6 Ways to Ease Some Stress as a ParentAugust 10, 2021
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wouldn’t agree that parenting is one of the most stressful jobs in the world. While all jobs come with their set of responsibilities, most do not come with the requirement of raising another person. That creates a lot of pressure to get everything right!
From making good nutrition choices to ensuring kids’ online safety to keeping them happy, raising children is no easy task. To ease the burden, we’ve come up with a list of ways to help you feel less stressed.
1. Keep Work Stress at Work
While it’s definitely easier said than done, one way to ease some parental stress is to not combine it with work stress. Keeping your work life separate from your home life can help reduce stress in both. You won’t be bringing the anxieties you had during the day home, which will help you feel calmer overall.
To assist with this, try to find a family member, friend, or even co-worker you can chat with before you get home for the day. Having some time to vent or just talk through your workday will help you feel calmer.
If you’re not working from home, your evening commute can also offer some relief. Listen to music that makes you happy, take deep breaths, and find some moments of zen. It’s a small but beneficial way to reduce the external pressures you may be feeling.
2. Lighten Your Load
Being a parent is a full-time job. There are rarely, if ever, vacations or holidays that can take you away for a while. Consequently, there may be days when it feels incredibly challenging and stressful. To relieve those feelings, look for ways to get things off your plate. This isn’t about taking an easy out, but rather looking for ways you can work smarter, not harder.
Maybe you’re in charge of snacks for your kid’s soccer team this week. Instead of taking it on all by yourself, get the whole family to help. Filling bags with snack mix can be a good family activity and will reduce your overall workload. Or perhaps it’s time to get your kid their first phone. Instead of stressing about how you’re going to monitor their usage, get them a safe phone for kids that’s designed to do that for you.
Look for these burden-sharing opportunities in whatever you do as a parent, and your load will definitely feel lighter.
3. Ask for Outside Help When You Need It
If you’re already maximizing your parenting bandwidth, it may be time to ask for outside help. The thought of that can add to an already large pile of stress, but it shouldn’t. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. No one can go it alone all the time.
Use meal kits to get dinner on the table. Enlist a neighborhood teenager to take on lawn-mowing duties. Hire a cleaning service — even if only once a month — to get some relief from routine chores. The less time you spend tending to home and yard, the more time you’ll have for actual parenting.
If you’re a single parent, lean on your support system when you need to. That is what friends and extended family are there for. Resist the temptation to be a super-parent, and you and your kids will reap the benefits.
4. Trust Your Own Instincts
Sometimes, the pressure you feel isn’t external, but internal. It pops up in moments of uncertainty about making the right decisions for your kids and family. That stress is no joke. Raising children is a hard job and one that all parents worry about messing up.
Wanna know a secret, though? Most kids turn out just fine. So don’t be so hard on yourself and trust that you’ll know to make the right call. This may take a while to perfect. However, once you’re able to give yourself some leeway, you’ll feel a lot better.
Start by reminding yourself that everyone makes mistakes. There’s never been a “perfect” parent. Then think about the parenting moments you’ve really nailed. Are you an expert at bedtime? The best at back-to-school shopping? Savor those victories and let the confidence you feel in those moments permeate your parenting.
5. Give Yourself More Time
One way you can help yourself is by allowing more time for things. We know, that sounds like advice someone who has never parented before would give. However, it can be legitimately helpful. It’s no secret that people often underestimate the time it will take to complete tasks. That means they’re behind before they even get started.
Kids, in particular, are unpredictable beings. Some days, they can get ready for school in 10 minutes. Other days, it could take an hour. Prepare yourself and them for that possibility by allowing a little more time to get through daily routines. Not only will your stress be relieved, but your kids will feel the benefits, too.
6. Take Time for Yourself
Speaking of time, don’t be afraid to take some for yourself. While you can’t ever really stop being a parent, you can find moments that are just for you. If you’re so busy that you’ve given up things that relax you or make you happy, it’s no wonder that you’re stressed. Securing a few moments to do something you enjoy will help a lot.
Even a small step away from your daily grind can be beneficial. Take an extra luxurious bath or shower, set aside some time to read, or have a dance party in the living room. Do whatever brings you joy and lets you escape your responsibilities for a bit. You’ll come back recharged and ready for whatever’s next.
Parenting is a difficult vocation and, understandably, comes with a fair amount of stress. When you’re really feeling it, your initial impulse may be to try to power through. After all, there’s often pressure to always be “on” or to be super-parent. However, it’s OK to admit to needing relief.
Pick a few of these stress-relieving strategies to try at a time. You should be back to your best self soon.