If anyone could paint a portrait of pressure and strain in life, it’s a single mom. While raising kids alone, she knows all too well the culprits of stress: coming home from work only to start the night shift or attending the teacher’s conference only to surprisingly discover her son’s making an F in Math.
Stress. We all deal with it from time to time, but single moms carry a double load. Amen? I recall a message I heard from a conference speaker once. After listening to her, I prided myself in thinking, “I’m doing really well. I’m not overly stressed like everyone else here!” Then the woman behind me kept clicking her fingernails. It only took a minute of that noise and I began to squirm. My neck began to sweat and I started sighing out loud. Before the day was done, the lady next to me nudged my ribs as she mentioned my “sighing out loud” was getting on her nerves. (Sounds to me like we were both stressed!)
So what’s a mom to do? We can take steps to relieve our edginess—one “bite” at a time. See if any of these 10 ideas can help you.
- Be mindful. In other words think about what you’re thinking about. The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.
- Be quick. Invite the Holy Spirit into the moment. We forget about Him all too often. He is the stabilizer of our emotions who sees what we need to let go of that’s causing undue tension.
- Be intentional. Step out of the traffic of anxiety and just have fun with it. For example, intentionally drive in the slow lane and watch everyone passing by in a hurry. It might do your heart good to see what you often look like. In other words…breathe…relax.
- Be kind. That is…to yourself. Throw away the bat. Quit beating yourself up over things you can’t redo. No use living in the past moment when present opportunities are flying by you.
- Be selfish. What did I say? Don’t be thin in the wrong places. In other words, quit skimping on “me” time. At least once a week, do something for just you. It refuels you with fresh energy for the tasks ahead.
- Be wise. Don’t give in to your child’s every whim. Saying “no” teaches them restraint. Be the parent. You can be their friend after they marry.
- Be pushy. Face your fears. Quit running. Anxiety can stop you in your tracks, yet pushing through them gives birth to emotional freedom. Do what scares you until it doesn’t anymore. F.E.A.R. means – Face Everything And Rise!
- Be vulnerable. Take the risk to get help. The Bible says, “Where there is no guidance, the people fall. But in the abundance of counselors, there is victory” (Proverbs 11:14).
- Be protective. Protect your emotions and your health. Don’t borrow other people’s stress. You have enough of your own. Set clear boundaries around your thought life about whose stress you will feel responsible for.
- Be rested. Why worry all night? Give it to God. He’ll be up all night anyway. It’s not stress that kills you; it’s your reaction to it. Leave the outcome in the Father’s hands.
I think it’s time we wrote ourselves a personal letter. “Dear stress…let’s break up.”
About Pam Kanaly
Aloha! I’m Pam Kanaly, President and co-founder of Arise Ministries. But actually, I think Arise found me wanting to bless single moms years ago. Ministry was never on my mind as a kid. All I wanted to be was a hula dancer. So Mother enrolled me in the tiny tots’ class. Guess God knew I’d have two grandbabies born in Hawaii. I love the great outdoors. You might even find me spending time with my husband grizzly bear watching or camping. In fact, it was on a turkey hunt that God gave me the name Arise Ministries in 2002. I suppose it’s a good thing that I majored in Grammar in college since I love to write words of encouragement to single moms.