What Have I Gotten Myself Into? Managing Parenting Stress

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mom holder her head while child jumps on the couch behind her

Parenting is more than a full-time job. It’s all day, every day, and some days it feels like too much. Try these tips to RECLAIM your world and manage parenting stress:

  • Rest, re-charge, relax.

Managing parenting stress—or any stress—is all about having the right tools. Take time to re-charge by getting a good night’s sleep. And remember to breathe. Take some nice deep breaths in and let all the air out when you exhale. Breathing lowers your heart rate and helps your body to relax—even when you’re on the go.

  • Exercise regularly and eat well.

Exercise is a great way to manage stress, even if you only have 10 minutes! Nourishing your body with healthy foods can give you the energy you need to deal with parenting stress. Starting with a meal plan can make this a reality that works for you.

  • Choose your battles.

If your home has started to feel like a war zone, it may be helpful to take a step back and look at what all of the fighting is for. Figure out what’s most important (e.g., your child getting his or her homework done) and what you can let slide (e.g., your 4 year old wearing super hero pajamas to the grocery store).

  • Learn to say “no.”

You are one person. There are only 24 hours in your day. Saying “yes” to everything takes time away from your family and adds to your stress. Say “no” every once in awhile—you might find that you like it!

  • Accept (and ask for) help from others.

Did the grandparents or one of your kid-free friends mention that they’d be happy to babysit one night? Take them up on the offer! Plan a fun night out with your partner, friends, or yourself. If no one 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 time out. 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 be the mom you want to be.

  • Make time for family fun.

If you’ve been taking the kids to and from a dozen different activities, running errands like a headless chicken, or trying to tackle mountains of laundry and other chores, weeks can go by without really being with your family. Go for a bike ride, take a picnic to a nearby park, or plan a family game night.

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