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Stress and How I Dealt with It

By Fredrica Syren:

Lately, I’d found myself not sleeping very well and having lots of headaches. When I mentioned this to my doctor, he asked me if I’d been under lots of stress. I chuckled because, let’s face it, I have 3 children and a business; so, yes, I’m constantly under lots of stress. My doctor, who is also an Ayurvedic doctor, encouraged me to take a moment each day to be still and practice some breathing exercises. When I tried this, I realized just how stressed I really had been. I found my breathing shallow and my head spinning: indeed, I was under tremendous stress. The worst part is that I’ve been kind of causing lots of it myself.quote-dear-stress-frenchbydesign

During the past year, I have had many things happen to me — lots of fun times but also some less entertaining times. My father suddenly passed away a year ago and, as his only child, I had to deal with not only mourning but also the reality of paperwork, a funeral and family drama that comes with that and taking care of his business. Since then, my family has planned a move across the world (from Sweden to San Diego). With three kids, it was not easy to sell our apartment, arrange for our belongings to be shipped, enroll our kids in new schools, sign up for insurance, and then, well, actually move. So…. with all this, I started to really stress a lot … all day long. It surely does not help that I’m a perfectionist and Type A personality.

stressStress in general means that we feel overwhelmed with how much we have to deal with and the pressure to get things done. Some stress, I’m sure, can be good for you and get you going; but for the most part, stress can affect you both mentally and physically, and be bad for you. When we stress, many things happen to us: blood pressure rises, breathing speeds up, the digestive system slows down, the heart rate increases, we get tense, our immune system gets weaker, and sleep is not as solid. I noticed that I was not dealing with my stress very well and was becoming more irritable — not as nice to be around anymore.

When stress becomes too great, it’s time to pause and take care of yourself, which I know is a lot easier said than done. Most of us are not exactly sure how to do that. The first thing I did was look at what I was stressed about to see if any of them were things that I … (1) really should not stress over, (2) could say no to, and (3) could ask someone to help me with. Once I did that, I realized I was stressing about a few things, like an update to my website, that I really could put off for now. So, I asked my husband to help me out with things like preparing school lunches every night and watering the garden. Then, I also learned it was totally ok to say NO!

reduce-stress-quote-1-picture-quote-1-pngAnother thing I have done is to limit coffee and sugar when I feel stressed because it really does not help and actually can aggravate symptoms of stress. I focus on sleep and make a point of going to sleep earlier to ensure I get the most solid sleep. During the day, I try to go for a short walk because that is a great stress reliever. I also try to take time out to focus on my breathing, even if it’s only for 5 minutes.

Is all my stress gone? No, not all, but at least I now sleep better and feel a bit less overwhelmed. Best of all, I’m a much better mom.

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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