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March 29, 2015

Cortisol for breakfast anyone?

“Whheewwwww”  I say as I walk in to the office “How is it I feel like I have just run a marathon and it is only 9am? I haven’t even started working yet?” My business partner nods in agreement and says, “I know! I get so stressed in the morning….the book bag needs to be packed, the lunches, be on time for school……”

This got me wondering……..Why is the morning so stressful, exactly?

An article in the Journal of Family Psychology (fox news ran a story on the research) gives us a peak inside why mornings may be so stressful for moms. What they found is that the cortisol levels in working moms is higher in the morning on weekdays than on weekends, and stress hormone levels were significantly higher the more work related stress or home stress related stress was reported.  Quoted directly from the article, “Chronically high cortisol levels may place these mothers at risk for exhaustion, cardiovascular problems, or other mental or physical health problems.” I don’t think this is limited to working moms only. I hear very often that most moms feel stress on school day mornings because so much is happening in such a short period of time. So, what do we do about this?

Ask for help- delegate tasks to your partner or support person. Some asks dad to step in to help with the morning routine, a friend of mine has her afternoon babysitter pack lunches for the next day….get creative. Can older kids help?

Let go- so much of mom stress and work stress can be do to wanting to do everything perfectly. I hear this so often. So, we need to define a new level of  “normal”…..”working-mommy normal” is different than “working-with-no-kids-normal” but many of us don’t change our expectations of ourselves. Changing our expectations can help reduce home and work stress.

Recharge- Carve out some downtime for yourself each day (even if it is only 5 minutes). Many mommies report that waking up a few minutes before kids wake up to have some down time to “get grounded” before the rush of the day begins helps them feel better able to handle the morning rush. (see Mindful Mommy)

Takeaway-I am not alone in this and I don’t have to be. I can ask for help and have more reasonable expectations for myself.

Link to full article:

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/08/30/tips-for-working-moms-with-higher-stress-hormones/