Dealing with Parenting Stress

Parenting is difficult. It stresses you out. Regardless of if you’re a new mom or on your third child, the daily trails will wear you out.

When you’re stressed, your children will feel it and oftentimes end up getting stressed or upset as well. Constant stress also affects your health, your mood and your interactions with others.

In general, it’s just not great.

That’s why we’ve put together some of our favorite tips for dealing with the stressors that come with the joys of parenting. We hope they help you as much as they’ve helped us!

Maintain a Positive Outlook

When we’re stressed we tend to focus on all of the negativity floating around and how nothing is going right for us. Try to stray from this path. It is an unhealthy slippery slope that will be difficult to recover from.

So remember, positivity breeds positivity.

When your child is acting out, try not to anticipate that whatever he or she does next will also be a “bad news” situation. When we focus on bad things, bad things continue to happen. When you do this, you will actually create a full-circle of self-fulfilling prophecies, which is a parent’s worst nightmare.

Instead, focus on the positivity of each and every situation. Maintain a strong mental attitude that things will go better next time and you’re more likely to see positive responses.

Think about it, have you ever been in a better mood after encountering someone with a negative attitude? The chances are pretty slim. The same model of thinking can be applied to parenting. Negative attitudes are breeding grounds for stress, anxiety and a general gloomy outlook.

Sometimes it is hard to stay positive, so focus on small things first. When there is good news or your child is in a happy mood, seize the opportunity1. Reflect on their energy and keep everything going in that direction. Happiness is contagious and a happy child is much less stressful than an upset child!

Learn From the Bad

From time to time, bad things will happen. It’s inevitable, but shouldn’t be dwelled upon. Instead, see it as a learning experience and try to look at the situation from a fresh angle1.

Rather than focusing on emotions of a situation, look at it objectively and try and reappraise when happened. In multiple studies that were conducted on this subject, it was found that positive cognitive reappraisal actually helps people bounce back from emotionally stressful situations1.

This type of learning allows us to take a second to breathe and see what the bigger picture is. It allows us to learn what went wrong and how we will be able to better handle similar situations in the future, which leads to less reactive stress and more love and laughter.

Teach Children to Self-Cope

One of the hardest things about remaining calm in stressful situations is trying to calm down an equally stressed child. When things go bad for them, it transmits into you and you can’t help but feel sympathy for their emotional reactions, no matter how mundane they are.

Unfortunately, children aren’t born with the capability to regulate their own emotions. They are tornadoes of simple reactions strung together by what they learn.

This is why it is crucial for us to teach them how to handle their own stress.

If we don’t, they have the potential to turn into anxiety-ridden adults who stress out over daily situations. Trust us, this isn’t healthy for anyone.

In order to help develop emotional self-regulation in children, try engaging in relaxing, upbeat and constructive talks about emotions beginning from the time they enter preschool1. It is also helpful if there are siblings around, as you will help teach them to negotiate and remain calm.

Simplify Life

Life gets pretty crazy and the crazier it get’s, the more stressful small things become.

If you live in an unorganized space, chances are your life follows the chaos and becomes equally unorganized. It increases the amount of time it takes to get things done and thus makes you feel like you have no time for anything.

Remember, chaos breeds chaos.

Take some time to get your home organized and try and maintain it throughout each week. When you start off the morning in a sense of chaos, it causes you to start your day off with unnecessarily elevated levels of stress2. This turns into an uphill battle for the rest of the day and often times rolls over into the next day.

In order to avoid these stressful mornings, try to establish a system and a set of routines in your household. Try to tune in on both location and time in order to get things in check2. When things are out of place, it takes longer to finish your task and thus lead to either you, your child or your whole family being late.

Practice time management and try to stick to a set schedule every day. Routines help to create familiarity and comfort for children and will also help you maintain your sanity2.

Another way to simplify your life is to make sure that you only try to tackle one thing at a time. Juggling tasks is counterproductive and leads to stress as well as mindless mistakes3.

Get Support

Establishing a support system will help you save your sanity as parenting continues to develop and change. Don’t be embarrassed about reaching out for help; everyone needs it at some point or another.

Never assume that you can do anything completely alone, especially if you are new to parenting.

Talk to your friends who are parents, talk to your own parents or even join a support group. These people are here to help walk you through some of the basic stresses that come with parenting and should not be ignored!

You should also be proactive. Don’t wait for people to make offers to help you, if you need them then go to them2. Take some of the weight off of your shoulders… you deserve it!

Don’t Neglect “Me-Time”

Finally, but most importantly, never neglect “me-time.”

When you stop giving yourself time to do things that you love, or things that keep you healthy, your stress levels begin to climb4.

Learn how to relax and let other people deal with things every once in a while. Your partner will be able to handle one night alone with the kids. You can even go as far as even hiring a babysitter… gasp! Take time to continue doing fun things and inspire yourself. It will give you a positive way to relieve stress without loosing yourself in the process.

You should also never neglect exercising! Exercise is one of the best stress-relieving activities that you can do. Bonus points for if you exercise by doing something that you actually enjoy. It will help you cope with your stress while simultaneously increasing your health3.

General Stress Relievers

Along with these parenting specific stress-relievers, don’t forget some of the most basic ways to help combat stress!

– Take a long walk
– Practice yoga
– Unplug from technology
– Take a long bath
– Stop procrastinating
– Plan ahead
– Say no from time to time
– Practice meditation
– Take deep breaths
– Keep a journal
– Talk with a friend
– Live one day at a time
– Practice compassion
– Delegate responsibilities

If you need more ideas, check out WebMD’s list of how to handle the stress of a new baby.

Conclusion
We hope that this list will help you decrease the inevitable stress that comes with the joyous task of parenting. If you find that you are overly stressed and are having a hard time coping, it could be beneficial to consider seeking professional help. There is no shame in reaching out to someone who is trained in helping you conquer your mind! Seeking help could be the perfect way for you to grasp the situation and help get your mind back on track. If you have any tips on how you personally handled the stresses of parenting, comment on our Facebook page! We are always up for suggestions or additional ways to help all of the mothers out there.

You can also find more great pregnancy tips, info, and product reviews on our website. Don’t forget to order your insurance covered breast pump through Byram Healthcare!

SOURCES

1http://www.parentingscience.com/parenting-stress-evidence-based-tips.html
2https://adrenalfatiguesolution.com/parenting-stress/
3http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/04/nine-steps-to-stress-free-parenting_n_1403209.html
4https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-race-good-health/201306/4-tips-managing-parenting-stress

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