How to Deal with Stress When You’re a Parent
Today, on Redhead Mom, I’m sharing a partnered guest post about how to deal with stress when you’re parent.
When you’re a parent, it can feel like stress consumes and overwhelms you. There’s stress related to your family and children, perhaps your career, finances, your relationships, and the outside world. For a lot of moms, COVID-19 has amplified stress levels beyond what they were ever before.
When you are stressed, and you’re not dealing with it effectively, it can manifest itself in seriously harmful ways.
When you’re experiencing serious stress, you’re more likely to lash out, your physical health can suffer, and you’re more likely to be in car accidents or experience other potentially dangerous situations.
Sometimes we accept that stress is so much a part of our life that we begin to think it’s normal. The reality is that while some stress is unavoidable, chronic stress should not be part of your daily life.
As a parent, the following are some of the things you can do to deal with stress in a more productive way when it does occur.
Talk About It
For moms, in particular, there is a tendency to want to be superwoman. You want to do everything on your own and you want to be the caretaker, rather than having people take care of you.
With that can come a tendency to bottle your emotions up, and that can create more stress.
Talk to your partner or someone you can trust when you’re dealing with stress.
We tend to minimize just how important that sense of human connection can be when we’re dealing with stress.
If you don’t have someone you feel comfortable talking with, there are parent helplines, or you can talk to a therapist.
Online therapy options are great because you don’t necessarily have to worry about getting a sitter, and they’re more convenient when you’re busy.
Use What’s Available to You As Times to De-Stress
Find the time to meditate or calm down. It doesn’t always have to be a dedicated time you set aside just for the purpose of destressing. Fit it in when you can.
If you work outside the home, maybe you make your commute the time you listen to relaxing music and take some deep breaths. Try not to take whatever work or outside stress and emotions you’re experiencing home with you.
Maybe when you shower, you visualize letting go of stress.
Whatever it is, just find the time to decompress but don’t look at it as all or nothing. Do what you can and do it incrementally if you need to.
Learning how to say no to things that don’t serve you well or that you don’t have time for can be incredibly freeing.
If you can’t host a playdate because you have other things going on, that’s fine. If you can’t volunteer for the class party, say no.
If your boss is demanding too much of you, particularly outside of office hours, set boundaries.
Learning how to say no can be one of the most powerful things you do.
Once you say no, put it out of your mind. It’s done, so don’t worry yourself over the fact that you didn’t take on one more commitment.
In general, trying to keep a sense of balance in your life is important to reduce your stress.
Don’t overschedule your life and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do things like multiple activities for each of your kids. It’s often best from a mental health standpoint to schedule fewer things and budget more time to do each of them than you think you’ll need.
Cut Out Things That Make You Feel Bad
Finally, start with eliminating social media and the news if these are things that trigger your stress or anxiety.
We often don’t even realize how too much media consumption affects our mental health, our stress levels, and the environment we create for our kids. You can even develop PTSD not by personally experiencing traumatic situations but by seeing them repeatedly.
A good way to cut out some of the negativity in your life that you experience because of social media and the news is to set a limit for yourself.
For example, maybe you give yourself 15 minutes each morning to look at the news, so you stay informed, and then you stop for the rest of the day.
When you set a limit for yourself on media consumption, it makes you more mindful perhaps of how much time you were wasting online before. It was creating stress and taking you away from more valuable and meaningful parts of your life.
There are apps you can use that will also alert you if you’re spending too much time on your phone.