All parents, eventually, will feel stress at some point in their child-rearing journey. Parenting can be stressful, after all. The stress can start as early as pregnancy, then stress can come while caring for the babies, then raising children, and so on. No need to worry. In this article, we will give you tips for managing parental stress.
How to Manage Parental Stress
Not much different from the explanation of Kinds of Parenting Style, as parents we must know the boundaries we should not show to our children especially when we are angry. Luckily, we have 8 tips for managing parental stress for you.
1. Identify the Triggers
The first step to deal with a problem is to know whats your parenting problem. Knowing is half the battle, after all. In managing parental stress, knowing the triggers for stress is certainly helpful.
Take a step back and think. What things trigger your stress? Some of the stress triggers can be predicted. If your triggers are like this, try to support yourself during the stressful period.
2. Notice the Symptoms
Knowing the symptoms helps in managing parental stress as well. If you know the symptoms, you can identify stress early on. Symptoms such as headaches, interrupted sleep, changes in appetite, and irritability may indicate that you are becoming stressed.
3. Address Unhelpful Thoughts
How you think affects how you feel. That is why if you think negative thoughts, you will feel uneasy. When negative thoughts appear, you need to address them.
For example, you can talk to someone you trust, be it a close friend or a counselor. You can also train your mind so you will be less affected by negative thoughts, too.
4. Take a Deep Breath
How do you feel when you are stressed? That’s right. You feel tense. When you feel tense, you are likely to breathe quickly and shallowly, as if you are doing a strenuous activity.
That’s how you breathe improperly. The thing is, we breathe improperly most of the time, tense or not.
It goes without a saying that proper breathing benefits us, physically and mentally. And it is especially beneficial when we are stressed. Fortunately, learning how to do it properly is not hard.
Here’s how to breathe properly:
- Pick a spot where you can lie down. Make sure that the spot is comfortable
- Place both of your hands on your stomach. Place your hands slightly under the ribs
- Start to breathe, feel it, and take note. How is it? Is it too quick? Is it shallow? Adjust so that you breathe slowly and deeply
- If you breathe properly, your abdominal area should expand before the ribcage does
You can do this breathing exercise for 5 to 10 minutes per session. A few sessions a day would be a good routine. Keep practicing consistently and you will soon notice that as you become more adept in the exercise, your breathing during normal situations will improve as well.
5. Take a Vacation, Mentally
A mental vacation? That’s correct. Taking a mental vacation is one of the best way on how to cope with stress. Our body and mind is connected. If our mind is thinking something that upsets us, our body will react by becoming tense.
There are many types of family stress that can make parents lost control. Likewise, if our mind is thinking about something that gladdens us, our body will react by relaxing, which feels really good for us. We can use this to take a mental vacation.
Follow these steps to take a mental vacation:
- Start by taking deep breathes and relaxing your muscles
- Once your muscles have relaxed, close your eyes
- Next, think about a place that you like. For example, if you like mountains, just imagine that you are on a mountain. If you like the beach, imagine you are on a beach. And so on
- Each place has unique air, sounds, sights, and smell. Try to imagine these as vividly as you can
- If you like the beach, imagine how the air feels, how the waves sounds, how the sights look, how the sea smells, and so on
- Experience it fully and remember how relaxing it is
If you just getting started, this exercise may take as long as 15 minutes before you can feel relaxed. As you become more proficient, you can do it for a shorter time while still enjoying the good feeling and sense of well-being.
6. Me Time
Many parents find taking a break and spend their time alone difficult. This is especially true for parents of children who have mental health conditions or special needs. Such as manage teenager with anger issue, many of us need a me time. Many of these parents feel that they need permission to have me time alone.
Even if you are a parent, that doesn’t mean you can’t have me time. It is normal and it is okay to take a break. Yes, including even from parenting. In fact, me time for the parents is actually healthy and beneficial not just for the parents but also for the children as well.
7. Progressive Relaxation
This exercise helps you to feel tension then relax progressively, starting from the lower part of your body and progressively move upward and ending on the chest.
The exercise goes like this:
- Tighten the muscles in your lower legs and feet.
- Feel the sensation as these muscles are getting tense. Then hold it for a while.
- Next, release the tension on these muscles. Do so gradually. Like when you tense the muscles, feel the gradual relaxation.
Do the same tightening, feeling the tense, and gradually relaxing on other muscle groups. Gradually moving upward as you progress.
After the lower legs and feet, move up to your hip muscles and upper legs, then continue to lower arms and hands, upper arms and shoulders, stomach, and finally, your chest.
Try this progressive relaxation daily. Once you do the relaxation for at least 10 sessions, you can try to gradually relax your muscles without tensing them first.
Try and see if your muscles can be relaxed without having to put them under tension. Don’t forget to take deep and slow breaths.
Must Read : 12 Advice for New Parents and Tips You Can’t Ignore
8. Seek Professional Help
If managing parental stress is something that you can deal with on your own, then good for you. Just remember that you don’t have to do everything alone.
If you feel overwhelmed, you can always seek professional help. Psychologists can help you deal with your stress by providing applicable strategies and applying stress management for parents.
Not only that, but psychologists can also provide you with resources regarding your child. For example, how to improve their functioning or reduce problem behaviors which cause parental stress. Again, no need to do everything alone. If you need help, go seek help.
Learning how to manage stress will give you the energy, perspective, and most importantly, patience, to be the ideal parent you want to be. Over time, you will be better at managing parental stress. Parenting can be stressful at times, yes, but the joy of your children always outweighs parental stress.