Handling the Stresses of Parenting

Balancing work, school, friends, and fun can be hard. Being a parent can make life even more stressful. There are ways you can manage this stress and stay smokefree.

Keep Daily Challenges Under Control

Becoming a new parent or caring for your growing child is stressful. Some days it might seem there is too much to handle, and you might want to smoke to help you relax. Stress and bad moods are common smoking triggers—especially for women. While some stress is normal, too much of it impacts your chances of staying smokefree. There are ways to handle and reduce parenting stress. 

Try these tips to RECLAIM your calm:

  • Rest, recharge, relax. Getting enough sleep is important for recharging your parenting “batteries.” When you’re awake, take short breaks to calm your breathing—it can help you keep your cool. Take a deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds, and then let all the air out. This can lower your heart rate and help your body relax, even on your craziest 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 help you feel good and keep up with your children. Making a weekly meal plan with recipes that are simple to prepare can help you work good-for-you foods into your family menu.
  • Choose your battles. If home begins to feel like a war zone, take a step back. Figure out what issues are most important to you and what you can let slide. Getting your children to do their homework—it’s OK to battle. Your four-year-old wearing superhero PJs to the grocery store—let this one go.
  • Learn to say “no.” There are only 24 hours in a day and you can only do so much. Saying “yes” to everything may take time away from your family and add to your stress. It’s OK to say “no” every once in a while.
  • Accept (and ask for) help from others. If a family member 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 just yourself. If nobody has offered to help, you can 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 night out (or in) with friends, or taking 20 minutes for a walk around the neighborhood, self-care is a good way to relieve stress.
  • Make time for family fun. Between work, 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.

Even though smoking might seem like a good way to de-stress or relax, it actually has the opposite effect on your body. Smoking increases your heart rate and blood pressure. And when the cigarette is gone, all your other stressors will still be there.