“Parenting is fun.”
“ Parenting is a beautiful journey.”
“ Having a child is the greatest gift of God.”
“Being a mother is the most amazing feeling”.
You have heard all that and more, isn’t it?
Let me tell you a secret, NOT. You may be afraid to admit, but you definitely have experienced it. Parenting is demanding, parenting is tough, and it is overwhelming. The moment you become a parent, you are in for an extremely stressful job. Apart from all the beauty, divinity, and amazing feelings, there is despair, exhaustion, and insanity. And all this leads to parental stress or parental burnout.
As parents, we all have our good days and bad days. However, the problem arises when the bad days keep lingering. Parental stress starts affecting our work, relationships, and day to day lives. Parents must take care of themselves and stay emotionally and mentally strong before it becomes a cause of concern. As a stressful and agitated parent, we can’t expect our child to be calm and disciplined. This week our focus is on the emotional wellbeing of parents.
Managing Parental Stress
Stress is an indispensable part of our lives. We all experience stress, at different points in life, and in varying amounts. While mild to moderate stress can sometimes be good, too much stress is problematic.
Below are Certain things that you can do to decrease and manage stress
Parental Stress Shouldn’t Be Ignored
Isn’t that obvious? Well, it is supposed to be, but unfortunately, most of us tend to ignore our stressors. You have to learn to recognize what causes stress in your life. Whenever you feel stress coming on, take steps beforehand to control it, rather than letting it control you. Whenever possible, try to eliminate these stressors.
Work on Changing your Beliefs
Your beliefs determine a lot about you and your life. Your behavior, the way you raise your children, your choices in life, are all determined by your beliefs. Your beliefs also determine what will and will not be stressful for you. Some beliefs can lead to increased stress. For example, if you believe that your kid should be well-behaved at all times, you will experience stress every time they misbehave. In such a case, it would reduce stress to alter this belief to one that allows for normal misbehavior that is common in all children.
Don’t be Perfectionistic
It’s not possible to be perfect in all areas of your life. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Realize that you cannot do everything perfectly. Be more realistic in your expectations of yourself.
Develop Good Problem-Solving Skills
When faced with a significant problem, try to clearly define the exact problem. Then generate a list of various ways the problem could be managed. Evaluate each potential solution and then make a decision. This is not only useful in life at large but also in handling kids who aren’t listening or are facing a meltdown.
Choose How to Spend Your Time Efficiently
It is important to decide which activities are important to you, and which are not. It is also important that you know your limit. Don’t take on more than you can handle. Learn to say no at home, at work, and to kids.
Don’t Delay Making Decisions
Many people create and prolong stress by delaying a decision that needs to be made. They end up brooding about an issue rather than resolving it. Once you have all the information necessary to make a decision, try to make the decision as quickly as possible. Avoid hashing and rehashing issues once a decision has been made.
Getting organized will help you make better use of your time and energy. Set realistic goals for yourself and stick to them. Getting organized also involves learning how to plan. Try to plan your activities. Make lists and then rank each item on the list in order of priority. To increase your motivation to complete items on your list, decide in advance to do something enjoyable when you have completed specific items on your list. Another important part of getting organized is to stop procrastinating. Procrastination is putting off things that need to be done. This is a great time waster and stress increaser.
Get Enough Sleep
People who do not get enough sleep and/or rest will not have the energy required to combat life’s stresses. Make an effort to get to bed at a decent hour every night. An adequate and consistent sleeping schedule is important to your physical and mental health. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, practice-specific relaxation techniques, like mindful breathing.
Set Aside Time for all Things Fun
Make sure you set aside time for fun in your schedule. Participating in fun activities is a great way to restore energy. Such activities could be solitary hobbies or things done with the family or a group of friends. What’s important is that it is enjoyable for you.
Watch What you Eat
Pay attention to what you eat. Eating healthy is crucial for combating stress. What you feed your body affects your mind too. Follow a healthy and balanced diet. Include a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Decrease your intake of foods high in fat, cholesterol, and refined sugars.
Regular exercise is an excellent way to stay physically and mentally healthy, making it easier to combat stress. Pick up any form of exercise that you enjoy. Most importantly, stick to it as regularity is the key.
Develop Support Systems
When you are under stress, sometimes all you need is emotional support. Develop a support system around you, whether it is your spouse, parents, in-laws, or friends. Reach out to those whom you can trust for comfort and support. An important point to keep in mind is that to develop an adequate support system, you need to be supportive of others as well. Listen to others and provide a shoulder to lean on when they need your support.
Maintain a Sense of Humor
Can you laugh at yourself? Or do you take everything seriously? A sense of humor can go a long way in helping people handle stress. People who can laugh at themselves can handle stress more effectively. Try looking for humor even in stressful situations and they won’t affect you much.
Seek Professional Assistance if Nothing Helps
If the parental stress keeps getting worse, or you suffer from anxiety attacks, or show impulsive behavior, or are physically and verbally abusing towards your child, you need help. In case of significant issues in dealing with stress, it is no harm or shame in consulting a mental health care provider. Mental health is as important as, if not more, physical health. Please do take good care of it.
That’s all for today folks. It’s a tough journey ahead, be prepared to face anything as it comes your way.