stress management Archives - Best Mom Blogs For Self-Care | Mom's Hierarchy Of Needs

Curb the Invisible Tax on Your Time and Energy

Our society still favors the quick fix. And sells us the idea that self-care is something you can buy. Of course, it’s not. But we’re bombarded with the promise of relaxation, health or energy, on everything from laundry detergent to smoothies. And what happens when that promise isn’t fulfilled?

There is a connection between what you buy and how overwhelmed you are. When Moms were surveyed about the mental load, the top culprit was housework. And in the pandemic study, 78% of surveyed parents are doing more of it. A lot more. And all of the stuff, that we buy or acquire, comes with an invisible tax. Do you want to clean and maintain those things forever? Probably not. So, there are strategies to shift this cycle. We can become more intentional about what comes into our homes. And it’s not just about saving time, money and mental energy. We can help save the planet.

The Problem, our Societal ‘Engine’ is Driven by Consumerism

Stephanie Seferian, Author, Podcaster and Minimalism Expert said, “People who have been in their houses for the past year are looking at their possessions through a more critical lens. ‘Why did I spend my hard-earned money on this? Is it improving my quality of life? Why do I have 12 mugs when I can only drink coffee out of one at a time?’” She often engages with people who are new to sustainable thinking. Stephanie said, “The pandemic’s been very hard for a lot of people. But in some ways, the great pause has given us the breathing room to ask these questions. And the process of not going anywhere or needing ‘the new thing’ has really opened their eyes to the facade that is essentially consumer culture. It usually starts there.” Yes!

And the Challenge is Bigger Than Plastic

On the journey from interested to expert, Stephanie has learned a lot about the state of the planet. And what we can do to help. She said, “What surprised me is that Continue reading “Curb the Invisible Tax on Your Time and Energy”

Why Stress Is Contagious and What you Can do About it

Concern For Kids Mental Health Has Reached a Dull Roar

“Working with everyone home and watching my kids’ mental health decline. My straight A son is a Sophomore, and he is failing. Our school system flip flopping on saying when they can go back F2F. So frustrating to have no control and feel helpless and hopeless at this point.”

“The increased responsibility and decline in available resources for myself and my child. Our outlets and interactions are limited and it’s taking a toll on the mental and emotional health of myself and my son.”

“Seeing my kids suffer and grow depressed and uninterested in life.”

“(I need) free social programs for me and my children. We are not doing well mentally.”

Over 1,900 parents, mostly Moms (98%) have shared their stories in our pandemic study since last March. Most felt pretty good about their ability to lean into parenting and make impossible tradeoffs in the beginning. Although it was often at the expense of their roles as workers, partners and caregivers to themselves. But in our recent survey wave (November through January) as mental health declines for many kids, for the first time, most (60%) cite doing ‘terribly’ or ‘not as well as usual’ as parents (an increase from 46% in the prior wave.)

Your Home is a Little Ecosystem

The growing concern, that their kids have “hit the pandemic wall” reached a crescendo. And without self-care, parents aren’t doing well either. And households are a bit like terrariums. If the conditions are right, everyone flourishes. But if anything is amiss – the soil, the light or health of other inhabitants, the whole system is at risk.

Sheltered-at-home, the strain is rippling through families. As social beings, we’re wired to Continue reading “Why Stress Is Contagious and What you Can do About it”

How to Reset Your Career When You’re Depleted

Over 2 million women have already left the workforce in the pandemic. And without childcare, eldercare or the ability to take a paid leave, many more plan to downshift, resign or switch professions altogether.

Before deciding what to do next, you need clarity about what you need. But pivots require strategy. And strategic thinking, requires mental energy. And Covid’s mental load, Zoom-school and housework, have drained most parents dry.

Peggy Foster, an HR Consultant, Executive Coach and Artist, spent more than 2 decades in Human Resources and Organizational Development. She’s an expert in professional transitions and navigated her own exit from corporate life.

It may feel impossible to make the space. But Peggy’s process highlights how self-care and reflection, even in small doses, can lead to big breakthroughs.

Don’t ‘Empty’ Yourself for Others

Peggy explained, “When we take space for ourselves, it feels like we’ve gone against society and how we’ve been trained as women, to put everybody else first. Feed the kids, clean the house, make sure everybody is happy, get that job done at work and the truth is, you Continue reading “How to Reset Your Career When You’re Depleted”

The Reasons You Feel Torn in Two

And Why it May Not be Time for a Drastic Career Change

“Every form of employee appreciation has been cancelled. There are no raises or bonuses. Work is being packed onto skeleton departments because all of the ‘fat’ has been trimmed. Employees are burning out.”

“I hate putting my son in front of the TV just so I can work.”

“Trying to give 100% to my job during work hours and 100% to my kids for their school work has been impossible. Both my work and my kids’ education have suffered from that.”

“I’m working full time in a hospital while my husband is working full time at home trying to take care of our 5 and 3 year old boys. No one is getting the time and attention that we need from each other right now.”

Almost half (44%) of surveyed parents (1,300) in our pandemic study say they’re doing ‘not as well as usual’ or terribly’ as workers. And although the majority (60%) feel they’re doing ‘as well’ or ‘better than usual’ as parents, 40% do not. They’re exhausted from months of housework, work-work and childcare, without any self-care.

Many feel trapped by untenable schedules. And distanced from their core values. So, after months of life-or-death decisions, it’s not surprising  that parents want Continue reading “The Reasons You Feel Torn in Two”

Do More Than Talk About Mental Health at Work

Leaders are you Listening?

When over 1,200 surveyed parents, mostly Moms (95%) were asked, what they need to improve wellbeing or productivity, the answer was often the same. Mental healthcare, either for themselves, their partners or children. It’s among the most requested needs, along with greater work flexibility and childcare.

Covid, a health crisis with a twist of recession, has leveled entire industries. And employers are scrambling to respond. Everyone craves clarity and focus in light of the new professional challenges. Which only increases pressure for working parents when burnout is high and resilience is low. What can compassionate leaders do?

Employers Can Jump into the Void

Mental health has always been tricky. We celebrate exercise, yet rarely champion the ongoing effort for emotional wellbeing. And before the pandemic, most employers were reactive about the whole topic.

Maybe it’s because so many factors effect mental health. But pre-Covid, 65% of US employees cited work as a significant source of stress. So, positive work Continue reading “Do More Than Talk About Mental Health at Work”

It’s Time to Leave the Productivity Prison

That’s right. Prison. I said it.

If you used to derive joy at the intersection of helpfulness and productivity, like I did, then anything else feels bad. And let’s face it, working at home with kids during a pandemic is the opposite of that.  So, unless we rethink productivity, we end up in a race against our pre-pandemic selves, we can’t win.

And It’s Uncomfortable

I prided myself on getting a LOT done each day pre-kids. And the thrill of moving through a mountain of to-dos sustained me. I used to believe that good days were productive days.

Organizations now hire me to help their employees, usually caregivers, cope through Covid. And during live sessions, the most frequent question parents ask, is how to reclaim productivity under Covid conditions.

We Need to Redefine What Productive Means

I relate, because I still struggle with this. No one wants to be ‘pandemic-productive.’ When the days feel edgeless and uncertain, they want something tangible from their time. They want to measure themselves against Continue reading “It’s Time to Leave the Productivity Prison”

Loneliness When You’re Not Alone

Over 1,000* parents, primarily Moms (94%) have shared their experiences with the pandemic since late March. Five months in, time spent caring for mental and physical health, continues to erode. And over 2/3 admit spending less time maintaining relationships with other adults that keep them anchored. Parents have increasingly shared loneliness has been the hardest part of social distance.

“Not being able to be with people I care about. Now everyone is just a phone friend.”

“I’m low on incidental socialization (i.e. chatting with parents while kids are at activities, socializing with people at the gym, getting together with friends who don’t live on my street.)”

“Not being able to see friends and family and/or needing to limit the amount of interaction with them.”

Isolation…With Family?

We love our families. Their persistent presence has been the greatest source of conflict and joy in lockdown, for most surveyed parents. But being ‘always on’ whether for work or kids, is wearing. The bonds we have with other adults — friends, family and colleagues – often provide  Continue reading “Loneliness When You’re Not Alone”

Childcare Never Quite Worked Before. It’s Time for Something Better

Let’s not conflate childcare and school. Working parents need both and always have. It’s true, most Americans with children over the age of 5 have relied on school as their primary childcare. But, the frequent holidays and mid-afternoon pickup, meant it was a partial solution at best for most workers. And having a credentialed expert, to expand your child’s mind, is not the same as keeping them fed and entertained.

Covid-19 has disrupted childcare arrangements for the overwhelming majority of over 900 surveyed parents* (71%.) Despite their need to continue working (84%) mostly from home (72%) with their kids.

“Non-stop days of homeschool followed by long evenings/weekends of work and making sure kids eat healthy, learn, get outside and feel ok while balancing a very demanding job.”

“It’s the unknown. Will the kids go back in the fall? How to balance their work and mine…”

“The expectation that work output should not be impacted despite having to care for my child full time. I stay up really late every night now to fit in the work hours.”

“Not being able to send my child to school or activities while I work. I must keep my child home to protect the family from COVID, sacrificing my ability to Continue reading “Childcare Never Quite Worked Before. It’s Time for Something Better”

What Parents Need to be Productive Through the Pandemic

“… I’m physically, mentally and emotionally drained. I DON’T want my kid to remember very much from this year at all.”

“I feel torn between meeting my kids social and developmental needs and completing my work to the same level as (I would) in the office.”

In new research, over 750* surveyed parents, primarily Moms (95%) have shared how the pandemic has changed their lives and what they need to get to the other side. They are overwhelmingly working (85%) without childcare (70%) while doing more of everything.

The Desire for Productivity

Most surveyed parents expressed that productivity during Covid is unrealistic. But they are desperate for relief and time to maintain their work. Or search for jobs. And everyone has to manage household, health and family life with less support. So, trying to optimize the precious time they have is unavoidable.

When asked this question, ‘what do you need to be more productive right now?’ surveyed parents were candid.

They Mourn the Loss of Physical & Emotional Space

Many surveyed parents crave the impossible, “more hours in the day,” preferably “alone” somewhere, “quiet.”  Most are caring for their children while squeezing Continue reading “What Parents Need to be Productive Through the Pandemic”

Help Is Not On the Way (And It’s Not Going Well)

Can Psychological Safety Can Make Work More Sane Right Now?

This is part of an ongoing series, to share results from the pandemic research study. This update is from nearly 400 parents, primarily Moms (91%) who responded between March 30 – June 6th about how COVID-19 has affected work and life, including what has been the hardest.

“The instability of both my job and ability to secure safe childcare (many will call out with late notice after finding out I work in healthcare.)”

“… uncertainty about when life can safely return to normal and perhaps more importantly the anxiety that my partner is likely going to be asked to return to work before we feel doing so meets our own personal threshold of risk.”

“I was working remotely then requested to be furloughed as both my husband and I were working remote with our 10-month-old and it was too much without help.”

More Responsibilities at Home Have Come at the Expense of Work

Surveyed Moms and Dads have leaned into their family roles during this time of crisis. 68% felt that they were doing the same, a better job than usual, or really well as parents and, though by a smaller majority, as spouses/partners. However, most (58%) felt that they were doing terribly or not as well as usual in their performance as workers and most (60%) sacrificed self-care routines to make space for the added responsibilities.  There are, however, exceptions. One surveyed Mom shared, “My kids are 9 and 10. They do their schoolwork and play/watch TV on their own while I’m working. My partner is now working from home, too, so I feel like I have more help than usual. I’m more productive now than I was when I was going to my workplace.”

Help Is Not On the Way for Most

The work/life juggle after having kids tested even the most optimistic parents. But in this pandemic, childcare, a prerequisite for working parenthood was disrupted for the overwhelming majority (74%) of those surveyed. And people are breaking under the strain of trying to do the absurd – work, Continue reading “Help Is Not On the Way (And It’s Not Going Well)”

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