Even the most patient, loving parents find themselves feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. What should you do to find balance when it feels like you are almost at the end of your rope? Here are six tips to help you manage parental stress.
- Go easy on yourself. Remember that stress is inevitable and it’s a healthy human immune function. Stress becomes a problem when it is prolonged or occurring on a regular basis.
- Reach out. Talk to a friend or someone who is supportive and can offer words of encouragement when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes just venting your frustrations to someone who cares can help you calm down and get a better perspective on things.
- Figure out what are your personal stressors. Maybe you become frustrated when a certain thing happens and your usual response is to start making clumsy mistakes or to snap at your loved ones. Once you observe your own pattern of dealing with stress, you can become empowered to take control of the situation before it gets out of hand.
- Soothe your senses. Author and psychologist Jeanne Segal says that everything is essentially a “sensory experience.” Stress is many times the result of our senses becoming overloaded and she suggests doing things to calm them. This is why deep breathing, aromatherapy, meditation, and listening to relaxing music can all be highly effective in getting rid of tension and stress.
- Stop and regroup. Sometimes you just need to take a time out. Jamee Tenzer, parent coach and author, points out that we tend do even more when we get stressed out. To cope with the feelings of being overwhelmed, we want feel as if we are accomplishing a lot. This usually leads to even more stress, though. Just stop and think about what you really need to finish right now and what can wait until another time. Write down your three most important tasks and resolve to focus only on these until they are finished.
- Don’t take it personally. Remember that whatever is going on - screaming kids, ringing phones, incessant emails - is not really about you. None of these things are being done with the intention of making you upset. It can be very liberating to understand that you don’t need to carry the weight of all these things on your shoulders. You can do your best to handle things as they come up, but you must also learn to let things go and not to internalize everything that happens.