was younger so I knew it had a calming affect. I could take it everyday without it making me drowsy and disconnected. It was not addictive so I started taking it daily. I felt better within a week. I slept better at night and didn’t feel jittery or nervous.
The next thing I tried was EFT or emotional freedom technique. I was researching ways to deal with the emotional issues I was having and came across this new method of treating them. I learned how to do the technique and got some results. It wasn’t until years later that I really started using it and got unbelievable results. I’ll have to do a different post on just this method alone.
Stress Relief Tip #3
Finally, I started using lavender. I bought sachets to put under my pillow at night and found spray products that had the fragrance in it. I really like it because of the smell and the calming affects. Recently I bought a product off Amazon called Tranquility by Phytopia. It’s a massage oil that has a very nice lavender fragrance. It’s strong but not overwhelming so I can use it at night, which is how they recommend you use it. I slept for eight hours and felt great the next morning.
I don’t know what kind of stress you are dealing with personally. If it’s anything like mine was I recommend that you run to the health food store or Amazon (free 2-day shipping is awesome) and pick up the items I used. You can go to the EFT website and read more about it or search for it on YouTube.
Being on anti-depressants wasn’t the answer for me. I could not function and I did not know what kind of damage it was doing to my body. I just didn’t want to risk addiction. Dealing with the issues was the best thing for me because I wanted to be completely healed from the stress, depression, anxiety, and other emotional issues.
Watch the video, 3 Quick Single Mom Stress Relief Tips, if you don’t want to read it
Get Help and Get Healthy!
If you are dealing with dark thoughts, feel like you can’t get yourself together, or want to harm yourself (or your kids) please get help. Do not suffer alone!
A girl in her midtwenties who wore a peasant shirt arrived for a simple checkup of her sprained right wrist. She’d been
wearing a brace and managing within her work restrictions. Blonde-haired and doe-eyed, she appeared reserved but polite. I proceeded to examine the wrist and check the fit of the brace. I also offered her a different medication and asked about physical therapy.
We then chitchatted a bit, during which she told me she was working an assembly line job and raising her sons, but she’d just graduated from acting school and was very excited to audition the next day for a commercial in Cincinnati. She thought it was important to show her sons the importance of following a dream by following her own. She said she’d always wanted to portray characters that brought out emotions in those watching. I commended her for this and wished her the best for the audition.
I encouraged her to show the joy in what she was doing, even if it was an awkward tryout, as though the time on stage would truly be what she’d be doing for a living; projecting her comfort would allow the producers to feel more relaxed and happy to hire her for the part. I asked her if there was anything else about her health that we should talk about, and she stated she’d had migraines since childhood.
I felt a sense of properness while in the room with her; a sense of calmness that was more like forced tranquility than genuine peace. So, I brought to her attention that allowing her true feelings to come out, such as anger, would not only help with her migraines but also with her performance on stage. I felt that somewhere during this young adult’s upbringing, she’d learned to turn off any anger, having judged and condemned it as improper.
“As a matter of fact,” I told her, “anger can be very helpful.”
I recommended that she join a self-defense class where she could strike out, kick, and punch, and with each one of these offensive moves, assign with it something that happened to her that caused her to feel angry. She was to channel that feeling and event into every strike.
I told her that if she did that, she would not only help her migraines but also be able to channel that emotion in the human characters she played. I explained that the suppression of this emotion doesn’t get rid of it but instead just chains it up for a while and builds inner pressure that can result in all sorts of destructive influence on the body. Emotions are vibrations, and the body, under poor vibrations, can develop disease and be unwell, exhibiting symptoms such as migraines, ulcers, and stomach issues.
She nodded in agreement and said that in her final exam at acting school, she’d had to deliver part of a monologue of a very angry woman, standing alone on stage. She said she had done very poorly because she hadn’t been able to get in touch with the anger. I’d told her that it made a lot of sense because she’d never given herself permission to access it. While she worked through this, I recommended that she try butterbur, an herb showing promise in treating migraines, embraced by large neurology clinics for its effectiveness and low side effect profile.
I then asked if I could say a prayer with her for her audition and new dream career. She agreed, and I held in my mind the portrait of her as an actress who was so in touch with each of her emotions that she could portray any character, and the genuineness of this would be felt by all the audience members, who would be in turn inspired to find the genuine nature in their own lives. I saw this so clearly for her and asked that she be guided to this, as she felt comfortable in allowing it to happen. She’d been an inspiration, and I was blessed with a new realization about prayer from our visit.
In having prayed and seen the young actress so sharply in my mind’s eye doing and loving what she wanted so much to do, I felt what true prayer is. True prayer is holding a deeply felt, detailed image of someone’s best self, when he or she isn’t yet able to do so. I was reminded of Jesus among the sick. He saw his fellow beings in their full state of radiant health, walking with their beds instead of focusing on their lameness and skin lesions. He held so strongly the vibration of their well-being that they all let go of their own beliefs of sickness in his presence. We can all do this for each other by focusing on each other’s best selves and holding that in our hearts as our image of them.
About the author
Dr. Amy E. Coleman is the CEO and founder of Wellsmart, a company that cultivates technologies and healthcare strategies that strengthen the patient/doctor relationship. She served as a United States Air Force flight surgeon, and was appointed the youngest and first female Commander of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Clinic. There, she helped guide global medical missions and build creative clinic systems, including those employing complementary care methods still employed today throughout the Air Force.
…or a better title could be, “How to Guarantee Child Support by Insuring Your Ex”.
The other day in a conversation with a friend we talked about the wisdom of taking out a life insurance policy out on our exes. As morbid as it sounds it made sense, especially if said ex is regularly engaged in high risk activities. Jail. Drugs. Military. Race Car Driving… you get the picture.
If he dies then you are left with no child support or any other financial support that’s needed through the rest of your child’s life. A million dollar policy would take care of (more…)
Now that he is 13 years old and a few inches taller than me he thinks he’s grown and tells me so, quite often, while comparing our heights. I firmly let him know being grown is not about how tall you are but how mature you are. He just shrugs and walks away.
But back to why he is driving me to the brink. I am about to air some of his dirty laundry for the sake of illustrating an important parenting point so don’t judge me (or him).
When His Mess Disrupts My Peace There is H*ll to Pay
My creative son the Roman soldier. Everything made from cardboard and scrap fabric. Gotta love ’em!
Like mother like son. (This is when he was shorter than me…about a year ago)
My son is organizationally challenged but very creative. He gets it honestly from me but his mess is on a whole other level. I mean clothes everywhere and no matter how much I threaten to throw them all away, he is content with his mess.
I’m not one of those mothers who picks up behind him or nags him to clean everyday. My minimum request is to pick up your stuff and make sure there are no offensive odors coming from the room. Being driven to the brink is when his mess spills over into other parts of the house.
“Pizza under my sofa?”
Laying Down the Law Like Only a Ninja Momma Can
His sister ratted him out and I latched on the back of his arm (you know that really tender spot back there) like Cujo. Okay not that badly but I wanted to. I pinched and held on for a good minute while driving my point home about not leaving food under my furniture.
He took it like a little man and refused to cry or let a tear fall but his eyes got pretty round and he understood my point. I asked him what he has to say about it. “I’m sorry” was his response and “I won’t do it again” was his reply when I asked, “what else”.
The Prayer that Would Save Him From Ruin
He is just too cute! I prayed I wouldn’t spoil him for the second woman in his life.
Who could resist the face of this little prince?
My kid was born handsome and I knew if I didn’t put myself in check I would ruin him for the world and any woman he ended up with. So I said a prayer for self-control so I wouldn’t be blinded by his cuteness and spoil him rotten. It’s worked so far but I still have to remain focused on the goal.
I am raising a man, a world citizen who will l eventually leave my home and become a member of society. He can’t make it if I let stuff like pizza under the sofa slide by without consequences.
Lecturing Teaching Personal Responsibility
Later I lectured him on the importance of being responsible and taking initiative. Keeping his room clean and learning are his only real jobs, while going out and working to provide a roof over his head and food to eat is my job.
He then mumbled something (because he dare not say it out loud) about learning being too hard. *Sigh* Big mistake to say that buddy!
Enlightening the Young Grasshopper About Learning
“Learning is too hard?”
Well you know I went into another 10 minute diatribe about learning. I explained that learning is something he is constantly doing. When he watches movies and tv shows (with the subtitles on) on Netflix and Amazon Prime he is learning.
When he plays video games he is learning. When he talks to people like grandpa and his aunt he is learning.
When he goes on YouTube and learns how to make a sheath for his new sword out of duck tape he is learning.
“So learning is easy and I don’t ever want to hear you say it’s hard again.”
“Do you understand?”
“You no longer have an excuse for not learning because it’s easy.”
Cracking the Whip and Doing Chores Builds Lifelong Character
After my lecture, er…teaching moment, I gave him cleaning instructions and left him to it.
Was he angry? Yes.
Did I care? Nope.
Because his temporary anger is less important than the long term lessons he will learn and that will equip him for the future.
I’m not his friend but his parent and life coach. Like a dojo master of life I must be tough when I need to be and kind/compassionate when the situation calls for it.
I’ve think I’ve learned to find a balance with both my kids. They each require different coaching styles from me. Where one can handle being fussed at the other dissolves into tears. One is stubborn and tough while the other is more pliable. Knowing their personalities is important in this process. Building character is the goal regardless of their personality because it is what matters at the end of the day.
How do you deal with your son (or daughter) when he/she threatens to drive you to the brink?
One of the best things you can do as a solo mom is get out and have fun. I don’t mean the clubbing, get down and dirty drunk, kind of fun but clean fun that energizes you. There is a big difference.
I had that kind of fun this weekend at a Masquerade Ball sponsored by my church’s social committee. It was not the standard stale and boring banquet you see in typical churches. Nope it was a party with a band, costumes, and lots of dancing!
My life is blessed because it is filled with supportive people from my church as well as family. I can be me and feel 100% accepted. Isn’t that what we all want deep down?
If you can find a place or group of people like that then you have an awesome head start. It kills the isolation that is very present in the single mom life. It also puts a dent in your depression.
I used to think I couldn’t go to parties if I didn’t have a date so I wouldn’t go. Not any more. I go because I want the fellowship and fun. So far I’ve had no regrets, plus I get to meet and dance with all the single guys there.
Here are a few pictures from the event. While you are looking through them why not find a party or other social event to attend. You really need it.
Stress, you can’t avoid it but you can outsmart it!
Each April, in light of Stress Awareness month, experts on the topic, offer information intended to make us smarter and better armed against stress. Some of today’s leading authorities on stress believe this modern-day pandemic has become so pervasive that we’ve simply adapted to this unhealthy condition.
Stress ages us, it creates mental and emotional overload, creativity, clarity and decision making abilities decline, it causes aches and pains, adds fat to our belly area, fragments our thinking and can make us exceptionally irritable and unpleasant to be around. In fact, stress has been found to be the number one proxy-killer disease and the American Medical Association notes it as the basic cause of more than 60% of all human illness.
Harvard-trained integrative physician and New York Times bestselling author of The Hormone Cure: Reclaim Balance, Sleep, Sex Drive, and Vitality with The Gottfried Protocol, Dr. Sara Gottfried, explains, “Chronic stress burns through your happy brain chemicals such as serotonin, the neurotransmitter that supports your mood, sleep, and appetite. In other words, if you don’t manage stress – it manages you by causing or worsening 95% of disease and robbing you of sleep, good humor, and a thin waist.”
Helping to educate more people about the seriousness of stress, HeartMath, widely recognized for its science-based stress solutions, created this infographic showing how stress affects the body and offering five uncommonly known facts about stress. This is an excellent picture of how stress affects us – whether we know it or not.
So what can you do to reduce stress or even outsmart it? Try one of following suggestions or better yet try them all. Either way you’ll be lessening your own stress and taking steps towards a healthier, happier life.
1. Pets are a great way to manage stress. Animals help by allowing us to focus on the positive things in our lives. Playing with pets and just having them in the house can reduce fears and anxieties in most situations. Moreover, the simple act of touching or petting an animal can actually change the way you respond to a stressful situation. It’s important to note that this may not be a solution for everyone – as pets do come with additional work and responsibility. For most people, the benefits can outweigh the drawbacks.
2. Adjust your eating habits. Long-term stress can increase your appetite and cause you to binge on unhealthy foods. This kind of emotional eating is often the body’s way of coping with the stressors. Mother Nature makes excellent stress fighters. Foods naturally rich in vitamins and minerals can help fight increased levels of cortisol – a stress hormone. Next time you get the urge to binge on greasy fast food or ice cream, try a handful of vitamin C-packed berries instead.
3. Train and guide yourself to better manage stress. For those that are serious about reducing stress, there are high-tech tools to help. For example, the Inner Balance trainer provides a highly specialized 3-step technique, and real-time feedback helps you synchronize your breath and heart rhythms as you retrain your mind body response to stress. This techno stress reducer has become widely popular with healthcare professionals that want an effective solution they can suggest to patients. “If a patient rolls her eyes at my prescription of yoga or mindfulness, I whip this out. This isn’t some crazy Berkeley woo-woo idea— major healthcare organizations use it. Using this technology I am less likely to fight with my husband or scream at my children. I still have the same stressors but I can meet them differently with this training,” said Dr. Gottfried.
4. Be social. While there are times it feels like relationships with friends and family may be the cause of stress, a strong supportive network of family and friends can also significantly reduce stress and act as buffer. Enjoying the company of others can relieve feelings of tension and improve overall psychological well-being. Being with others that we care for and love can increase our positive emotional experiences. Some positive emotions have been shown to increase DHEA, known as the anti-aging hormone, and trigger oxytocin, known as the love hormone. These good-for-you hormones can help combat stress and may even boost the immune system.
This April, take advantage of the added information available throughout Stress Awareness Month. Adding even one of these new ideas into your daily life may help in creating the healthier, less stressful lifestyle you deserve!
HeartMath (www.heartmath.com) was founded by Doc Childre and is a cutting-edge performance company providing a range of unique services, products and technologies to improve health and well being, while dramatically reducing stress. HeartMath clinical studies have demonstrated the critical link between emotions, heart function and cognitive performance. HeartMath studies have been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals such as American Journal of Cardiology, Stress Medicine, Preventive Cardiology and Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Its stress reducing solutions are used in leading healthcare organizations, VA hospitals and clinics, as well as by more than 15,000 health professionals and dozens of school systems throughout the US.