Stress in Kids and How to Help Them

Guest post by Zara Lewis (@ZaraELewis) – check out her bio at the end!

Our overall health is a compact unity of emotional and physical aspects; they are mutually inclusive and have a direct impact on the functioning of the other. And all while you can’t (physically) touch or see stress and anxiety, you can see them reflected onto your life, your state of mind and ultimately – the quality of your life.

Stress doesn’t recognize gender, age, skin color or religion. The sad truth is that it can affect anyone and everyone – from the elderly to your kids. The world we live in seems to be based on stress and unless we learn how to cope, we may as well be wasting away our lives. Coping very much relates to learning how to shape our thoughts into positive thinking and/or how to manage negative thoughts when/if they occur.

No matter how much we try to protect our children, stress will inevitably catch up to them as well, especially if we expose them to such surroundings (immediate family, friends, neighbors, the country we live in, etc). They may not understand the triggers, but they’ll sure be able to pick up on the negative energy surrounding them. The best you can do is recognize the signs, intervene, and make sure to help them cope with it. Unfortunately, it is all around us, every day, and sheltering them too much will not do them good in the long run.

In doing your best to prevent it, be sure to talk it over with your children. Always listen to their problems and approach them with an open mind, no matter how petite those problems might seem to you. What’s small to us may be bigger than world to them, remember.

Babies and Stress?

Believe it or not, even babies get stressed out. However, the type of stress they feel is mostly caused by high levels of stimulation given everything they are experiencing is new to them and they need time to process it. One of the best things you can do to calm them down is through physical contact. If you want to help your baby feel calm, get a comfy swaddle wrap and swaddle your baby into it. These are really amazing because they  recreate the conditions in the womb so that the baby feels warm and safe. It will soothe your newborn’s cry and help them fall asleep. But no matter what, mommy’s soothing touch does the magic and can calm down even the rowdiest of babies. The only thing to bear in mind is that babies feel what their moms are feeling (including stress), so try to be calm and relaxed, and you’ll help them feel that way too.

Children Dealing With Stress

Young kids have plenty of problems besides studying and being good at school/sports/extracurricular activities given they have to deal with peer pressure. Most parents ignore the signs and mistake them for rudeness or being spoiled, but things can be quite problematic as their children have no idea how to handle stressful situations. Naturally, if not handled in time, these exact situations may have a negative impact on their later life. The important thing is to keep communication channels open. No matter how big the situation or the mistake the kid’s made, you must sit down and talk to them. Even when they’re not feeling like talking, try to read their body language and find ways to approach them. Otherwise, they will slowly become introvert and cut you off altogether.

Teens Are Not Exempt

Hitting teen ages means that your kid will go through a lot of hormonal, emotional and physical changes, and it’ll be very hard.

Nonetheless, this is a period when they go on a journey of self-discovery that, apart from being gratifying, will also be very demanding and, therefore, stressful. Unless you help them, they will potentially end up making bad decisions that will jeopardize their future engagements and personal growth.

Still, recognizing the signs of stress in teens is perhaps the hardest part of mending the issue; teen years are when children feel like the whole world is against them, so they will rarely ever try to find solace in talking to their parents. When asked about the problem, they’ll usually refuse your help or deny the existence of that problem. Your best strategy is to be patient and help them as you go. Stay close to your child and be very observant to the life they’re starting to lead. Their cry for help will come in various forms – from destructive behavior, shutting down, image changes to bad language, unusual social behavior, etc.

Ignoring your child’s cries for help is the worst thing you could do as it will cause additional pain, and in the long run, it could have devastating effects. On the other hand, you shouldn’t be too pampering; after all, the child’s psyche needs to develop and they have to learn ways to cope with the world around them, explore and grow. Stress can never be rooted out, but it can be made bearable with a lot of love, understanding and care. 

 

Zara Lewis (Twitter: @ZaraELewis) is a mom, fitness & yoga enthusiast and a regular writer for

High Style Life. She is devoted to implementing healthy life habits in every aspect of life of her

family and friends. She loves to share her parenting tips and is always open to learning some new skills, because she sees her parenthood as going to school forever. She enjoys traveling, hiking, cycling and baking.

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Tips for Your 1st Year of Parenthood

We did it! We made it through the first year (and then some) of parenthood. I by no means consider myself an expert on parenthood, or any other child besides my own, but I have learned a lot of things about being a parent to a baby and about myself in the past year that I think may be helpful to share. Any tips on parenting a toddler would be welcomed with open arms!

I hope that these things help you take care of yourself throughout your first year on this wild ride. I know everyone has said it to you already, but it really does go by so fast, so enjoy it as much as you can!

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Mom’s Me-Time Strategy

I am very happy to share this honest, inspiring, and beautiful written piece by Zara Lewis (find her on Twitter @ZaraELewis). As moms, I think we can all relate to something in Zara’s writing, and I hope you all will find this just as helpful as I did. Also, please take a moment to check out Zara’s bio at the end of the post, and spend some time checking out some of her other pieces!

Mom’s me-time strategy: essential guide to rebalancing yourself

In the midst of school dance preparations, as I was sewing in the buttons on a costume (which, by the by, I had personally made by hand), I started getting hot and dizzy; it was a feeling like the one they’ve been saying happens when you are dying: a haze, your whole life is flashing before your eyes, and you can’t breathe. A semi-panic attack, and I’m thinking “Am I going to make it this time around?” as my daughter tugs down on my skirt. On autopilot, I pull myself together and think “It is all worth it”.  

Mom fever

Scattered and unfocused with all the activities I’m stretched between –  working small consulting jobs, volunteering at school, driving endless carpools, minding the household, freelancing as a writer, running, making costumes for school dances (to name a few), I was drowning. Deadlines started escaping me; I would miss the kids’ games’ I skipped running more often than I actually went on track; I had no time for my friends or husband; and it felt like failing. All of it. And the worst part? I thought I was in it alone. All other mothers seemed to have it all figured out while I – I was on the verge.

Motherhood community

The magic of motherhood community is that, once you open up, everyone opens up. I spoke to some of my mom-friends and realized – I wasn’t alone. We are all messed up together and all while trying to be perfect, we’re forgetting to just be. Be happy and enjoy parenting.

Still, that doesn’t change the fact that ‘working mother’ is by far a redundant term these days and that we’re all grasping for air. I couldn’t help but think to myself: Do we all really want our children growing up with mothers stretched too thin, rarely ever laughing or glowing with happiness? Of course we don’t. They deserve mothers with a focus, acting from joy, not guilt.

Action on point

At a sit down and over a few Irish coffees, with our kids at school and our self-love and dignity buried in a pile of dirty laundry, my neighboring mothers and I have agreed it’s time we changed things. We’ve decided it’s time we did something for us, individually. It was (and still is) a beautiful motherhood pack – we’ve made a list of things we’ll do for ourselves, change and alter. We’ve become each other’s support system that afternoon, you know.

Here’s what we’ve done and it’s been working since then.

Accept this new part of your identity

The first and key step to discovering who you are as a mother is accepting that, in fact, you are a mother. Most of us were thrown into the motherhood just as we were landing big clients and launching our startups. Accepting that you are a mom – with, now, changed priorities, different body, altered schedule, multitasking and balancing of a different type than the one you’ve known your whole life (you vs. YOUR PERSONAL obligations, not someone else’s) – changes everything.

Think of this transition as a new beginning. Instead of focusing on the loss of your former self, embrace this transformative experience as something that will encourage personal growth. Treat it as a project you’re doing with tremendous love. You are now a role model. Grow into becoming the kind of person you want our child to look up to.

Indulge in a passion

Stop forgetting yourself, immediately! Yes, everything is on you but you are on you, too. Find the time to indulge in your passions, even for an hour a day. It doesn’t matter how banal those passions are – from watching your favorite TV show, writing, drinking that morning cup of coffee alone, going for a run, reading, painting to DIY-ing around the house – who cares! If it’s making you happy, do it. It’s your happy fuel.

Be a kid for a second

Our kids’ happiness comes from, well, them being kids. They’ll find joy in almost everything around them, so why not take their lead?

Stacey (Jerrad’s mom) went to running every day; Joyce (Scott’s mom) took up yoga again; Stella (Jenny’s mom) took up painting classes again; Susan (Mary’s mom) started Tango lessons. Me? I treated myself to a self-balancing scooter and I’m riding it like a boss! I’ve always wanted one, ever since that kid down the block bought it, but I never had the guts. Well, now I did and I love it!

Talk to adults

Perk up your social calendar this very second! Make the time to go on a date with your husband, see your best friends and have a coffee with your favorite neighbors. No, the Earth won’t go flat if you replace doing the laundry (for a day) with going for a movie with your bestie while the kids are at school. Come on.

Ask for help

No one is going to think you are a bad mom if you ask for help; after all, when did you sign up to be both a successful business woman and a successful mother?

Ask your husband to assist or hire help to come in a few days a week. It’s okay, trust me.

Final word

The way I see it, us mothers are a true force, a hurricane in its perfect power if you will. We’re entrusted with the biggest job anyone can embark on – rearing good, kind, self-respecting, ethical, responsible human beings – might as well nail it, right?

 

Zara Lewis (Twitter: @ZaraELewis) is a mom, fitness & yoga enthusiast and a regular writer for

High Style Life. She is devoted to implementing healthy life habits in every aspect of life of her

family and friends. She loves to share her parenting tips and is always open to learning some new skills, because she sees her parenthood as going to school forever. She enjoys traveling, hiking, cycling and baking.

Continue Reading

Goals for the New Year

Last week I wrote about my difficulty sticking with many of my past resolutions and goals long-term. No matter how good my intentions, few things I have tried became normal, natural parts of my daily routine.

As I thought about my goals for the new year, I tried to stay realistic yet hopeful. Many of these goals are goals I have set for myself multiple times in the past, so I knew I needed to approach these goals in a different way. I knew I could not put too much rigidity into the goals I set for myself, or unnecessary pressure with unrealistic goals. I am historically unsuccessful when I do that.

I also wanted to keep in mind that goals aren’t meant to be easy, they require hard work and diligence. I was feeling motivated when I developed my goals and my plan for success, and hopeful that I could be successful and have an improved future by working toward my goals.

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A Lumberjack Birthday Bash

I have always been a big fan of celebrating birthdays. We don’t go over the top, but there is something so fulfilling about making someone feel special on their birthday. Planning a party, organizing a group dinner, making a gift, or even just sending a card with a heartfelt note is something I enjoy. So when it was time to celebrate Jack’s first birthday, I knew I wanted to do something that would be special for our family.
Let me tell you, though. I did not think I would be the person who put so much time into a one year old’s birthday party. “He won’t even remember it” is something I would have said a few years ago. Obviously I am in a much different position now that I have a son, and I wanted the party to reflect our love for him. With all that being said, I tried to keep this party inexpensive. I don’t think the amount of money I spend reflects the amount of love I have, I’m too frugal for that way of thinking anyway. What I mean is that I wanted to put in the time to make decorations, make the food, prepare to fill our home with more people than we originally planned for. Fill it with people, fill it with love for our sweet boy who is indeed so very loved.
So I’d like to share some of the details about Jack’s big celebratory day. I’m proud that I was able to pull something off that was well decorated, consistent in theme, and mostly hand made – without spending a ton of money.
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7 Days of Self-Care: Day 3

Welcome to Day 3 of my series, 7 Days of Self-Care. I hope that if you’re reading along, that you have been focusing on taking care of yourself over the weekend. The weekends are busy, I’m out of my routine, so it’s easy for self-care to be put off.  Not this weekend!

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I’ll be keeping this short and sweet tonight, because Day 3 focuses on family time.

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Oreo Birthday Cake!

Since I started eating dairy free back in January, I have become obsessed with Oreos. I have always liked Oreos, but once I learned they were dairy free, that like quickly turned to love. I seriously doubt we have gone a day without Oreos in our house since then.

Someone else who loves Oreos almost as much as I do is my stepdad. So when we started planning his birthday dinner that we hosted at our house, it was a no brainer for me to make him an Oreo cake.

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Don’t Believe Everything You Think: Part 1

The kitchen is a disaster. Mail is strewn all over the table, bottles that need washed are in the sink and on the counter. Empty pizza boxes are on the stove, evidence of us not following our meal plan last night. I look down and my toenail polish is half chipped off, yet I’m still wearing sandals to work today. Folded laundry is sitting in the family room that has been waiting to be put away.

I look around at all that’s undone as I rush to get of the house and on my way to work, and have to fight off negative thoughts that are persistent in my mind.

Look at all this. This is not good enough. 

I am so lazy. I should have cleaned up last night. 

I’m never going to have the kind of house I want. 

I’m a bad wife, a bad mom. Other people are so much better at this. 

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Dairy Free Blueberry Muffins

When Jack was first diagnosed with having a milk protein allergy, the prospect of cutting all dairy out of my diet was daunting. There is dairy in so many things that I love! If you know me, you know I love sweets and baked goods. Saying farewell was not something I wanted to do, but giving up breastfeeding was not an option in my mind for me personally.

Luckily there are amazing resources out there for eating dairy free, and not having easy access to just grabbing something at the store when I have a craving has lead me to spend more time getting creative in the kitchen.

This weekend, muffins sounded so good. When Jack went down for a nap, Mama got to baking.

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When breastfeeding threw me a curveball… twice

I have been breastfeeding Jack for 8 months, and I completely love it. I love the bond that we have, and I appreciate my body so much more for what it is capable of. It may be selfish, but I cherish the time we get to spend together doing something that is just for Jack and I.

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We don’t co-sleep, but I love to snuggle with Jack and nurse in bed sometimes

Getting to where we are now in our breastfeeding journey has been a long road. It has been extremely painful, challenging, and scary at times. There have even been a few very unexpected surprises.

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