Secrets to Less Stress for Parents
While modern life comes with many conveniences (computers! automobiles! cell phones!), it also comes with many frustrations (traffic! interruptions! busy, busy, busy!). Finding work/life balance is a hot topic for anyone, but particularly so for parents. How do you take care of yourself, your partner, and your children, without getting stressed out? (And then projecting that stress onto them, which can lead to a stress spiral! A stress-capade? A stress-fest?) While there”s no magic pill to completely remove stress from life, we can offer parents a couple of the top, proven secrets to feeling less stressed.
Have a Network – In Real Life!If parenting is a wrestling match, we all occasionally need to tap out and let the other team member hop in the ring. There”s no shame in needing a break. In fact, we as human beings are social creatures – even the most introverted among us need friends! So make a connection of friends. It can be a small group book club, an occasional one-on-one lunch date or a parent jogging group – whatever works for you. Group gatherings where kids are invited are also helpful, so you can socialize and share the burden of the child care at the same time! Beyond just having an outlet for your social time and hobbies (outside of a structured work day), set up a resource or two that will give you a break from the kid (or kiddos). A grandma-like neighbor, a family member, or another parent who will childcare swap are 3 potential resources for your relief network.
Be Okay with Progress – Not Perfection!So much out there about parenting is harsh – you”re doing this wrong, now you”re doing that wrong! Avoid the wrongs! Here are a few ways:
- Turn off the news (at least take cleansing breaks for a week or two)
- Tune out the negative people in your life (give yourself some space from that!)
- Take a win when something goes well (bedtime success! bathtime success! homework done! whatever!)
Take Care of Yourself – Your Own Mask First!Every flight on every airline reminds you to “secure your own mask before securing that of others.” Yet so often as parents we put everyone else”s needs first. Here”s a little reminder to take care of yourself first (at least progress in that direction, even if you”re not perfect at self-care!). Try these basics:
- Go to bed as early as you can
- Get exercise, even if just to walk the dog
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day
- Eat foods that make you feel good, not just ones that taste good
- Supplement with additional nutrition.