This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of StyleWatch® PEOPLE®, InStyle®, or Real Simple®. All opinions are my own.
What’s inside: 3 steps to lower stress for a healthier mind and body.
“I do pretty much everything around here! This house would fall apart without me!”
If you’ve said those words (or something of the like) then you might just have a martyr complex.
Before you say “no way, that sounds extreme,” let me explain. I have a feeling that there are a lot of other moms out there that will relate to this one!
This week at Randall’s I picked up the latest issue of Real Simple magazine. I’m flipping through while waiting at the checkout and I land on an article called How to Conquer the Martyr Complex. I’m not sure if that’s an actual scientific term, but the phrase coined by author Ingela Ratledge caught my attention. It’s as if she were describing…me.
She might just be describing you too…
So what is a martyr complex?
“Martyrs think that if they don’t do something, it won’t get done.” Or maybe someone else could do it, but you’ll do it better.
Check and check. That’s definitely me!
Taking on more than we’re physically capable of doing sets moms up for more than just a let-down. It piles on the stress. If your to-do list is never-ending, then you don’t have a chance to reset. And your body needs to reset and relax. Your life actually kind of depends on it (more on that in a bit).
Why are we moms putting so much pressure on ourselves?
I want you to take a minute to read the following list to see if any of these apply to you:
- Your kids are often finished with a meal before you’ve taken your first bite.
- You’ll put off your own stylist appointment for weeks or months, but you’d never dream of letting your kid go to school with hair in their face.
- You never seem to “get it all done” and feel like you’re constantly running from one thing to the next.
If any of these hit home with you, then guess what…you’re probably normal. But you’re also allowing yourself to fall into the martyr pattern and might not be taking care of yourself as well as you should.
So many times mom comes last. It’s in our nature as caregivers to put others first. Since much of our value is wrapped up in pleasing others, we often forget about our own happiness.
This can have serious consequences for not just our psyche, but also our body and health.
Stress is no joke
The effects of stress are more than just annoying, they’re dangerous. It’s pretty well known that stress causes visible body symptoms like acne or weight gain. Lame.
But did you know that high stress levels increase the chance of heart attack or stroke in women by 40%? (Source) That’s actually scary!!
That’s why it’s so important as women and mothers to take care of ourselves. And sometimes that means letting go of the responsibilities that we think are so important.
Three steps to tackle your to-do list & lower stress
I find that a to-do list actually does help me to get things done more efficiently. I’m also less likely to forget something that I’ve written down.
However, if your to-do list is constantly growing or you never cross everything off, then it might be time to evaluate what’s on it. Here are three questions that will help you whittle away at that list:
- Is a task absolutely necessary? Paying the electricity bill or renewing your driver’s license fall into this category. Washing the windows, on the other hand, might make the house look nicer, but won’t affect whether you eat or keep the lights on.
- Can it wait? Maybe this is something you’d like to do, but your daily life doesn’t depend on it. In that case, put it on your long-term list and relieve yourself of the pressure to get it done now. Like those windows…
- Should I let it go? Once you move certain items off your “do now” list, you might find that they don’t seem quite as important as you thought. It’s kind of like how I “sleep on it” before making a big decision or expensive purchase. Often those impulse ideas lose their value when you re-visit them later. Let ’em go!
2. Allow others to pick up the slack
Save your time and energy for tasks in which you are absolutely essential OR bring you joy.
Ratledge suggests delegating tasks that you know someone else can take care of. Maybe your husband doesn’t fold clothes exactly the way you like them, but he is capable of folding. So let him do it!
Once you get over the worry of passing off tasks, you’ll see what a relief it is to have some help!
3. Award yourself with “me” time (without guilt!)
Reading is my number one way to relax. Some days I enjoy the “escape” a good book provides. Other days I like to browse my favorite mags like Real Simple, PEOPLE®, Style Watch®, or InStyle® for inspiration — I love their healthy recipes and do-able life advice.
Whatever your thing is, make time to do it! Whether it’s sipping a cappuccino at your local coffee shop or a hike at the park, give yourself a couple hours to “do you” every single week. Your body will thank you for it!
Be sure to grab the March 2017 issue of Real Simple magazine to read the article that made me wake up and make more of an effort to take care of my body and spirit.
You can visit your local participating Safeway, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Pavilions, Tom Thumb, Randall’s, Shaw’s, Star Market, Carr’s or Acme Market to receive $1 J4U/MyMixx offer on PEOPLE, Instyle, StyleWatch, and Real Simple.