If you're like some of my clients, you may be feeling fear, doubt and worry in these uncertain economic times. And if you're a parent, your stress and anxiety may be compounded by the very real need to provide for your family.

So, what can you do about it?

A great place to start is by putting yourself on the top of your to-do list. You may find that by spending a little bit of time and energy focusing on yourself, you're in turn better positioned to manage the stress and anxiety of these uncertain times. Conversely, if you're not taking care of yourself, you may notice that it's difficult to be fully engaged and present at work and at home and that you spend a lot of time worrying about how today's troubling headlines will impact your personal finances, plans and dreams. You may feel worn down and exhausted and your communication skills, relationships, and ability to solve problems may suffer as a result.

What does it mean to put yourself on the top of your to-do list?

Putting yourself first starts with basic self-care such as getting enough sleep (that means going to bed a little early or squeezing a little extra babysitting time so you can nap); eating regularly; exercising a little bit every day (whether it's taking the stairs at work or walking with your child to the playground); and whatever daily practice (journaling, singing, meditation, music, prayer, yoga, etc.) energizes you, renews you and quiets the fear, doubt and worry swimming around in your head.

In times like these, it may also be helpful to gain awareness around what's your job versus what's out of your control. A simple way to do this is to take a piece of paper and on one side, write down everything that is your job right now. On the other side, write down everything that is out of your control right now.

For example, your job may include self-care, caring for your family and household duties. Your job may also be to notice negativity-which tends to be contagious. If you notice that certain friends or family members regularly complain about the doom and gloom of the recession, perhaps it's your job to identify the people and situations that offer you more positive perspectives. Or, if you find that the sensationalism in mainstream media is playing into your own fears about the economy, your job may be to find an alternate news source that gives you a more accurate report of what's really going on, without the scare tactics (perhaps public news outlets, for example).

What else is your job? Take a few minutes to write down everything that comes to mind.

Once you've finished writing down everything that is your job right now, turn your paper over and think about what is out of your control right now. For example, the stock market, the housing market, the job market, and what other people do or say is all out of your control. After you've done your part of following-up on a job lead or with a potential client, whether or not they get back in touch with you is also out of your control. Your kids coming down with a bug; your boss' bad mood, or your car breaking down are all out of your control. You get the idea.

What else is out of your control? Take another few minutes to write down everything that comes to mind.

After you've written down what's your job versus what's out of your control, you will have very good awareness around the difference between the two. Then, you can actively choose to spend more time and energy focused on what is truly your job (which tends to be related to positive actions). In turn, you may find that you end up paying less attention to and let go a little bit of that which is out of your control (which tends to be related to negative thoughts). In addition, think of all the energy you'll free up by choosing to focus on positive actions instead of negative thoughts.

There is no doubt that these are tough times. However, instead of completely succumbing to the fear, doubt and worry, I challenge you to build your awareness and shift your perspective just a little bit. You may be surprised at what you find.

Author's Bio: 

Amber Rosenberg is a professional life coach who helps high-achieving working mothers manage guilt and stress and re-define success on their own terms. A working mother herself, she spent 12 years struggling to create her own balance in the Fortune 500 world and is passionate about helping women actively choose how they want to spend their time.

A popular speaker and frequently interviewed for national print, TV and radio media outlets, Amber co-authored the book Inspiration to Realization with a chapter on "How to Manage Your Love/Hate Relationship with Time". To sign-up for a complimentary coaching consultation, order a signed copy of her book or sign-up for the Working Mothers' FREE monthly e-zine, go to workingmotherscoach.com.