Parenting in Times of Stress
Stress is a part of life. For most of us, it’s something that ebbs and flows, heightened at some times and practically nonexistent at others. Whether because of events in your personal or professional life, anxiety about the future, or world events beyond your control, you will feel stress from time to time.
While we’d all like to eliminate stress from our lives, a more realistic approach may be to learn to cope well with it when it comes.
As parents, managing stress in a healthy and positive way is important both in terms of our ability to carry out our roles as parents and in terms of the example we set for our children, along with the amount of stress we inject into their lives.
Here are some easy tricks to try the next time you sense your stress level rising.
Take Deep Breaths
Stop what you’re doing. Be still. Take a number of deep, slow breaths. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
Take out an old-fashioned pen and an old-fashioned piece of paper and make a list of things you’re grateful for.
Renegotiate Your Calendar
If being overwhelmed is contributing to your stress, renegotiate some of your upcoming appointments. Relieve the pressure, one rescheduled (or cancelled) event at a time.
Reduce News Consumption
There are very few people who need to be constantly up-to-date on world events. Turn away from the news cycle for a few days and see if your anxiety is lessened as a result.
Slowly Eat Whole Foods
Take time to sit down and experience your meals, chewing your food slowly, tasting the flavors, and savoring each bite. Reduce the amount of processed foods you eat in favor of whole, natural foods that nurture your body.
Laugh at Yourself
No, really. Go to the mirror and start laughing. Keep going. You’re hilarious and you’re reducing the stress hormones in your body as you crack yourself up.
Go for a Walk Outside
Get out into nature and simply walk. Look around (not at your phone), take in your surroundings, and enjoy moving your body and breathing fresh air.
Whether a drawer, a closet, or a room, reducing clutter and cleaning your space can have a surprisingly positive effect on your stress level.
Play With Your Children
Set aside your to-do list and play with your children. Allow them to remind you how to enjoy the present moment. Be silly, laugh, and have fun.
Play Calming Music
Music can have a significant impact on your mood and stress levels. Choose something calming. My favorite? Go classical with some Mozart or Bach.
Meditation can have a powerful effect on your stress level. Find a practice that works for you.
Get Enough Quality Sleep
Sleep is important. Allow enough time in your evening to unwind, calm down, and get to sleep. Don’t drink caffeine late in the day. Gradually dim unnatural lights in your home. Plug in your digital devices anywhere but in your bedroom. Crack open your window for some fresh air while you sleep. And, of course, schedule your days to ensure you get enough sleep each night.