Up until recently, I have been a very low stress guy. I never worried about anything. However, my new job (as a grants coordinator for a large non-profit) is deadline driven and there have been several unexpected/unforeseeable bumps along the way that have me looking over my shoulder constantly. Add to that my wife being pregnant, with twins, and having lots of complications, and now I feel like I'm about to have a heart-attack.
I know these stress levels are problematic. I can't sleep, I feel like I have a knot in my stomach 24/7, I have difficulty focusing on stuff. What I don't know is what I can do about it. The pregnancy stuff will resolve itself in ~5-8 weeks (but then I'll have two infants to contend with). The job stuff will be scary for some time to come--it will get better once I have a chance to rework things, but for now there is nothing I can do to change it.
How do I lower my stress levels/kick this crappy fight-or-flight feeling?
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn would really be helpful, I think. Lots of research on it too. There are classes so you can learn it and then practice at home of course but you can also buy his book which includes a CD which is easy to follow and learn at home. GOOD STUFF I know you are not complaining of depression so you may have to ignore the title of the book which has depression" in it. The information and the CD are super good. Good luck with your family.
I am a single mother of twins and a PhD student, so I understand the stress you are feeling. Has your wife connected with a twins group or mothers of multiples group in your area? If not, I highly recommend it. Most groups have special outreach coordinators who are available to help you think through planning, to visit women on bedrest and to offer their support in numerous ways. It helps to talk to other families who have been in similar situations, especially when they produce pictures of their three-year-old twins who are beautiful and developing normally despite 6 weeks in NICU or a mom who was on hospital bedrest for two months. I know nothing will fully relieve the stress until you know the babies and your wife are safe, but it can help.
My first two years with the twins were crazy stressful and I had to make a lot of changes, including slowing down the pace of my degree and giving up many other activities that were important to me. They will be four soon and I'm still fighting stress, but it has gotten a lot better now that I give myself plenty of time for meditation and yoga. I wouldn't change things, but parenthood is a difficult and stressful adjustment, especially with twins. If you have the money, I highly recommend hiring someone to help out the first 3-6 months (or year . . .), even a teen who could come over in the evenings and just do whatever needed doing with the babies or the house (this is in addition to whatever child care arrangements you make). You might also hire a professional to help with the housework. Taking care of twin infants is a full-time job for two people! Since you already know your work will be challenging and stressful, do what you can to make your home life and first year with the twins as enjoyable as possible.
Take care and good luck.
I have a relatively high stress job, though admittedly no kids. The deadlines and pressure are pretty constant and, given the need to pay a mortgage, there isn't much to be done in terms of fixing the situation. I have found the most benefit to be derived from acceptance. Once you come to terms with the constant pressure and realize you'll never catch up or truly be on top of things, the extent to which you emotionally internalize it is reduced. Your world doesn't change, but your reaction to it does. I'm not sure if this helps.
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