Even “SuperParents” get stressed out. Kids are very demanding of a mother’s time and energy resources, and while children should be a high priority to every mom, stress sometimes results, and too much stress is harmful both mentally and physically.
Research has shown that constant, chronic stress can compromise your immune system, leaving you with weakened defenses against illness and disease. Stress also takes a toll mentally and emotionally and can leave you with a reduced ability to cope with situations that require clear-headedness.
When you’re really stressed out, the feelings eventually spill over into your entire life, your home life, your work and other aspects of your life. It’s known that stress can even contribute to heart disease, depression and the progression of cancer and other conditions.
For these reasons, it’s important to schedule time each to day de-stress and work on keeping stress levels manageable. The following are some suggestions to help you de-stress each day.
• Make an honest effort each morning to practice a stress reducing method such as meditation, prayer, or writing in a journal. Any of these can help you focus on your inner self and your spirit.
All have been found to help reduce stress simply by helping to bring awareness to what’s going on inside. Mediation is not difficult to learn and helps the practitioner to focus and be mindful.
Meditation helps with stress by bringing you to a more complete level of awareness and carries through the day. Prayer is helpful in reducing stress by connecting you with someone/something that is bigger than you and that can help you work through your day.
Writing in a journal works much like both meditation and prayer in that it helps you connect with what’s going on inside yourself, your joys and worries and helps your mind work through issues. Mediating, praying or journaling can also be effective at night before you go to bed.
• Get your exercise. Consistent exercise is very effective in reducing stress, and you don’t have to exercise for an hour a day to get the stress eliminating effects. Try to work a brisk walk into your day, or a trip to the gym or the yoga studio a few times a week.
Pop a dance DVD into the player and spend a half hour burning some calories and stress by dancing in your living room. Strap your little one into her stroller and go for a few laps around the block. Any exercise you get will help you de-stress. If you can schedule time everyday for some type of exercise, you’ll find that your stress levels come down naturally.
• Get out of the house! As important as it is for you to spend lots of time with your kids, you need time to yourself too. Schedule an afternoon a week, every other week or even once a month to get out and do something fun, whether it’s going for a jog in the park, joining your best friend for lunch and a movie or volunteering at the art center. It’s okay to leave the children with a trusted sitter once in a while so that you can have time to yourself.
• Stay in the house, but by yourself. See if your spouse, friend or relative will stay with the kids for a couple hours so that you can take a bubble bath and give yourself a pedicure. Put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the bathroom door, run a hot bath with scented bubbles, light a candle and put a fluffy towel next to the tub. Give yourself a good soak. When you get out, take time give yourself a manicure or pedicure with your favorite shade of nail color.
These are only a few ways to de-stress. Consider that fact that you need to de-stress in a way that works well for you and make an honest effort to schedule stress-reducing activities into your life. You’ll feel better and you’ll be a better, less stressed parent.