As a parent, you have so many responsibilities and they often clash. Your child wants one thing while your partner expects another. You also have other commitments like caring for the house or work… so yes it’s hard with all of these responsibilities on your shoulders.
Raising a family is often one of life’s most rewarding experiences. It’s magical and brings us happiness in so many ways, yet it can sometimes be tough, stress-filled and overwhelming.
If you feel like all your daily tasks are weighing on you, remember that there is help out there. Take a deep breath and reach out.
Consider these 7 ways to help you to deal with parental stress
1. Focus on what you can control
When things don’t go our way we can feel powerless and stressed out. One of the most important life lessons is learning to divert your focus on what you can control.
For instance, there will be moments when your children don’t behave the way you would like. Remember that you can’t always control how they behave, but instead, consider the example that you set for them and how you react to their behaviour.
2. Prioritise quality family time
Life is busy and there are never enough hours in the day. With work and life admin some time does inevitably need to be spent away from your family. This is where we can prioritise quality family time to make the most of the time that we do have.
This could look like this:
- Sharing a story at bedtime.
- Going for a walk together.
- Playing games or taking part in sports with your children.
- Teaching them new skills, like how to make pizza or bake a cake.
3. Remember the power of your breath
Breathe. When you feel stressed, take a deep breath in and then exhale. Breathing has been discovered to have various benefits, including increased oxygen to the brain that invokes a sense of calmness.
Deep breaths are a quick way to create inner peace and understanding anytime you need them. They offer a break from the issues happening around you and can help you focus back on yourself.
4. Optimise time with your family
Make sure to prioritise doing chores earlier in the day so that there’s more time for quality family time at the end of the day. Whilst it might seem like there are never enough hours in a day, if you plan things carefully and make small changes, big improvements can be made.
- Support is a good thing. If you find that you are feeling overwhelmed or need help, then turn to your partner/family/friend and see if they can provide some form of support. The help might simply be as easy as someone listening to what’s on your mind or taking care of the kids for an afternoon.
- Think about the priorities in your life. If quality time with your children is most important to you, think about whether or not you treat it as a priority.
- It’s important to identify which things in your day don’t require urgency. What would you be able to do later on?
5. Make time to exercise
It’s sometimes hard to work exercise into your busy schedule, but it’s an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Getting some exercise is one of the best things you can do to both get your body healthy and give you time to clear your mind. Even just being outside will help make you feel better.
Try turning a positive habit like exercising into spending time with your family. Take them along when you go jogging, or find an active activity to do together like cycling or rock climbing. Go along with your children to the park and join in some of the high energy games.
6. Identify what makes you feel calm and happy
What do you react to negatively? What makes you feel anxious? The first step is to identify what are your triggers by paying attention to how your mood changes in certain situations and then figuring out how to avoid these triggers or counteract them when they happen.
Do you know what makes you feel happy? Can you find joy in the little things in life? Can you add more of these things to your day as little sparks of joy?
7. Set clear boundaries
What are some of the recurring things in life that end up stressing you out? Do these things take away your happiness and enjoyment? Think about what the problem might be. Is it that you’re receiving work calls while spending time with your family at dinner time, or is it something else entirely? Do you need more ‘you’ time or time alone to build your resilience and patience to tackle more challenging moments?
Make sure you’re clear about what you need from the people around you so that they don’t unintentionally overstep your boundaries.
It can feel tough being a parent and giving it everything you’ve got all of the time. The demands of parenting are limitless. Feeling overwhelmed by it all is a natural response and you are not alone.
Take steps to manage your stress to help you and your family. Being able to deal with stress effectively increases your quality of life, not just for you but for those close to you. If you talk about how you’re feeling and you know what helps to alleviate it, then you will ultimately be more able to be the parent you want.