If you’re a parent and are feeling more stressed than usual, you are certainly not alone. With many kids sitting at home for the summer with not much to do, no place to visit and many parents still working from home, stress is at an all-time high. So, how can mom and dad keep their sanity in these crazy times and reduce all that stress?
Dr. Alok Trivedi is a health and human behavior expert, author of the book ‘Chasing Success’ and founder of the Aligned Performance Institute.
His 10 tips to reduce stress right now:
– Make time for yourself: Being a parent isn’t easy and is filled with stressful moments. No matter how busy you are between work and family, always make time for yourself. Even just 15 to 20 minutes a day to get quiet and relax can do wonders for your stress level, mental and physical health. Not only will you feel better, you’ll also be better at the things you take on and more aligned in your relationships.
– Focus on overall wellness: The importance of exercise, eating right and taking care of yourself can’t be said enough, especially for parents who lead busy lives. All of these things have a direct impact on your stress. If you eat right, get plenty of physical activity and just take better care of yourself, your mind and body will thank you. Best of all, you can instill these important values in your kids as they grow up.
– Don’t let things fester: When problems arise, and they will, take them on quickly and effectively. The problem when we procrastinate and put things off is small issues turn into big issues and this drives our stress levels off the charts. Even if you don’t feel like dealing with something, it’s always better to face it and get it over with rather than keep putting it off and allowing it to bother you and raise your stress. For parents, that might mean planning out specific tasks that have to get done each day. Monday might be laundry day. Tuesday could be food prep day. Wednesday cleaning day. And so on.
– Focus on proper breathing: The problem with incorrect breathing is it can make you feel even more stressed and worried than you already are. Improper breathing raises CO2 in the body while reducing oxygen consumption which makes us tired, dizzy and anxious. The correct way to breathe is slowly in through the stomach area, hold for a few seconds, and then slowly exhale through the lips. It might take some practice to get used to, but this is definitely something that will significantly reduce your stress.
– Get out of the house: Right now, many parents are feeling stressed out and overwhelmed during the COVID pandemic because they can’t leave the house. It’s still important to get out each and every day. You can go for a walk, drive around with no destination in mind while you crank up the tunes, visit a friend or family member while practicing social distancing. A change of environment is important to reduce stress.
– Get the kids involved: Many parents are stressed out right now with kids home for summer with nothing to do. Keep your kids busy with educational activities like reading, give them an allowance for taking on chores around the house, and make sure they have enough time play time each day outdoors. Happy and healthy kids will make your life much easier and reduce your levels of stress.
– Have something to look forward to: Having something in the future to move toward and look forward to is important to all of us, especially parents who find themselves stressed. Maybe it’s a vacation or road trip six months from now. You can even have something small to look forward to each day like a television show or family dinner. This puts us in a better frame of mind, reduces stress and keeps the “feel-good” chemicals pumping in the brain.
– Get involved in activities that are inspiring to you. It doesn’t matter what it is, just get involved in any activity that inspires you. When you are feeling inspired and into what you are doing, it’s hard to feel stress. Not only that, but when you are doing something you truly enjoy, your mind is occupied and won’t have time to entertain worry, anxiety and stress.
– Focus on the outcomes, not the struggles. In almost everything we setout to accomplish, there is stress along the way. This is true even of positive forces in our lives. Instead of becoming stressed by the struggles, stay focused on the outcome. For instance, it’s easy to get flustered when trying to explain a math assignment to your kids. But remember how great it feels when it finally clicks for them and the sense of achievement it gives both you and them.
– Recognize when you need help: Every parent deals with a certain amount of stress and that is perfectly normal. But sometimes our stress becomes something bigger indicative of an anxiety disorder or something else. When you’ve tried to face things on your own and you aren’t feeling better, it’s time to get professional help. Parents with an insurmountable of stress are doing themselves and their families a favor by getting help.
Would you be interested in speaking to Dr. Trivedi? If so, I’m happy to set it up. Or, feel free to use any of his advice above with attribution.