As a parent, you may feel the pressure to do a million things at once. Often times, every one of those things can easily come before your own self-care. I know it’s easier said than done, but be sure to try to take care of yourself too! Remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup. When you are in a healthy state of mind, you are best prepared to take on the day and all of the responsibilities that come with being a caregiver.
Think About It…
When you’re stressed you can’t empathize; your mind is focused on you!
You can’t prioritize because every task is overwhelming.You can’t organize because, let’s face it, everything is misplaced or you can’t focus.
You can’t manage time; you’re probably running late as it is.
You can’t control yourself because when you’re stressed, you don’t respond. You react.
We’ve learned about stress, where it comes from, and looked at some things that cause us and our children to feel it. We know some ways to help our children manage their stress, but how can we help ourselves do that same thing?
You are your child’s role model. They are watching how you handle your stress to learn how to handle their own. Because of this, it’s important to be mindful to make sure you’re managing it in a healthy way.
Combating and Managing Stress
Stay in control. Feeling “out of control” can cause a lot of stress. Set small, achievable goals for yourself that give you a sense of daily accomplishment. Make the dinner menu for the week and don’t allow substitutions or make your own schedule. Remember, you call the shots. If you are in control of the things you’re doing, they are less likely to stress you out!
Learn to say NO! Putting more on your plate may cause more damage than good. Learn your limits and stick to them! Having boundaries and knowing when to say no can really help to keep your stress levels lower.
Keep an optimistic attitude. It’s been proven that those with optimistic outlooks feel lower levels of stress. Are you staying hopeful in tough situations? Does the glass look half empty or half full? It’s ok to feel stressed, but stay positive that the feeling will go away!
Nurture your social supports. One of the best ways to combat your stress is through supportive relationships. Social supports are those you share a deep connection with. These can be your parents, significant other, friends, other caregivers, or even your pet.
Develop a routine. Being intentional about the way you spend your time is a good way to stay on track and stay grounded. A routine isn’t only beneficial for you, but children also benefit from a daily routine to follow. What time is dinner? When is homework time and bedtime? Who packs lunches for school?
Stress Reducing Activities
Sometimes it’s too late and the stress has hit you. That’s ok! Acknowledge the feeling and do something about it! Below are a few activities you can try when you just need to calm down and center yourself.
- Take deep calming breaths
- Walk or exercise
- Talk about it
- Take a nap or go to bed at a decent time
- Do something artistic- paint, draw, dance it out!
Stop and breathe! Take a break from your children or schedule if that’s what you need. Grown-ups need time outs too. Take the time upfront to address what you’re feeling. That way when your child needs you or if something comes up, you are ready to tackle it
- Parenting Stress: 10 evidence-based tips for making life better
- Mindful Meditation
- Downloadable Toolkit on Stress Management