I had a hard time sleeping the other night. My husband and child were sleeping peacefully, yet I was restless. My head swirling with lists – grocery lists, to-do lists, and gift lists for upcoming birthdays and holidays. I looked out my window to see if there was a full moon. Certainly that would be the reason for this insomnia. Nope. So I flipped on my IPad and Googled: “inspirational quotes,” “letting go of stress and worry,” and threw in “forgiveness” just for ha-ha’s.

My searches brought me to sites like stress.about.com that gave me good ideas for managing stress. They helped me come up with my own list that I have been doing my best to adhere to. Also, props goes to the awesome Kate Street who has written extensively about these topics too:

1. Think only of the present. Oh yeah, this one’s easy right? Not so much. The fact that this mom’s very survival hinges on planning ahead to keep things running smoothly, makes it hard to focus on the here and now. But doing this definitely slows my thoughts down and allows me to focus better.

2. Keep a journal. I feel very fortunate that I get to blog about parenting because it is the greatest stressor (albeit a joyous one) in my life right now. I am the type of person who feels better after I have shared my parenting stories to whoever will listen. But if you are not into telling the whole world your business, just keep a journal at your bedside. No need to write a novel every night, just a few lines on your current thoughts and feelings. There is such a good feeling that happens when you release all that’s bottled up in your mind and heart.

3. Write a letter that you do not intend to send. Here is an example of one regarding an incident that happened to me that day:

Dear Mr. Reckless Truck Driver,

What was your hurry that you nearly ran my daughter and I off the road while on our way to a pumpkin patch? Furthermore, what kind of man swears at a lady minding the speed limit? Did you learn manners from a pack of wolves? Or were you cranky because you were hungry? If so, I can totally understand that. You do not want to be around my two-year-old when she’s hungry. I hope you got yourself a nice sandwich and are driving better now.

Sincerely,

One Concerned Mama

There. I feel much better now. You should try it. Obviously you can write a letter to someone you know, but just by writing out a letter to a stranger who caused me stress was helpful in allowing me to get over the “great injustice”.

4. Ask for help! I have no problem asking for help when I need it, I just need to do it more often. Asking the universe for help generates a good end result too. I say things like, “Please dear God, if you help me avoid my daughter’s stomach bug, I promise I’ll be nicer to my mother-in-law.” I see nothing wrong with bartering with a higher power if you are doing something good for mankind.

5. Forgive and Let Go. Like # 1, this is a toughie but the most important. The movie “Up in the Air” came to mind when thinking about this. Dreamy George Clooney’s character is a “corporate downsizer” (he fires people for a living), but also a motivational speaker who refers to a proverbial “backpack” we carry with us in life. When we refuse to let go of attachments – material things, grudges, regrets, etc. – they get put into our spiritual “backpack” increasing it’s weight. We moms already have enough stuff to carry like baby wipes and extra snacks. I gotta let stuff go to make the load lighter and the journey happier. I’m trying. Really hard.

Dreamy George Clooney asks “How much does your life weigh?”

Click here to view the Backpack Speech

After all this contemplation, I remembered the coffee I had late in the day as the cause for my insomnia. Yikes. I’m adding #6 Drink Tea.

What would you add to this list to lighten your “backpack” wise readers? I’m gonna go get some rest now!

Photo Credit.

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