In Modern Parenthood, Stress is an Unwanted Companion
While becoming a parent can be one of the most satisfying decisions of one’s life, it can also be incredibly stressful. Young children require constant supervision and care, and with the demands of work more intense than ever, that continuous need for attention can become overwhelming. A 2013 Pew Research project found that both mothers and fathers are spending more time with their children than in the 1960s. However, using these strategies, working parents can cut down on their stress levels.
Identify Your Stress Trigger
Stress is unavoidable, but identifying what triggers your most intense emotional reactions can be helpful in maintaining equilibrium. By figuring out what your child does that you find the most aggravating, you can work to curb the sharpness of your emotions, communicate your feelings to your child in a positive manner and correct the triggering behaviors without negatively affecting your child.
Take Time Out for Yourself
While devoting time to a hobby may seem selfish after the birth of a child, it’s very important to take the occasional break from parenting. Going to see a movie, working on a craft project or visiting a museum can not only offer a welcome and invigorating distraction, but these activities can also keep you from developing resentment toward your child. And make sure you get plenty of sleep to keep yourself healthy.
Join a Gym
Physical activity is great for reducing stress, as it not only offers a positive outlet for anxiety, aerobic exercise is also helpful for reducing one’s blood pressure, stabilize one’s sleep cycle and keep a regular flow of endorphins coursing through the body, which helps with depression. Join a gym with long hours so you can get a workout in at unusual times and look into getting your kids into a youth exercise program so that healthy living can become a family affair.
Stress and the demands of parenthood can lead to unhealthy eating; Grabbing a candy bar in between play dates is easier than fixing a salad, but it’s certainly not better for you. Since stress can weaken your immune system over time, it’s important to keep some defense-boosting fruits as a staple of your diet. A stressful day might send you on the hunt for something fatty and reassuring like chocolate or ice cream, but those foods sap our energy and make us feel listless and tired. Resist those decadent urges adn eat something high in fiber like sautéed vegetables over rice or a baked sweet potato.
Establish a Support Network
Even in a two parent household, parenting can feel isolating. A supporting network made up of not just family and friends, but also other parents who are going through the same confusing, sometimes lonely process can help. It can also be helpful to go online and look into the network of blogs than offer solutions and reassures for new parents. It’s key to remember that no matter how challenging parenting can be, you don’t have to go through it alone.
Set up a Routine
One reason parenting can be so stressful is because it is so chaotic. Children are unpredictable and they aren’t interested in following a tight schedule. To cut back on the chaos, plan ahead and stick to an established routine. Prepare lunches and lay out clothing the night before a school day. Enroll your children in an after school program to give yourself a breather after school lets out. Keep all sports related clothing and equipment in a bag near the front door. Not only can a solid morning routine save time, it can help you start your day off with a less tension.