Parenting is, of course, incredibly rewarding but being responsible for another life can also bring along a lot of stress. If you’re feeling stressed as a parent, you are certainly not alone, after all, there is a lot to consider when trying to raise children. But if you let your stress get the better of you, this is going to have some negative implications, not just on your health but on the happiness of your family. Therefore, it is important to try and relax as a parent whenever possible. There are myriad ways this can be achieved but, in this article, we are going to run through a few essential keys to relieving stress, offering some top tips to help you relax.
Being the head of a family is no simple task. Running around after your kids, getting them ready for school, tending to little accidents and so on, means that hours in the day simply fly by. However, it’s important to take some time for you once in a while. Try and schedule some time on a semi-regular basis to take a little break while your partner perhaps looks after the children. A perfect way to do so would be to pamper yourself during a relaxing Chester and Cheshire spa break, get a nice massage, and spend an afternoon (or day if possible!) looking after yourself. This way, you can return home relaxed and eager to return to your loving family.
Sabina from the family lifestyle blog Mummy Matters is someone who certainly agrees that finding time for yourself is important. Offering some great advice, Sabina told us: “Remember that it's okay to take time for yourself. Now that my children are all of school age when we get home from school, we have half an hour of 'me time' meaning we each go off to different areas of the house to decompress from our day. We all take a drink and a snack and understand that nobody is to be disturbed. This has greatly reduced the arguments after school and helps the children understand that mummy is entitled to some time out too.
Sometimes we think we can do and achieve everything at once but those who have tried will be able to tell you about the stress this can bring. If you are finding yourself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of activity going on in your life, consider toning things down a little. Being a parent is time-consuming enough as it is and for those who also work, you already have a full plate on your hands. So, look at other areas of your life, responsibilities that don’t need to be yours, and see if some of these elements can be eased out.
Sabina from Mummy Matters has offered some great advice along these lines that she has put into practice herself: It's imperative that parents learn to relax as you can't pour from an empty cup. I have always been that mum who tries to be supermum, doing everything for everyone, running around from one club to the next and then wondering why I felt exhausted. Last year I fractured my ankle badly and was out of action for six weeks. In that time, I realised the world didn't stop turning because I wasn't flying from A to B, I realised the children were more self-sufficient than I gave them credit for, and they wanted to help me. It was quite the eye-opener!
The life of a parent is a busy one. So many of us are going full guns blazing from first thing in the morning right until the end of the day, without so much as taking a breath. But learning to take a little time out just for yourself can truly help to compose your thoughts and relieve stress. Rebecca Fisher – a lifestyle blogger by the sea – from the site The Coastal Mummy understands the importance of implementing this tactic:
“Just take a deep breath and breathe would be my top piece of advice. Even though it sounds silly. Life can be so fast-paced and being a parent can be so stressful at times that you forget to just take a deep breath. I think learning to relax is one of the most important parts of parenthood. You need to think of yourself too.”
Taking a breath is also the top piece of advice that JoJo, an author from the parenting blog Mummy JoJo, suggests: “Don't forget to breathe. Mindfulness is very powerful, especially when it is tempting to scream and shout. I also tend to turn the music up louder, especially in the car with two kids rowing or screaming in the back. Also, ensure you make time for self-care. Daily self-care is essential.
“It's a huge pressure raising little people to be kind, happy and confident. We lead by example so if we are not kind to ourselves, how can we expect our kids to be. The mental health stats prove how important it is for us to relax. Many of us live fast-paced, busy lives. I often hear the excuse 'I’m too busy'. I have made it myself. But when we take care of ourselves, we have so much more to offer those close to us.”
Anyone who has had struggle with sleeping knows the ramifications it can have on our waking lives, including creating stress. A lack of sleep is particularly common with young parents so if you are struggling in this regard, don’t panic but try to take steps to improve your sleep health. The team from Sonic Sleep Coach – a personalised A.I assistant that utilises sound to help you sleep deeper – spoke to us about the connection between sleep and stress:
“Stress and a poor night’s sleep have a dysfunctional relationship where stress often leads to poor sleep and poor sleep can, in turn, exasperate stress. Dealing with your sleep health can actually reduce your stress by getting you out of that fight or flight response that is so common in our modern society. Healthy sleep corresponds to a calmer, more thoughtful, and less reactive day.”
Sonic Sleep Coach also offered some expert advice for parents in particular: “Oftentimes, the vigilance required to take care of a baby can carry on into your life far beyond the baby's need for your attention. If you are struggling with sleep as a parent, remember that sleep is about letting go and releasing yourself from the stressors in your environment. Try forming a bedtime routine and make sure that you sleep train your child. Their healthy sleep also corresponds to your ability to relax and regenerate at night.”
Spending time with your partner outside the realm of parenting is certainly an important key to master in reducing stress. If all your time spent with your husband or wife is spent running after the kids, if you are never able to be alone together, this can have some truly negative impacts on the relationship, thus increasing stress. So, try and plan some regular time for the two of you to do things together. Whether it’s a date night, a hobby that you both enjoy, or making sure that you have a relaxing weekend break to look forward to every now and then. Whatever you decide, carving out this precious time will be another important component for a less stressful life.
Poor time management is an easy pathway to a stressful life, whether this is at home or at work. If you have not organised your time properly, you only heap more pressure on yourself with this chaotic and unstructured mode of living. So, it’s important to try and master the art of organisation. Know what your day is going to entail, where the kid’s school belongings are, and be prepared for things like the school run in advance. By simply packing lunches the evening before you can stay one step ahead of the game. Taking the time to organise and plan your day will not only stop you from forgetting things but will hopefully help you allocate that little bit of time for yourself.
A great way to relieve stress no matter where you are in life is through exercise. Thanks to the endorphins that are naturally produced and physical activity improving your ability to sleep, exercise is an important component to add to your routine. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, simply going for a regular walk (bring the kids!), or riding bikes or any other number of options can really help you to relax. The fresh air won’t do you any harm either! If exercise is something that you enjoy then taking time to do this for yourself a couple of times a week will reap rewards on your personal happiness too.