Spending most of the day running around, trying to get all your tasks done, can be overwhelming. Throw in the pressure of being the best parent, spouse, and team member, and you could feel like you're carrying an elephant on your back. All these micro-stressors can add up and impact your health in significant ways. It's essential to find solutions that allow you to handle them with grace and gratitude, so you can keep your stress levels down and live the life you love.
What are Micro-Stressors?
But what exactly qualifies as a microstressor?
Rob Cross, Jean Singer, and Karen Dillon published an article in Harvard Business Review in July 2020 about micro-stresses based on what they learned through extensive research over a decade.
They identified 12 micro-stresses arising directly from our interactions with others at work or home. They categorized these into three types:
Stress that reduces capacity.
Stress that reduces emotional reserves.
Stress that challenges personal values or identity.
The Impact of Micro-Stress on the Body
The term micro-stressor is an event that causes stress in one's life but isn't necessarily considered traumatic or life-threatening. These stressors occur from everyday moments that weigh us down, like having a Zoom meeting that goes longer than expected, getting cut off in traffic, or coming home to find someone has left the dishes in the sink and the dishwasher empty.
It's often the little things, in isolation, that don't feel as if they matter much, but if you combine them, they can have a powerful effect leading to symptoms of chronic stress:
isolation or emotional withdrawal
aches and pains
trouble staying focused
change in appetite
And the list goes on!
Three Solutions to Combat Micro-Stress as a Busy Mom
The effects of micro-stress on the body are detrimental to our health and wellbeing. To combat these stressors, it's crucial to have a plan in place. And as a busy person, maintaining a strong physical and emotional capacity is essential.
Here are three tips that can help you stay happy, healthy, and productive throughout your day.
#1 - Prioritize Sleep
Sleep is essential for the body to function correctly. We need rest to repair tissues, maintain a healthy metabolism, and regulate our mood. Sleep deprivation can lead to various health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and depression.
The effects of micro-stress on the body can lead to inadequate rest. And when micro-stressors wear down emotional reserves and capacity, rest becomes even more critical. Why? Because well-rested people have a better capacity for resilience in handling stress.
#2 - Try Adaptogenic Herbs
Adaptogenic herbs help the body deal with stress by balancing the hormonal response.
Finding an adaptogen that's right for you can be tricky, but some common ones work well for many people: Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, Cordyceps, and more. Many find that a blend of adaptogenic herbs works well, which can be found in supplements like Revvl Restore.
#3 - Reframe Your Perspective
The effects of micro-stress on the body can be lessened or eliminated by putting too much focus on the tedious details of everyday life. Whether its a snarky email, an unexpected obstacle, or the day just simply can’t stay “on track” with your expectations – these don’t have to hold you back from enjoying more of life.
When feeling overwhelmed, take a few deep breaths and ask yourself (honestly) what this annoying but minor detail is really triggering inside of you heart or mind. Once you identify the bigger insecurity or negative emotion, give yourself a new quote, truth, or bible verse to replace the original thought about yourself or others.
Reframing your thoughts quickly and simply can help you change your perspective and ultimately feel better, faster.
The Bottom Line
As the pace of life accelerates, the level and frequency of micro-stressors in our lives can take a toll on our wellbeing.
The following are three solutions to help busy people cope with their micro-stressors: Adaptogenic Herbs, Prioritizing Sleep (well-rested people have a better capacity for handling stress), and a reframed perspective.
As a person who does everything for their family, friends, and/or team – it’s important to feel your absolute best. What will you do to prioritize yourself today?
Resources & References:
Skills You Need: Understanding Micro-Stressors
CBC: Micro-stressors wreaking havoc on physical and mental health
JMIR Mental Health: Assessing Micro-Stressors in Adults