As a parent, experiencing stress is inevitable. Even the most responsible parents who are great at managing stress can still fall into bad habits. Unfortunately, your parenting stress may lead to anger, frustration, and burnout. Stress relief is essential to maintain your mental health.
When you’re becoming stressed, be aware of it. Process it and relieve it. Pay attention to how your body reacts, thoughts you’re having, and hold back a few seconds before you respond. Just wait a couple of moments and take a breath. You can avoid escalating a conflict by waiting a few seconds, counting to five, and then responding.
As you encounter parenting stress, here are some great methods for stress relief:
Counselling can help you recognize and release stress and address underlying issues. For some parents, the stress becomes so much that it takes over your life. The stress starts to impact relationships, your habits, and your job performance. You start taking it out on others who don’t deserve it.
When this starts to be the case, it’s something in need of addressing. Talking to a psychotherapist or a mental health professional will be an important step for coping with the stress.
Mindfulness and meditation are crucial to withstanding stress and moving forward in a positive manner. Mindfulness takes as little as five minutes. It can be guided but doesn’t have to be. Do this before you start your day and after you’re done with a parenting session. It helps eliminate stress and refocuses your energy.
The only downside is you can’t do it on the job. Parenting takes too much attention away. You won’t be able to concentrate. That’s why we recommend before or after your kids have gone to sleep.
3. Praise & Discourage
Praise your child when they do something right. This encourages them to repeat it and makes it clear when they’ve earned your appreciation. When they’ve done something wrong, don’t get overly caught up with what an appropriate punishment is or the situation itself. Try this technique of reframing everything around praise for good behaviour. You’ll establish a relationship where they get positive attention for being good.
4. Write It Out
You can get a lot of stress out simply by writing about it. You can do this on a legal pad and throw it out afterward. Write honestly and get it all out. Some keep a diary. Some use different worksheets or workbooks to guide their writing.
No matter how you prefer to do it, writing encourages thought and helps you process stress in a very healthy way. It uncorks everything bottled up right now and can also help in the future as you face this type of stress again.
5. Talk to a Friend or Group
Talk to a friend. Join a group. Join a forum online or a social media page and share your experience with others. There are various support groups and parents just like you. Listening to them and sharing what you’re going through provides a connection that helps to make things feel a little better.
It can be very lonely being a parent, even with a spouse or partner there with you. If you’re stressed, you don’t have to keep it to yourself. Find someone you trust and talk about it.
6. Take Yourself Out of the Situation
Being a parent is hard. Being a parent 24/7 on-the-clock is even harder. Even for an hour or two, plan some time for you to do something else with your time and to be something else.
Meet a friend for coffee. Have a date night. Dedicate a night outside the house to a hobby or activity. Do something that gets out totally out of the mindset of being a parent. Spend some time on yourself, even if it’s just going to see a movie.
7. Holistic Therapy
The best way to relieve parental stress may be through holistic therapy. Some parental holistic therapy can be done at home, like aromatherapy, binaural beats, body massages, and Reiki. The beauty of holistic therapy is that it doesn’t require any sort of medication. There are no risks involved and the effects are felt instantly. Holistic therapies can be relied upon again and again for stress relief.
8. Physical Activity
A small amount of physical activity gets the blood going, activates the muscles, and helps to express some of the stress you may have built up. It’s possible to overdo it, of course. Try to keep it to 45 minutes. It could be a walk, a run, yoga, or lifting weights at the gym. You will feel a lot better afterwards. Assuming you’re eating and sleeping right, you set yourself up for success when it comes to any stressful situation.