To: (Multiple email addresses may be specified by separating them with a comma)
BY DAVE DURAND
husband and I recently had our first child, bought a home and he started a new
job. I am having a difficult time managing change in my life and I’m wondering
if there are any basic things I can do to make the stress more bearable?
Psychologists list the three life changes that you
are currently going through among the top causes of stress. The good news is
that there are things you can do to find relief.
First of all, remember that God will never give you
more than you can handle (even when it feels like he is already doing so). I
recommend that you take on this challenge from three angles. The first is
emotional, the second is functional and the third is spiritual.
emotions. It would make sense that
you would feel needier than ever before. Your emotions have value and make life
interesting, flavorful and meaningful but they can also cloud your ability to
reason your way through challenges. Balance out your life in order to refocus
and to be fresh for the people and challenges associated with your new
Even though it may be hard to imagine finding time to
get some exercise or to read a newspaper, these things are essential. Most new
mothers I know are so dedicated to serving their new families that they feel
guilty taking the time to do anything for themselves. Eventually this leads to
exhaustion, which raises new problems. Look at the short breaks not as selfish
moments but as an essential part of rejuvenating yourself in order to better
serve your family. Meeting with other mothers is also a great way to fulfill
the emotional needs of this time. You will also pick up tips about managing
change from the real experts: other moms.
your approach. Instead of trying to
tackle every task as soon as you think of it, write out a To Do list. The very
act of making a list may reduce stress associated with trying to remember all
of your responsibilities. Be sure that you have an easy-to-see calendar as
well. I recommend something that allows you to see the entire month. This may
reduce stress because you will have a clear picture of what lies ahead.
It is also wise to list and organize your daily
responsibilities. I remember when, after we had our first child, we felt as
though his needs now controlled the activities of each day. Take charge of
change by scheduling a routine for cleaning, shopping, laundry and breaks. Then
teach your baby to adapt to your schedule as much as possible.
To give you further hope, know that it was Lisa’s and
my experience that adjusting to our first child was harder than adjusting to
our sixth. Experience is a terrific teacher.
your faith. This is a time for
praise and thanksgiving. The selflessness that you are exercising out of love
for your family will yield eternal rewards. You may want to use each challenge
as a reminder to pray. The prayer “solution” is not simply a warm and fuzzy
sentiment. It will not only help you grow in holiness by deepening your
relationship with Christ; prayer will also produce temporal results that will
equate to a miraculous feeling of increased stamina, time and organization in
speaker Dave Durand is the author of Time Management for Catholics. He’s online