There are few roles in life as challenging and rewarding as being a parent. The level of demand that comes with responsible parenting is overwhelming. Having the wisdom, the bandwidth, and even more importantly – the PATIENCE to handle a child with an equal balance of love, warmth, reason and discipline can be incredibly difficult. Whether you are struggling to handle an out-of-control toddler or looking for a way to reason with your rebellious teenager, learning ways to deal with the stress of parenting is essential for your own emotional wellness.
With this in mind – we would like to offer you 3 quick recovery tips on ways you can de-stress when your parenting responsibilities become overwhelming.
Tip 1: BREATHE
We talk a lot about breath and how important it is – but honestly, we can’t stress the importance enough. Even three good solid deep breaths (in through your nose and out through your mouth) can do wonders for your heart rate and blood pressure. Slowing your heart down and allowing yourself a moment to think not only allows you to be less reactive, it also gives you the ability to more effective as a parent.
Consider giving yourself a way to remind yourself to stop and breathe deeply. This might be by wearing a band, a piece of jewelry as a reminder – or even putting a note on your phone’s screensaver. Be creative! We know one mother who put a picture with the word ‘BREATHE!” in it in her child’s bedroom. She found this to be very helpful!
Tip 2: LAUGH
Did you know that laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies? The best side benefit of laughter for parenting, though, is that it also triggers a release of endorphins (the body’s feel-good-fast chemical). Endorphins can turn a really rough moment with your child into a softer one.
We encourage you to look for humor – whether it be in finding the silliness in your child’s innocence or deciding to look at things from a lighter perspective. : )
Given that humor and laughter just aren’t possible in all settings, think about making time for humor when you aren’t facing parental demand. A late-night movie that gives you that feel-good experience or just hanging out with friends and playing a game can be helpful.
Though it might not seem to be a “quick recovery” option –the benefits of laughter carry well beyond the moment. Every good feeling moment is good for our bodies and our minds, no matter what we are doing.
Tip 3: GET REAL, GET SUPPORT
Parenting is a job and no matter how experienced you are, it is stressful at times. Being real with yourself and others and feeling able to accept and talk about the joys and strains of parenting is important. As precious as our children are to us, what they need from us is demanding.
Accepting help, building a strong support system, and having a person (or persons) that you can talk to when you are about to tear your hair out, is essential, and it can be one of the best quick recovery options there are.