It’s not surprising to hear that chronic stress is regarded as a large contributor to illness and negative emotions. There are many things in life that can cause stress to men and women and as parents, stress is surely to be encountered from time to time. Whether it’s a child struggling with an issue, financial strain, or just the hustle and bustle of family living, learning how to content with stress will serve you and your family well.
As a parent, you want to be as stress free as possible so that you can go about your daily life happier and ultimately healthier. With this in mind, heed the following stress reduction techniques for parents so that you can take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy each day as it comes.
- Relinquish control. You might think that you are in control, but the reality is that you cannot control everything. As a parent, you can make plans and follow through with them, but not everything will go as planned. The faster you realize this, the faster you will decrease stress from your life. Things will happen. The car will break down, your toddler will get angry with a peer at preschool, the day won’t go as planned, etc. It’s alright. Take a deep breath and purpose to keep a good attitude regardless.
- Be optimistic. Your attitude will determine your behavior much of the time. As you come to understand that not all things go as planned, choosing an optimistic attitude when such things occur will keep the peace in your heart and home. Have you ever noticed how it is easier to let negative thoughts run through the mind? For some reason, we just allow them to dominate, but with just a little bit of effort, you can retrain your brain to automatically be optimistic. Reach for the positive thoughts.
- Learn the art of meditation and deep breathing. Did you know that just one deep breath can help relax every muscle in your body? Yes, the art of meditation and deep breathing is your ticket to less stress and more happiness in your life. Take time daily to set aside for “you” time. Take a few deep breaths. Let them out slowly and relax your entire body. Focus on the inhale and exhale. As you do, other thoughts should dwindle away. Should one come, simply acknowledge it and then let it go. This is your time to unwind, de-stress, and refresh yourself. Take 5 to 15 minutes per day for this. You will notice a difference!
- Get an exercise regimen. Studies show that regular exercise decreases stress levels. Now you don’t have to be a hardcore athlete either. A simple brisk walk regularly will suffice, but don’t be afraid to engage in other physical activities as well. Play some tennis, go golfing, lift some weights, plant a garden, go jogging, ride a bike, join a fitness class, etc. There are so many ways to exercise and decrease stress at the same time.
- Journaling or writing has been known to decrease the stress of everyday living and give you a sense of relief. Getting your feelings out on paper is satisfying. You get to release some pent up energy and it just feels good. In fact, many people report that journaling helped them heal many emotional wounds. Purpose to write on a daily basis or at least regularly. Then, every so often read what you’ve written and take note of how you’ve changed through time.
- Go on vacation. Let’s face it: Life gets busy and as parents, that busyness can become overwhelming. Do yourself and your family a big favor and plan a vacation either for yourself, you and your spouse, or the whole family. Each year you ought to plan one vacation for each, as getting away from the hustle and bustle of life can certainly relax you and give you a fresh perspective on everything.
- Make a Not-to-Do list. Are you overwhelmed with too many things? We sure do tend to take on too much and then carry extra stress. This is why the massage therapists are so busy! To ease your stress, make a “Not-to-Do” list and stop doing things you don’t necessarily need to do. Stop taking little Billy to baseball knowing he despises it. Let the phone go to voice mail. Stop checking Facebook 30 times a day. As you let things go, you will feel less stress and liberated.
Don’t let stress keep you down. Utilize these tips and make wise use of your time. It does take some effort, but it is well worth the effort when you can smile more and enjoy your days instead of carrying chronic stress around all the time.