Navigating parenthood, whether raising a teenager or having the delicate responsibilities of a newborn, can be challenging.
Balancing work and other duties with that being present for your child is a tall task that can overwhelm even the best of parents.
Stress from outside factors like work demands, scheduling issues, and your child’s schedule can creep up on you, often leading to behaviors such as lashing out or having too much anxiety built up.
Stress can lead to a variety of behavioral and health issues.
For example, too much stress can impact moods and lead to serious health issues like heart disease.
What’s worse is that when we become stressed, we eat poorly, don’t exercise as much as we should, and find coping mechanisms that impact our sleep, leading to sleep deprivation and an increase in other health-related issues.
The key is to recognize the factors that can affect our abilities to ward off stress and have a calm demeanor and patience to navigate those difficult times.
So how can you as a parent navigate all the challenges and responsibilities of parenting in a healthy way?
Choosing healthy coping mechanisms is a good start.
Choosing to eat well, get a daily dose of exercise, take time daily for some self-care, and, most importantly, prioritize getting enough sleep are all the ingredients to a healthier life.
Positive Health Factors
Helping deal with everyday life and parenting stresses, you want to establish routines that focus on creating and reinforcing positive health behaviors.
Those daily behaviors will create momentum to perform them again and again, quickly becoming habits that will be a foundation for healthy living.
Eating Well: On top of the list for any foundation of healthy living is to eat well. Focus on a plant-based diet that is rich in vitamins and fiber, and avoid any unnecessary processed foods, sugars, and salts.
In addition, keep an eye on your fat intake and be sure to drink an appropriate amount of water.
Benefits of eating well include;
- More sustained energy throughout the day
- Better appetite control and weight management
- More efficient waste process for your body
- Elevated moods
- More restful sleep periods
Exercise: Besides eating well, getting enough daily and weekly exercise is crucial for a foundation of healthy living.
The Centers for Disease Control, working with the World Health Organization, recommends that for grown adults, a person should get between 150-300 hours of moderate exercise a week or 75-150 hours of vigorous exercise a week.
Exercise helps maintain the body’s skeletal-muscular system, improves flexibility, helps with appetite and weight control, makes for a more efficient waste process, and improves sleep and moods.
Self-Care: Taking the time every day just for a little “me time” is crucially essential to recuperate, recharge, and destress. Finding an hour a day to focus on yourself and a little self-care will go a long way.
Whether you enjoy reading a book, meditating, playing music, painting, or anything you want, taking a little time for self-care is just as vital for you as it is for your kids to see. After all, our children model our behaviors, so if all they see is a stressed-out adult, they adopt those coping mechanisms.
Still, if they see you taking time daily to do an activity you enjoy, they will know the importance of self-care in their lives.
Health Benefits Of Sleep: When we become tired or overwhelmed with stress and responsibilities, the first thing we tend to compromise on is sleep.
We’ll stay up late to finish the chores, finish our work, or even catch a show. The problem is that when we become stressed, our bodies need more sleep to calibrate the amount of cortisol our bodies release.
Cortisol is the stress hormone that helps in fight-or-flight situations; it releases added sugars into the bloodstream and eliminates and limits nonessential bodily functions when cortisol is at high levels.
The benefits of sleep are immense;
- Slow the effects of aging
- Help the body rehabilitate and rejuvenate
- Maintain proper levels of hormones in the body
- Elevate moods
- Relieves stress
- Aid in digestion
- Improve cognitive functions
- Help prevent long-term illness
- Boost the immune system
The CDC recommends that grown adults average 7-9 hours of undisturbed sleep a night. To get the recommended amount of sleep, consider being consistent with the same bedtime and wake-up time; sleep in a cool, dark room.
Remove electronic devices from the room; avoid large meals and caffeine before bed; avoid tobacco or alcohol.
Sometimes, it can be challenging to relax and get to bed on time. In those cases, an occasional sleep remedy may be recommended.
Consider holistic and natural options first, such as;
- Melatonin pills
- CBD for sleep
- Chamomile Tea
- Warm Milk
- Valerian Root
- Magnesium tablets
Getting enough sleep is the most crucial foundation of living healthier. And a healthier you is a happier, less stressed parent, giving you the best opportunity to parent for your children.