By Christine Weinzapfel-Hayden, Courier & Press, May 12, 2015 –
Webster’s dictionary defines stress as “a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.”
Stress affects all living beings, and parents seem to have more stress than they can handle at times.
Whether you are a working parent, stay-at-home parent, single or married, remaining calm and cool can help you get through the day.
Some parents may be able to refrain from multitasking — talking on the phone, checking email and texting — but others have more difficulty doing this. It is important to manage our stress and be present when we are spending time with family and friends.
Are you taking time out to relax, exercise and do things you enjoy? If so, are you “in the moment” and focusing on what you are doing?
The Child Development Institute has provided a helpful list of proven stress reducers. These may help your daily routine go more smoothly and decrease stress levels for the entire family.
Get up 15 minutes earlier to allow time for inevitable morning mishaps.
Prepare for the morning the evening before. Make lunches, pick out clothes, and have backpacks by the door.
Don’t rely on your memory. Write down appointments or enter them in your phone’s calendar so you receive alerts.
Practice preventive maintenance with your car, home, and appliances.
Be prepared to wait at appointments. A book or magazine can make a wait more pleasant.
Don’t procrastinate! Whatever you want to get done tomorrow, do today.
Plan ahead. Don’t let the gas tank get below one-quarter full. Keep a well-stocked emergency shelf of home staples. Don’t wait until you are down to your last postage stamp to buy more.
Allow 15 extra minutes to get to appointments in case of traffic delays or road construction.
Eliminate or restrict the amount of caffeine in your diet.
Always set up contingency plans “just in case.” For example, if shopping with your family, agree on a central place to meet in case you get separated.
Relax your standards. The world will not end if the grass doesn’t get mowed today, and not everything has to be done perfectly.
For every one thing that goes wrong there are probably many blessings we can count. Count them and be thankful.
If you don’t have the time or energy, allow yourself to say no to extra projects, social activities, and invitations.
Turn off your phone for an hour or more. Do something for yourself or spend time with family.
Get enough sleep! Turn off all social media at least an hour before bedtime.
Take deep, slow breaths. When stressed we tend to take short, shallow breaths. Check your breathing throughout the day and take time to relax your muscles.
Journal. Writing your thoughts and feelings down to review or even throw away can help you clarify and gain a new perspective.
Engage in physical activity. Try out a new class at the gym. Ask a friend to go along for accountability and friendship.
Eliminate destructive self-talk like “I am too fat,” “I am not smart,” etc.
Some days will be harder than others. Living one day at a time and taking time out for you will help decrease your family’s stress levels. Managing stress will help you be the best parent you can be.