Stress is your body’s natural reaction to anxiety, pressure, and change. Many adoptive families get stressed as they wait to be chosen by a birth mother. Stress in lower amounts can help make life eventful and stimulating. However, if you have too much stress, it’s bad for you both mentally and physically. For the sake of your happiness and health, we encourage you to recognize and manage stress about your adoption wait. In this post, we share some signs of stress and tips for handling it.
Here are some signs that you’re too stressed:
- Upset stomach/indigestion
- Irritability and anger
- Loss of energy (and hope that you'll ever adopt)
- Overeating or skipping meals
- Panic attacks
- Oversleeping or having a difficult time sleeping
- Gritting or grinding teeth
- Feeling powerless over your adoption
- Unable to make decisions
These signs are your body’s reaction to poorly managed stress. If you’ve faced these signs, Lifetime Adoption wants to give you the tools you need to cope. Here are our 11 anti-stress tips to reduce stress during your adoption wait:
- Keep a positive attitude that you will adopt, and surround yourself with people who are also positive.
- Accept that you can’t control each detail about your adoption journey, and learn to be flexible.
- Each morning, write down your to-do’s and give yourself reasonable priorities. For example, you might tackle one page of your adoption profile per day, and one day focused on documents for your adoption home study.
- Practice healthy eating habits, with a diet full of fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains. Avoid sugar.
- Practice meditation or do an activity that’s soothing to you-for example, gardening, scrapbooking, playing with a pet, enjoying a good book.
- Get enough sleep each night – great way to catch enough zzz's it to exercise every day (and you can even listen to our adoption webinars while you work out!)
- Don't drink alcohol or smoke: they've been proven to add to depression and anxiety, and make stress more difficult to deal with.
- Share why you’re stressed with at least one close friend. Tell her your achievements and disappointments you’ve experienced in your adoption wait. Talk things out so that small grievances don’t build up. If you don’t have anyone who you feel comfortable with sharing, consider journaling.
- Look at things this way: any setbacks are simply more opportunities to learn.
- Breathe deeply using this exercise: take in a deep, slow breath through your nose as you count to 5. Hold your breath for 5 seconds. Then exhale through your mouth for 5 counts, as if you’re blowing out a birthday candle.
- Look for the humor in life: laugh and take the time to have fun.
AND, here's one more tip: hear from families who have struggled as they waited to be chosen by their child's birth mother, and how they dealt with it. You can do this by listing to webinars covering their adoption stories on AdoptionWebinar.com. Learn and watch their story and discover what they did to cope with the adoption wait.