A dose of useful advice for how to manage stress as a parent.
You matter. Of course you do. But somewhere in the course of parenting, self-care for moms and dads (especially moms) is often forgotten.
Here’s the deal: You are the foundation of your family. If the foundation is not sturdy, how will you support your family’s needs?
Many of us experience stress when we look at our to-do lists: taking care of children; household chores; feeding the family; work demands; paying bills; taking care of the car or the yard or the family pet.
Facing all these daily pressures, it’s easy to ignore our own needs. But if we don’t learn how to cope with stress and the daily challenges of life, we can’t take good care of our children, either. Here’s some strategies you can use.
Stress management tips for parents
Make peace with those exercise to-do’s by doing what is right for you on any given day. Some people are not a fan of gyms. Others love them, and that’s great. But something as simple as walking outdoors, even in winter, will get you moving. Each day, consider when you can fit in a walk. Some days it’s a walk in the neighborhood with your kids, other times it’s a 45-minute hike in the park. Sometimes it means simply walking around the block. If you work outside the home, can you walk or go to the gym during your lunch hour? Exercise is not just about keeping the number on the scale down but it’s also about mental health.
Try to start your day with morning yoga, meditation — or if something’s bugging you, write in your journal. Often, stress can be helped by writing down the problem you are facing. A brief morning exercise or mindful act such as yoga or meditation often total just 10 minutes. If nothing else, at least you’ve stretched. At least you’ve gotten quiet. It’s better than nothing. If you don’t make time to be alone and still, you will undoubtedly become stressed and more vulnerable to the chaos of the world. Others find peace as part of a spiritual community. There’s something to be said for a steaming hot tub soak. And a good book. Or a pedicure.
And then there’s what we put into our bodies. I once heard a speaker say: “You are what you eat. And some of you are jelly doughnuts.” Ha. What you got by with in your 20s doesn’t work in your 50s. It will catch up — in an abundance or a lack of energy; in how we look; and especially in how we feel. Food is fuel. Keep the engine running with an optimum grade.
Rest, relaxation, recreation
We often fail to realize that these three Rs are crucial. How we accomplish all three (other than a good night’s sleep) varies from person to person. You need recreation time.
Do you have a friends who gather for fun? What about a friend with whom you’ve not spoken in a long time?
Overall, how well are these areas represented in your life? What can you do better to support yourself, and thus your family? . It takes daily discipline to be your best self and the best parent you can be.
Every day, ask yourself: How are you nurturing yourself?
Creating new habits now, will create a better life of wellness.