This week for group night we welcomed Chris, an RN who is also a licensed nutritionist. She showed us the importance of paying attention to what we eat. It is possible to be at the right weight without medications and just by eating a healthy, balanced diet. At fifty-six, Chris is the same weight as she was when she was thirty-six and had her last child. Your body is a gift from God and we must be good stewards for the gifts he has given us.
Nutrition is important because we need to have energy to do daily tasks. We need to maintain a healthy body weight and it also lowers the risk of health problems such as heart disease. A few easy things to start doing are to watch portion sizes and eats lots of foods that are dark green, red, and orange. Look on the packaging before eating any food because portion sizes are often smaller than they seem.
What is exactly is stress? Stress is a chemical reaction in response to a negative reaction. It’s your body telling you that it doesn’t want to get hurt. This isn’t always bad; it helps keep you safe. However, too much stress can get you stuck in a negative state of being. When people are over-stressed, they typically worry too much about silly things or become desensitized to problem areas in their lives.
What are symptoms of being too stressed?
Stress has many symptoms and here are a few: increased heart rate, feeling lousy, feeling overwhelmed, forgetting things, loss of focus, and high blood pressure. Being stressed is much worse for pregnant mothers because the baby feels everything that his or her mother feels.
How do I deal with stress?
A big part of dealing with stress is recognizing it so you can plan for before, during, and after the fact. Many people only recognize what stress made them do after-the-fact. When you feel like you’re overstressed, give yourself a moment. Realize you’re having a rough time and get a fresh start. There are many simple ways to help relieve stress: write in journals, take a walk, bathe, color, listen or sing to music, pamper yourself, use a stress ball or something similar, read, take a nap, make lists, or exercise. Be proactive. When you’re really engaged it’s hard to think about all the extra stuff. Crying may not be a bad thing because it makes you feel better afterwards. It’s easier to spiral than to stay at a bottom. Everybody’s life is different. Everything has different meanings to different people. Hold yourself accountable by doing activities with others, such as working out. Get to a place where you can even compromise. Somethings will come with time. Take care of yourself.
Mind full vs. Mindful
Mindfulness is doing actions with purpose. Your mind is sometimes so cluttered that you don’t realize what you’re doing and live life on autopilot. You’re too busy thinking about the next thing that you neglect what you’re doing in the now. Focus on your breathing two minutes a day. Clear your mind. Learn awareness, self-acceptance, and letting things go. Set apps with reminders to force you to pause throughout the day. Close your eyes and take very deep breaths. Be aware of the noises around you. Open your eyes and say five things you can see, five you can hear, five you can touch, and try to find five things to taste and smell. Be at peace. Accept things the way they are.
How to prevent stress
Find things that are important to you and make time. Say no to a new responsibility when you need to. Make sure to make yourself laugh every once in a while. Seek out that person who always puts a smile on your face or re-watch your favorite comedy. Intentionally build things into your day to brighten it up. Make your own day. Take long breaths—quickly count 1,2,3,4. Be aware of the right now and intentionally focus on what’s around you. If you need further help with your stress, many hospitals offer courses. A stress-free you is the best you!
For this blog I interviewed one of my friends, Alexis. She’s 25 and the mother of Lola, who’s almost three. Alexis recently finished her associate’s degree and is continuing her education. She’s one of the strongest people I know, and I couldn’t wait to get some of her insights on what it’s like to be a single mother.
What’s something you wish you would’ve known when becoming a mother?
Alexis wishes her father would’ve told her how hard it was to have a split family. She has one full brother, plus a sister from her father’s first marriage and another sister from a different relationship. Things never worked out with Lola’s father, but she remains in regular contact with him and Lola sees him often. However, it is so hard to make everyone happy. She’s trying to make it work, but there’s always something that doesn’t sit right.
What’s the best part about being a mother?
Alexis’s favorite moments are those quiet nights. Lola is always quick to announce her affection with an “I love you mom,” “Thank you mom,” or “You’re safe now.” “You can just tell by their look that you’re the greatest person in the world to them. Suddenly this gooey wet thing on your chest is the most important part of your life,” said Alexis. Unconditional love is an amazing thing. “You’re not doing half a bad job,” Alexis assures, “Always raise your child to be polite, helpful, and respectful.”
What are struggles you’ve faced as a single mother?
“Stability!” Alexis quickly responded, “Financial stability especially.” She’s currently looking for a new home for just her and Lola. She wants to be able to be the parent that she wants to be. She stated that even if you are living with someone rent-free, “pay rent” but put it into your child’s savings account. Additionally, when seasonal clothes go on sale, buy the next size up.
What advice would you give to single mothers?
“It’s okay,” Alexis said, “It’s okay if you have it together or if you don’t. If you have a baby you’re strong. You’re giving, caring and nurturing. You will be okay. Nothing will be as bad as you think. To Lola, I’m the best person. Don’t make your kid think it’s not okay. My parents sometimes didn’t have the best of times but that never stopped them from giving us a good life. Sky’s the limit. Never too late to go to school, even if you have two, four kids. Always resources out there.”
Proverbs 20:5: “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.”