7 Stress-Busting Tips for Parents
Parents rarely get a moment to breathe. With a laundry list of duties to tackle at work and home, the life of a parent is often highly stressful. And if you’re looking for ways to relieve that stress, you aren’t alone.
Parents tend to feel overworked, under-appreciated, and exhausted. Over time, if you don’t find a way to relax and relieve that stress, you’ll crack – and that isn’t healthy for anyone.
No matter what’s happening in your life, you likely need ways to de-stress and cope with all that you’re juggling. De-stressing is the best way to manage everything life throws at you.
Here are seven different ways you can stop stress, relieve your worries, and calm everything down when you’re feeling overwhelmed as a parent.
1. Count to 10
You likely count to 10 often for your kids – taking the time to count can get them to accomplish tasks and listen to you. But did you know counting to 10 just for yourself if a great, quick way to counter stress?
When you’re thrown a stressful curveball, are frustrated, or become overwhelmed, take 10 seconds to stop. Take a deep breath and count to 10 before you react. This will help you make a calmer, more rational choice or action.
And if you count to 10 slowly, taking deep breaths at each number, you’ll also lower your stress level. Deep breathing throughout the day does wonders for anyone who’s feeling life’s pressures. In fact, research has revealed that deep breathing can increase oxygen and decrease the stress hormones that cause anxiety.
2. Cut Back on Commitments
Often, the stress parents feel is the result of over-scheduling. If you’re spending every minute of every day following a schedule and shuttling your kids – or yourself – to different activities, you might just need a break. Sure, you want to coach your kids’ hockey team, pick up an extra project at work, hand-make your kids’ Halloween costumes, and run the parent-teacher council at school. But that’s just unachievable!
Juggling all of these commitments is simply too stressful. So, alleviate some of your stress by scaling down on commitments and cutting things out of your schedule. Focus on those things that are truly important to you, your kids, and your family.
Do you need to attend every after-school meeting? Does your child need to be involved in two sports simultaneously? Is there anything at all you can cut out of your schedule?If you can drop a commitment or two from your calendar, you’ll feel less stress.
3. Stay Off Social Media
One of the biggest sources of stress today is social media. While you’re browsing Facebook or Instagram, you’ll notice photo after photo of seemingly perfect parents who have it all together. Their picture-perfect lives can make it seem like you have absolutely nothing under control – and it can lead you to feel like you aren’t a great parent.
Throw out the ideal of being the perfect parent. It’s important to acknowledge reality: love and accept the fact that your house will be messy some days, the meals you make won’t look like something out of a magazine, and the perfect bonding experience for you and your kids may be a card game, not Disney World vacations.
While we live in a day and age where everything and every family is “perfect” on social media, this isn’t the case in reality. Self-love and acceptance around being perfectly imperfect will not only help you let go of the pressures and expectations you put on yourself as a parent, but it’ll also reflect onto your children. Life is messy, and you don’t need the added stress of social media.
4. Get More Sleep
Notice how bigger your problems feel on those weeks that you haven’t had adequate sleep? When you’re tired, you can’t think straight, work efficiently, or handle stress well.
You already know that sleep is important. But did you know that skipping out on sleep can leave you with more stress? Sleep helps decrease feelings of stress, as it allows time for your body to rest and restore itself. It’s recommended that adults get between seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
So, if this means going to bed when the kids do, parents should seriously consider it. Getting a full night of sleep can help you better manage stress day to day, and it’ll ensure you’re well-rested enough to tackle any problems or stressors.
5. Exercise Your Stress Away
Physical activity not only does a body good – it also does wonders for mental health and stress! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or like you need to get out of your own head for a bit, schedule a workout.
When you get moving via exercise, your body sends endorphin signals to your brain. Those endorphins help relieve the tension stress can bring, ultimately relaxing your muscles. And every time you workout, you’ll get that same influx of endorphins to soothe your feelings of stress.
A regular fitness routine doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym or marathon training; you can exercise by walking with your kids, heading to the local pool for a swim, or doing yoga in your living room. Exercising on your own can be an excellent de-stresser, particularly if you need some time to yourself. But you can also combine exercise and your family if you choose an activity everyone can get moving during together.
6. Find A Support System
Parenting is one of the hardest jobs out there. But parenting isn’t your only job – you’re dealing with an awful lot on your plate if you’re working and trying to balance your home life. And sometimes, the best way to soothe your stress is to find someone who knows exactly what you’re going through.
Finding a support system of fellow parents who you can talk to when things get tough offers you a sounding board. This group – or an individual person – can be your go-to when you’ve reached your limit, need advice, and or just want friendship.
Being able to discuss your experiences and feelings with another adult who understands them can help you blow off a lot of stress. You can commiserate, bounce ideas and advice off each other, and even rely on one another for support.
7. Schedule Some Alone Time
While your life is centered around your kids, parents need lives too. And it’s important to step away for some alone time every so often. Whether you spend an hour at the gym, take a walk alone for some fresh air, have coffee with a friend, attend a book club, or participate in your favorite hobby, your alone time can be used to destress. With no kids to worry about and no responsibilities on your plate, you’ll have down time, be able to decompress, and can even gain new perspective.
The point is, scheduling alone time that’s devoted to doing something you love is beneficial in helping you cope with stress. And it’s also good for your kids and spouse. Alone time can center you; it allows you to take your mind off things, even for a little while. It creates some much-needed time away from the life’s craziness. You’ll look forward to the time away, and it’s good for your children to have some downtime without mom or dad, as well!