Stress-management Tips for Parents
Being a parent is undoubtedly one of the most stressful jobs in the world. It may feel like you don’t have any time for yourself, or that your problems are never-ending – so it is important to find some time to de-stress regularly.Here are some activities and techniques that may help you to do this more efficiently.
There is no magic cure when it comes to stress, but incorporating a few of the below tips into your everyday life may help.
Remember, nobody is perfect
It is okay to make mistakes as a parent. Your child will learn from them, and they will make him/her more resilient. If you were always perfectly supportive and empathic, your child would never learn how to deal with difficult feelings or how to handle conflict. Being a great parent means being ’good enough’, as Winnicott, the famous child psychotherapist put it – just be ’good’ more often than ’bad’. That’s good enough.
Do things that make you happy
Listen to music you like, do some exercise on a regular basis, try out a new hobby.
Keep your social connections alive
Make time to meet friends or relatives who are important to you.
Talk about your problems
Don’t bottle up your frustrations and feelings: talk to your partner or sit down with family and friends. Just saying things out loud can help you realise that your problems aren’t as bad as you thought they were.
Ask for help
You are not alone. If things feel overwhelming, they probably are. Delegate; enlist your friends or family to do some baby-sitting for you! Or if you can’t do that, seek alternative arrangements, such as hiring a nanny or contacting a Family Centre for help and support with parenting.
Don’t deprive yourself
Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise. Don’t deprive yourself financially either: yes, kid’s stuff costs a lot, but you should still put aside some money within your budget for yourself. Treat yourself occasionally, like you would treat your kids.
Take care of yourself the same way you care for your children. If you are tired and cranky, put yourself to bed early, and give yourself a hot chocolate and hug. Laundry can wait until tomorrow.
Stop comparing yourself to others
Comparing yourself to other parents is a surefire way to feel inferior. Don’t forget: those parents you envy, who seem perfectly happy and composed all the time? Well, they aren’t perfect either. You don’t know what they are like at home, on a weekday evening. You will never know for sure whether they are truly happy or not. So don’t thrive to be like them; be you.
Consider seeking professional help
If you, or someone else you know is struggling with stress – due to parenting difficulties, a relationship breakdown, an illness, a sudden loss or something else – consider suggesting they seek professional help. Counselling or therapy is a great way to increase one’s emotional resiliance and to improve one’s general well-being. Couple’s counselling is a great way to resolve relationship problems before they become debilitating.
Seek help for others
If you are worried about your child, or if their behaviour has become hard to manage, consider bringing them to therapy. ’Difficult’ behaviour can often mask anxiety or depressive symptoms in children and young people. Read about the signs of depression in young people.