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Stress Relief Tips for Beginning Work at Home Moms

Updated on April 19, 2015

Life as a work at home mom (WAHM) can be really stressful. Just because we don’t get up and go to a job, doesn’t mean it’s all fun and games, especially if you’re trying to start your own business.

Juggling family and work while staying in the family environment can make it very difficult to focus on anything work related (or anything else for that matter).

It can also lead to a very stressful situation for everyone. Here are a few simple strategies to help you deal with stressful situations and preventing further ones.

Set Specific Goals

Goals help us live our life on purpose, and they are probably the most important step in reducing stress levels. Setting goals gives you a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, and when planned correctly, can provide you with a road map of how to achieve them. But goals need to be specific. The more specific the goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. We’ve all heard about S.M.A.R.T. goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Goals should also be meaningful. In other words, why is achieving the goal important to you? If you can’t answer this question, you may want to rethink the goal. If it doesn’t mean anything to you, the likelihood of you achieving the goal is very slim. Having an emotional attachment to the goal provides motivation and enthusiasm.

Goals should be ambitious, but attainable.
Goals should be ambitious, but attainable. | Source

For example, the goal to start a freelance writing business doesn’t really evoke an emotional response.

However, starting a freelance writing business so that you have more time to spend with your family, or so that your significant other doesn’t have to work and can be home with the kids has much more emotional value.

Once you’ve decided on your goals, you need to create a framework for it. What steps do you have to take to reach that goal?

Creating a step-by-step plan will help keep you on track and breaks the goal down into smaller, easier to handle chunks. This step-by-step plan should be tailored around inflection points, which means the plan provides clear instructions for what you should do when you reach the point of giving up on the goal.

This will help motivate you to continue when your willpower becomes exhausted, and it will.


Plan! Plan! Plan!

This is probably one of the easiest solutions to creating a less stressful environment, but it’s also one of the hardest to implement and the most overlooked.

If you’ve never planned anything in your life, it will be especially hard to begin a habit of planning your months, weeks and days.

But planning can relieve a lot of stress because anything you put down on your to do list is one less thing your brain has to remember.

Planning doesn’t have to be elaborate. You don’t have to create meal plans, or schedule your day down to the second.

It can be as simple as a daily to-do list. However, if you’re starting a business, you may want something a bit more detailed.

I have a blog planner that has various different pages for scheduling my daily blog posts as well as a to-do list for all of my blogging tasks.

It also contains my business plan along with all the things I need to do to help get the business off the ground.

A home management notebook can help get you organized and make planning a snap.
A home management notebook can help get you organized and make planning a snap. | Source

But, what you use as a planner doesn’t have to be elaborate either. It could be just a few post-it notes with things you need to do that day.

It can also be as complex as an entire home management notebook. The trick is to use what works for you.

A home management notebook does have its advantages:

  • You don’t have to worry about losing a post-it
  • You can keep the entire family’s schedule in one central place
  • Finances, work tasks, and homemaking tasks can all be kept together and be easily accessible to everyone in the family

  • Anything related to the home, such as insurance policies etc., will also be in one place and everyone will know where it is

Although a home management notebook works for me, it may not work for you. You could also just have a simple notebook with one master to do list in it. Use whatever appeals to you; just make sure you use it.

Focus on Priorities

Are you focusing on too much at one time? As moms we think we can do everything, and our “to do” lists are usually a mile long. But we don’t have to get everything done in one day. The trick is to focus on the most important tasks.

Personally, I choose the top three priorities that absolutely must get done that day. Once those things are done, the rest is icing on the cake.

When creating your goals, it’s helpful to prioritize them. That will make it easier to prioritize your monthly and daily tasks lists as well. Again, focus on the three goals that are most important to you and then plan your to-do list around them.

Create a set of family household rules.
Create a set of family household rules. | Source

Enlist the Help of Your Team

Families are teams. We all have to work together to make the household run smoothly.

Create household rules or a chore chart for everyone in the family, including you. This will help everyone visualize what the entire family is doing to help out and contribute to the team.

Make sure you delegate tasks as well. If you’re trying to work, but you know the dishes are piling up in the sink, you’re going to be distracted.

Ask a “team member” to do the dishes for you, so that you can concentrate on getting some work done. This goes for any of your chores or other tasks such as errands. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Set Business Hours and Stick to Them

If you were going to a job every day, you’d only be there for eight hours and then you’d come home and leave work at work (or try to anyway).

But for some reason, when we work from home, we tend to work 12 hours or longer. Unfortunately, this leaves very little time for relaxation or anything else.

Set business hours for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a typical eight hour block. It can be spread throughout the day and worked around your chores or the kid’s schedules. That’s what makes working from home so great - your schedule is pretty flexible.

But you also need to unplug from work. Once your scheduled work time is up, close the laptop and don’t think about work for the rest of the day. Your brain needs time to unwind.

A cluttered environment can be very stressful.
A cluttered environment can be very stressful. | Source
A decluttered environment can make all the difference.
A decluttered environment can make all the difference. | Source

Take a Look at Your Environment

Many of us don’t realize that our environments can contribute to our stress.

If your house is cluttered, you’re going to be in a state of constant stress because you feel guilty about not getting things organized.

Unfortunately, the only way to remedy this situation is to organize the clutter and get rid of those things that you’re not using or don’t want.

But, don’t try to take on the whole house in one day. It took you years to gather all of that clutter, what makes you think you can get rid of it in a day? Break this monstrous task into smaller ones.

Start with the one area that irritates or bothers you the most. Once you get this area cleaned up, you’ll feel a rush of motivation to keep going and that’s what it takes to get the job done.

Our brains work on a reward system. We’re motivated to do things that get us a reward. Clearing off your desk and making it an inviting place to get some work done feels good, and that’s rewarding.

Trying to take on work and all of the homemaking duties can become very stressful very quickly. Unfortunately, this can lead to feelings of resentment toward other members of the family.

Following these tips can help alleviate this stress and avoid those feelings of resentment. Remember, your family is your team. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’ll all be a lot less stressed and much happier if you do.

© Copyright 2012 -2014 by Daughter of Maat ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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    • Daughter Of Maat profile image

      Melissa Flagg COA OSC 2 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      Glad I could help Mary! Best of luck on your adventure!

    • MaryPeterPan profile image

      boots 2 years ago

      Thank you for these tips! I am planning to start working from home when my youngest child starts school in the fall and I am trying to research how to make the transition better.

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image

      Melissa Flagg COA OSC 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      I know what you mean. It's really tough getting started. But even as stressful as it is to get a successful venture up and running, it's still less stressful than to me than actually having a 9-5 job!

    • agapsikap profile image

      agapsikap 4 years ago from Philippines

      Hi! Daughter Of Maat, my first hub is somewhat relatively similar to 'Take a Look at Your Environment' part. Beginning is really the hardest part. I'm a beginner, and found out that being one of the WAHM is really stressful. In fact, I've never been that far from this journey when I had submitted a question 'What motivates you to enhance your creative hubs?' and the main reason is I can't get start anything. But looking at the brighter side makes me more eager to pursue now.

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image

      Melissa Flagg COA OSC 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      I've been so overwhelmed lately it's not even funny. And you're so right about the burn out. Once that happens you can't get anything done! I'm also a huge procrastinator, but I'm getting better at planning. I've found if I use really pretty planning pages, I actually WANT to use them and that makes me actually plan. It really does take a load off the brain!

    • Ddraigcoch profile image

      Emma 4 years ago from UK

      I regularly suffer from overload and burn out, then get hardly anything done at all.

      I am an awful planner, I procrastinate and am a naturally chaotic person.

      Kids are lucky I remember to go to school to collect them each day, haha.

      I love these tips and I really have taken some of the important ones on board.

      I really must keep an organizer diary so I don't HAVE to overload my brain.

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image

      Melissa Flagg COA OSC 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      Thanks Steph!! I think I've found that to be the hardest part myself, creating blocks of time and then unplugging when the time is up. Once you get into the swing of it (if you can) it really makes all the difference! Thanks so much for sharing!! :)

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      I agree with Bill - its tough to work at home. Summers and school breaks are particularly hard because its difficult to concentrate and/or create blocks of time to do work! Super tips in this hub. Rated up and sharing,


    • Daughter Of Maat profile image

      Melissa Flagg COA OSC 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      Thanks billybuc. I know exactly what you mean too. I've found it quite difficult recently!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Working at home is not nearly as easy as people want to believe. Good suggestions here my friend.