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Parenting can be one of the most rewarding experiences, but it can also be very challenging and stressful. It seems like there are new challenges to face and problems to solve every day. It’s essential to have strategies to help us cope with daily stress and frustration as parents. Keep reading to learn some tools for coping with stress as a parent.
How does chronic stress affect your mental health?
When you are constantly stressed out, it can take a toll on your mental health. Chronic stress can lead to anxiety and depression and make these conditions worse. Everything is connected, and your physical health and well-being are also affected. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health suggests that long-term stress may contribute to digestive disorders and sleep habits. Blood pressure changes, headaches, and asthma are also affected by parenting stress.
How does parental stress affect children?
Kids are very intuitive, and they can sense when their parents are stressed out. Children of stressed-out parents often have problems sleeping, eating, and concentrating in school. They may also have trouble regulating their emotions and be more irritable than other children or perhaps exhibit child behavior problems. It is crucial to find ways to manage your stress so that it doesn’t affect your children in this way.
Identify the sources of stress in your life.
It’s vital to determine what’s causing you the majority of your stress as a parent. What are the triggers? For example, is it handling the daily life of a working parent and that there are so many tasks to handle? Or, is it something specific like making daily lunches, dealing with a pet, asking your kids a million times to brush their teeth? Is it something big or something small?
Once you identify the sources of stress in your life, it will be easier to develop mechanisms for coping with stress because you can then start to problem solve how to fix things. For example, for years, mornings were “hell” in my family. Between getting us all up, getting ready, making lunches, you name it. I always felt rushed and stressed.
One day, my husband suggested getting the kids up earlier to start our day or having them make their own lunches at night (or at least a portion of them). At first, I was annoyed with the suggestion, but I realized he was right. I can reduce my stress by problem-solving the things within my control, adding to the pressure in my everyday life.
Manage stress with a healthy lifestyle.
One of the best ways to manage stress is living a healthy lifestyle. This includes having a nutritious diet, getting enough exercise and physical activity, and getting adequate sleep. When you’re taking care of your body in this way, it will be easier to manage your stress levels. Here are some easy stress management techniques:
Exercise as a form of stress management
One of the best things to relieve stress is getting up and moving. Exercise releases endorphins which will help make you feel better. It’s also a great way to blow off some steam. Whether you go for a walk, run, or hit the gym, just make sure to move your body!
Yoga to help your mental health
Yoga is another excellent way to relax and de-stress. The poses help stretch out tight muscles, and the deep-breathing exercises can help calm your mind. There are also classes available that focus specifically on coping with stress.
Meditation to relieve parental stress
Meditation is a great way to focus and clear your mind. When you meditate, you learn how to control and focus your thoughts. This can be helpful in stressful situations. There are many different types of meditation, so find one that works best for you.
Mindfulness to reduce stress levels
Practicing mindfulness is similar to meditation. It’s about being present in the moment and focusing on what’s happening right now. When you’re mindful, you’re less likely to let stress affect you negatively.
Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential for coping with stress. Most adults need around eight hours of sleep per night. When you’re well-rested, it’s easier to deal with parental stress.
Manage your time better to reduce unnecessary stress.
Another way to reduce stress is by managing your time better. Ideas include creating a schedule and sticking to it, saying no when needed, and learning how to delegate tasks.
Create a schedule
Having a set routine can help reduce the amount of stress in your life. Planning everything out helps you see what needs completing, and there’s less chance for surprises. Try to create a schedule that works for your family and stick to it as best as possible.
There will be times when you simply don’t have the time or energy to do something. In these cases, it’s ok to say no. You don’t need to feel guilty about it!
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be helpful to delegate some tasks to other family members or friends. Delegating helps take some of the pressure off of you.
Connect with others as a form of stress management.
Another great way to manage stress is by connecting with others, like friends, family, or a support group. Coping with stress will be easier when you have people to talk to and lean on.
Talk to friends and family
Talking about your problems is often the first step in coping with them. Talk to your friends and family members about what’s going on in your life. They may offer some helpful advice or just listen if that’s what you need.
Join a support group
Friends and family are great for coping with stress, but sometimes it’s helpful to talk to people who have been in your shoes before. Joining a group is a great way to connect with others going through the same thing as you. There are many support groups available that focus on different topics.
Host a playdate
Playdates are a fun way to manage stress. Get together with another mom and her kids for a day of playing, laughing, and just having fun. It’s a great way to escape from your problems for a little while.
Helping others is a great way to reduce stress. Many organizations need help, so find one that speaks to you and get involved. You can volunteer on your own or with your kids.
Stress management in the moment.
There are also ways to relieve stress in the moment. These techniques include deep breathing, listening to music, and exercise.
When you’re feeling stressed, try deep breathing exercises. They can help to clear your mind and relax your body.
Listen to music
Listening to calming music can be a great way to reduce stress. It’s a simple way to create a calm environment when you need it most.
Make time for fun and relaxation.
It’s important to model for your family that life is about having fun and enjoying each other. It’s also necessary to make sure your bucket is full before you can fill others’ buckets. Plan something fun with your whole fam or with just your partner, or carve time out to relax and make it a point to include your kids in the plan. Trust me, seeing mom or dad take time to relax will help kids create those moments for themselves and teach them essential skills for coping with stress.
Truly living is about being present in the moment and being grateful for what’s around us. Having fun and relaxing should not be an afterthought. Brainstorm a list of things your family could do together for fun.
Finally, remember to take care of yourself. Parenting is hard work, and it’s easy to let your own needs fall by the wayside. Make sure you schedule some time for yourself each week, even if it’s just an hour or two. Use that time to do something you enjoy – read a book, go for a walk, watch your favorite movie. And when things get tough, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends or family members. You are not in this parenting gig alone!
Most importantly, model coping skills for your kids. They will learn how to cope with stress in their own lives by watching you. Let them see you taking breaks, seeking support when needed, and bouncing back after a difficult day.
Looking for a support network? Join our Local Anchor Facebook group to meet other parents just like you.