Being a parent is certainly a rewarding experience. From the moment you discover you’re expecting to the second you’re finally holding them safely in your arms you know that your life will never be the same again. And you’ll do anything to protect them and of course make them happy. However, while all this is true, parenting is also one of the most stressful experiences of your life. Whether you’re tearing your hair out with worry, your wearing your biggest pair of aviator glasses to hide how tired you are, you’re irritable, cross at bad behaviour, mentally exhausted – there are so many reasons why we feel this way – but you need to remember, that you’re not alone!
Parenthood and stress go hand in hand, so don’t feel guilty. To help, I’ve come up with 4 ways you can lower your stress levels. But remember, if you’re constantly stressed and feel like you’re struggling to cope, then don’t suffer in silence. Reach out to someone you know and trust and ask for help. Whether that’s a family member, a friend, colleague or even your Doctor and remember: You are not alone.
Take a time out
Just like our little ones need time to decompress, taking a time out is handy for us parents too. For example, if your baby is upset and you’re struggling to soothe them – having tried everything – then don’t be afraid to leave them (safely) in their cot and take a breather for 5-10 minutes in the next room, before you go back in and try again.
Don’t be afraid to tell your children that you need some time out. As long as you know they’re safe, you can go to another room and decompress. Taking a stress break could be enough to let the stress subside and allow you to get a new perspective. This is something that teenagers could try too.
Identify when you’re the most stressed and tackle it head on. If mornings are stressful because your children can’t find their shoes, then lay them out the night before. If it’s always a struggle to find your car keys then make an extra set! If school pick up is a nightmare then try to get their early and get a good parking space.
Learn some breathing/meditation techniques
It sounds cliché but focusing on your breathing is actually proven to help reduce stress. Slow, deep abdominal breathing and meditation techniques are the most effective way to relax the body, refocus and reset your mind. Take a look at some how-to videos on YouTube for some guidance; the kids might enjoy this too!
Move your body
Moving your body is scientifically proven to keep stress at bay. The trick is to find something that you enjoy. You could go for a walk, ride a bike, go swimming, hit the gym or even have a dance in the living room. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to get the kids involved too and it’ll help diffuse any tense and stressful situations.