Many moms of preschool/elementary school-aged children are overworked, over-scheduled, have over-scheduled kids and continuously feel they are not doing enough. Their levels of stress are over-the-top based, in part, on their unattainable high expectations of themselves.
When they’re not worrying about the health and well-being of their kids, moms are critically evaluating their parenting skills. For some moms taking anti-anxiety medication or drinking alcohol has become a way of life. Many moms have said that this has helped them cope better and be better moms.
Chardonnay play dates, mothering with a buzz, prescription or recreational drug use, and food binges point to self-medication as the anti-stress lubricant for today’s moms. This comes at a time when here have been increased reports of depression in women, and new parents are reporting symptoms of anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder.
The “wine makes us better moms” culture has roots in the fact that women are hard-wired to crave close friendships. Taking care of young children can be tough and isolating. We long for the community of friends that can reduce stress and facilitate connection. Sharing a bottle of wine may produces feelings of warmth and relaxation, but for many moms self-medication may get out of control. Danger can exist especially if driving and transporting children are included.
Self-care beats self-medication. Here proven stress-busters to help moms reduce stress and offer a healthier form of self-medication:
Nothing beats a healthful diet, sufficient sleep (although that may be a tough aspiration with small children), and exercise. Take a walk–it can do wonders for your level of stress.
Pencil in some “white space” to enable finding even a few minutes in the day for reflection, deep breathing, journaling or just time to “be.”
Cultivate a passion or a hobby
Having some interest or passion outside your family is a great way to alleviate stress in your life and also a way of enriching your experiences. It doesn’t matter whether your interests are botany, birds, yoga, tap dancing or pastels.
Keep reading and listening to music
Learn a few self-relaxation exercises:
Teaching yourself some deep breathing and relaxation exercises can be extremely effective in handling depression, anxiety, and stress-related disorders.
If you think self-medication is becoming a problem, consider talking over your stress with a psychologist who may be able to help you resolve issues that may be at the bottom of your anxieties, and teach you some useful tools to better cope.