RECLAIM Your Cool: Manage Parenting Stress
Monday, August 19, 2013
Being a parent is more than a full-time job. It takes all-day, everyday commitment. Some days, it may feel like just too much.
When parenting has you stressed out, try these tips to RECLAIM your calm:
Rest, recharge, relax
Getting enough sleep is important for recharging your parenting “batteries.” When you’re awake, how you breathe helps you keep your cool. Take deep breaths in and let all the air out when you exhale. Deep breathing may lower your heart rate and help your body relax, even on your most hectic days.
Exercise regularly and eat well
Exercise is a great way to manage stress, even if you only have 10 minutes at a time. Eating healthy foods can give you the energy you need to deal with parenting stress. A weekly meal plan you can live with can help you work good-for-you foods into your family menu.
Choose your battles
If home sometimes feels like a war zone, try to step back and take a look at what all the fighting is about. Figure out what’s most important to you and what you can let slide. Getting your children to do their homework: let the battle begin. Your 4-year-old wearing super hero PJs to the grocery store: not so much!
Learn to say “no”
There are only 24 hours in a day and you can only do so much. Saying “yes” to everything everybody asks you to do may take time away from your family and add to your stress. Say “no” every once in a while.
Accept (and ask for) help from others
If a grandparent or friend mentions that they’d be happy to babysit for a few hours, take them up on the offer. Plan a fun time out with your partner, friends, or all by yourself. If nobody has volunteered to help, don’t be afraid to ask. If you don’t ask, people don’t know what you need.
Invest in yourself
If you’ve been taking care of everyone but yourself, give yourself a break. Whether it’s taking a warm bath, setting up a regular girls’ night out (or in) with friends, or taking 20 minutes for a walk around your neighborhood, investing in yourself is a good way to relieve stress.
Make time for family fun
Between your job, tackling piles of laundry, and the many other things you do, weeks may go by without you really having fun with your family. Go for a bike ride, have a picnic at a nearby park, or plan a family game night to break the routine.