There’s no doubt that being a parent isn’t easy. It can be incredibly stressful at times. If you’re not carefully managing your stress levels, you could be putting your own health at risk. By taking a few moments every day to work on your coping skills, you can get the stress relief you need to be the best parent possible to your children. So how do you get there? Try these five tactics for dealing with parental stress to help you get back to enjoying those precious moments.
When your body is in a state of constant stress, it can take a toll on your health and emotional well-being. One way your body reacts to stress is through your breathing. Tension and stress cause your breathing to quicken, which deprives your body of the oxygen it needs to properly function. By learning to relax through deep breathing techniques, you can calm your body and improve your mental state. Take a few moments every day to sit still and inhale deeply through your nose, hold, and then exhale as long as you can through your mouth. Repeat this for at least a minute or two. This will help calm your entire body and mind.
Most parents feel they are too busy to exercise. Yet, without adequate physical activity, your body becomes low in energy and pent-up with emotion. You need to find a healthy outlet to relieve your frustrations and deal with your parental stress. Physical activity can bump up the production of your feel-good hormones, shed your tension, and significantly improve your mood. Try joining a yoga or fitness class twice a week to gain some relief.
Listening to relaxing, happy music can be one of the most enjoyable ways to reduce stress and strain. Studies have shown that music has a direct link to our emotions and can be a useful tool for coping with stress. Playing peaceful music like jazz or classical tunes can help to slow our pulse and heart rate, reduce blood pressure and decrease our stress-inducing hormones. So when the kids are driving you a little mad, take in twenty minutes of soothing music to bring you back to normal.
Prepare Your Day the Night Before
Stress often enters our lives when we’re feeling overwhelmed. And when you’re a parent, it’s hard not to feel this way on a daily basis. One way to combat these feelings is to prepare your day the night before. Plan out what needs to get done, make the lunches, set the table, get your briefcase ready, and arrange to get up a little earlier. Preparing for the morning will help cut that stress in half as soon as you wake up.
It’s easy to get lost in the craziness of everyday life and forget how lucky you are. Try taking a moment every morning to think about all the things you are grateful for. Do you have an incredibly loving partner? Healthy kids? Supportive parents? Whatever you’re happy about in your life, make sure you give it some thought to start off your day.
Parental stress affects every parent differently. Some people get headaches, others become irritable and moody, while many have difficulty sleeping and eating. If you feel you can’t gain control when dealing with your parental stress, just know you are not alone. There are many support groups, counsellors, and advocates you can turn to when you need help and support.