By: Stephanie Shabangu, Penfield Children’s Center
We’ve all been there. From parenting to work to taking care of the house – life can become overwhelming! And, when you as the parent don’t get any down time, the demands of being mom and dad can be very stressful.
It’s important to practice self-care as a parent so that you can be the best mom/dad to your child, but also for your own wellbeing because you matter too!
Check out these tips for finding your calm amidst life’s chaos.
- Schedule relaxation. Just as you add soccer practice and work deadlines to the calendar, schedule in an activity or two each day to bring you peace and allow you to clear your head. These activities don’t need to take up a lot of time either, because let’s face it, time is not always on your side. When you schedule relaxation, it will start to become part of your daily routine and you will look forward to these moments. Ideas include walking/running a mile, sitting at your kitchen table for 5 minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee or watching a favorite show when the kids go to bed.
- Breathe. This might sound like a no-brainer, but how many times have you actually sat down and taken a deep breath? Oftentimes, we feel stress because we feel that we’re not in control of our lives, ourselves and/or the situation at hand. An easy way to ground yourself and take control is to control your breath. Close your eyes and take 5 deep breaths. If you’re still on edge, take five more. Concentrate on the air coming into your nose and out your mouth. Deep breathing is also a great way to show your child how to calm himself. If he sees his parent taking deep breaths when she’s stressed instead of yelling, he’s more likely to make a similar positive choice when he’s upset.
- Play. Do as your child is doing. Join your child in the backyard and run around, set up an obstacle course or throw a football. Forget your to do list for awhile and PLAY! This will help clear your head, get the blood flowing and allow you to spend quality time with your child. At work and feeling overwhelmed? Take a couple laps around your building, up the stairs, down the stairs, around the parking lot and back. Whatever you do, keep moving!
- Add water. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is to just.add.water. Toddler throwing a tantrum? Make sure your little one is safe and remove yourself from the situation and drink a glass of water. Stressed about the upcoming week? Add water. Take a shower, go for a swim, brew a cup of tea.
While keeping yourself relaxed is key, find ways to also help others. Simple acts of kindness like asking an overwhelmed parent at the playground if their child would like to join your family’s game of tag or holding the door for a parent with a stroller will go a long way and give you a sense that you are not only in control of your own life, but also able to help others when they need it.
How do you practice relaxation as a parent?