Tools to Cope with Parenting Stress
Tools to Cope with Parenting Stress
Being a parent is stressful. With all that you have to do in a day, it is no wonder that teenage attitudes and toddler tantrums can easily push you over the edge. You are working in or out of the home each day, getting food on the table, playing taxi driver, cheerleader, nurse, and homework assistant. It is utterly exhausting. Learning how to tackle parenting stress before it compounds into a bigger problem is hugely important.
April is Stress Awareness Month and a perfect time to focus on tools to cope with parenting stress. If not managed, stress can cause severe problems for your mental and physical health and relationships with your partner and children.
Symptoms of stress can include the rapid beating of your heart, muscle tension, inability to focus, reoccurring stomaches, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, skin conditions, digestive issues, and more.
The counselors and therapists at Whole Journey (we have office locations in Chesapeake, Richmond, and Charlotte) have created this list of tools to help parents cope with stress:
Try to Leave Work Stress at the Door
Whether you work outside or inside the home as a professional or homemaker, try to separate those stressors from your children. Easier said than done, we know. Try communicating with friends, colleagues, or significant others to defuse stress before you or your kids come home. It can also be helpful to use visual tools, like imagining you are putting your problems in a box and putting them on a shelf to be reopened later. You can also journal and make to-do lists of things you need to get done. It can be helpful to get them out on paper.
Have Fun with Your Kids
Laughing and doing things you enjoy are great stress relievers for the whole family. Take time to go on bike rides, play games, engage your kids, and have fun. Cheer on your kids in sports or other hobbies they enjoy. Work on being present when you are with your children and soak up the precious moments. Unplug from technology and enjoy your time together.
Relax and Recharge
It is hard to take care of your family if your cup is empty. You have to take time to care for yourself so that you can be the best parent for your children (and keep your calm in moments of high stress). Whether it be exercise, yoga, massage, sleep, hobbies, etc. Whatever it is that makes you feel alive, make sure you do it. It is perfectly ok to send your kids to bed early enough that you get an hour to yourself each evening.
Ask for Backup
Parenting is hard. It is not something any of us should have to do on our own. If you are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, or on the brink of losing it, call in backup. Lean on a significant other, ask for help from friends or family, whatever is available to you. It is ok to get help. This is why the saying “it takes a village” exists.
Connect with Those Who “Get It”
Parenting groups, online forums, friends, etc. It can be nice to know that we aren’t alone in our feelings or struggles as a parent. We all have rough days, small victories, and things we feel uneasy about as parents. Having another person that you can lean on when things are hard, share a funny story with, or even just unleash some text vomit after a frustrating day can be hugely beneficial.
Plan a Getaway
When is the last time you connected with your spouse or friends? It is important to take breaks from parenting. Whether it be a date night or a weekend away, a little time apart from your kids can do wonders for reenergizing your spirit and your strength as a parent.
Life is all about balance. Make sure you are splitting your time between work, parenting, relationships, and self-care so that you can have a well-rounded existence. It might seem futile but you will notice the results. The happier and more relaxed you are as a person, the more joy you will find in being a parent.
The most important thing you can do to care for yourself and your loved ones is to recognize and seek help when you are feeling stressed. Your health matters. At Whole Journey, we regularly help clients de-stress their lives by finding balance and learning valuable tools to manage stress.
Ready to begin counseling in Virginia?
Whole Journey works with clients throughout the state of Virginia and North Carolina via our online and telehealth counseling platforms. We have office locations in Chesapeake, Richmond, and Charlotte. Our counselors are professionally trained in helping people to live healthier, happier lives. We want to see you thrive. Call our office at 757-296-0800 to schedule an appointment.