dealing with stress

Author: one tough job

Before the alarm goes off the day’s checklist is on replay. From school runs to grocery store stops and the never-ending pile of laundry, your stress level may be dialed high even before your morning cup of coffee. Taking care of yourself, slowing down, and finding balance in the busyness of life and parenting seems impossible. There is no perfect plan or one right way that works for everyone, but we believe these five practices can be very helpful to reduce stress. So relax for a moment and read.

Give yourself a break. Parenting is a tough job and it doesn’t come with a detailed how-to guide. You are doing your best so try not to be too hard on yourself! You’re learning as you go, and things may not always be just the way you’d expect or what it might look for someone else. Know that this is OK.

Celebrate the wins, big and small. Whether it’s managing to get your toddler to eat veggies or making it to the end of the day, the truth is you got out of bed and faced the challenges of the day. That in and of itself is a win. Congratulations!

Ask for help. Sometimes asking for help is one of the hardest things to do. More often than not, the people around you want to help you, but they simply may not know how. Letting a partner, friend or family member know what you need is an important way to deal with stress. If you are new to the area or family might be too far away, you can check out onetoughjob's resource finder to help you find support groups and other activities to connect with other parents like you.

Try to slow down. Be in the moment. We are by no means experts in the field of mindful practices but here are some helpful tips drawn from mindfulness.com. Stop, wherever you are and take several deep breaths, focus on yourself and your surroundings. The goal is to pay attention to the present moment, the here and now, but without judgement. There is no pressure to quiet the mind or to stop thinking about what needs to be done, rather in the midst of all that is to pay attention to what is going on in your body and around you. Release yourself from judging and listen to your breathing to help reduce obsessing over the content of your thoughts.

Schedule time for alone time. Ideally, set aside 15 or 20 minutes per day to do something you enjoy. Anything! The demands of playing multiple roles in your life as a parent, a partner, a son or daughter helping aging parents, and working outside of the home are real. It may be impossible to take time for yourself every day, but it can be invaluable to keeping your own sanity.

And finally, be kind to yourself, parenting is one tough job.

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