Parenting is a stressful job. You’re on call 24 hours a day, and you still have to manage the rest of your life around your kids’ needs. Approximately 7.5 million adults with depression have kids living with them at home, and 15 million children live with at least one depressed adult in the house.
Stress, burnout, and brain fog are all byproducts of parenting, but you don’t have to face them alone. Check out these stress management tips for parents, courtesy of CNLD Testing & Therapy.
Identify the Primary Stressors in Your Life
You probably feel overwhelmed by everything right now, but chances are there are specific stressors at play. When you identify those key causes, you can find effective solutions for them.
Are you stressed about finances? Are you struggling to maintain your house? Is your work productivity suffering because of outside commitments? Do you feel like you never get time to yourself?
Think about what bothers you most or what you’d find the most relief from resolving. Then work on ways to target that stress head-on.
Prioritize Time Commitments
Many parents find themselves stretched for time. This is especially true for new parents or parents transitioning from one child to two. What you used to be able to accomplish in a certain time just isn’t possible any longer, and that’s OK! It’s time to start organizing your time commitments and eliminating the low-priority ones.
PS: We know it’s difficult to say no. You may feel even more stressed thinking about letting someone down. Rest assured, this feeling will be temporary. The positives of having more time will outweigh the negatives of letting go.
Seek Support for the Areas You’re Struggling in
There’s a reason people say “it takes a village to raise a child.” You’re not meant to do everything by yourself.
Ask for help. Do not feel bad about it. Don’t feel weak or insecure either. This is entirely normal. Need someone to get groceries, clean your house or watch your child while you take a nap? Talk to your support system and make that happen.
Create a Healthy Work/Life Balance (Don’t Bring Work Home)
Stress from work can bleed into your personal time. Do your best to prevent that. The golden rule is to leave work at work. Do not answer work messages until the following work day, unless you’re in an on-call profession. Focus on your family and yourself when you’re at home to keep stress to a minimum.
Get as Much Sleep as Possible
Sleep? With children? Hahahahaha!
As laughable as that seems, you have to do what you can. Your sleep directly impacts your mental health. When your body rests, your mind processes thoughts, including stress. If you’re not sleeping, you’re not working through stressful situations. Prioritize sleep so you can be equipped to face the next day.
Learn more: How to Get Better Sleep for Better Mental Health
Find Ways to Channel Your Stress and Relieve the Pressure
All that stress needs somewhere to go. This may result in an emotional blowout or breakdown if the stress is left unchecked.
To combat this, try to channel your stress into an activity. Take a walk around the park with your kids or practice meditation. Get a punching bag to pound out your frustrations, or relax with an adult coloring book. Try different techniques until you find something that takes the edge off the stress. Then make that a part of your daily/weekly routine.
Schedule Reset Days with No Responsibilities
Never underestimate the power of doing absolutely nothing. Having a single day of no responsibilities may be all you need to refocus your mind and empower you to move forward.
If possible, have someone else watch your children for a day. You may be tempted to use this time to clean up or catch up on activities, but don’t plan that just yet! Instead, leave the day open to do nothing. Take a nap or two. Lay around on the couch all day. If you feel motivated later, that’s fine, but don’t put any pressure on yourself for this day.
Take Advantage of Personal Health Days at Work
Many employers offer paid or penalty-free mental health days for employees. Use these to your advantage. Schedule a mental health day for a time when you have adequate childcare so you can focus on yourself for the day. You deserve that!
Vent about Your Stress to a Trusted Support System
Sometimes all you need is to get the stress in your brain out into the universe. Talk to a friend, family member, therapist, or other supporters about the stress you’re facing. This should be someone who will not make you feel judged or weak. Discuss all of your struggles, big and small, and consider journaling about them for additional relief.
CNLD Testing & Therapy offers judgment-free counseling for parents and families. A therapist can help you find personalized solutions for stress management that you can use well into the future. Our office is located at:
CNLD Testing & Therapy
5864 Interface Dr., Ste. D
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Contact us at (734) 994-9466 to schedule an appointment for stress management therapy.