Stressed parents are working full time jobs, running the kids around town, and trying to keep up with the house. They seem to always be going in a million different directions and are trying to do everything for everyone. Except themselves.
Most stressed out moms and dads are good at taking care of their children's needs, but struggle when it comes to taking care of their own. If you and your spouse are stressed parents, it's time to re-think, re-group, and re-prioritize!
When you have a busy life and many people to take care of, it is tough to think about your own needs. However, if you find that you are constantly stressed out, the only way that will change is if you force yourself to think about your needs too.
For those of us who are always looking after others, it sometimes feels selfish to want or need to think about ourselves. But I want you to re-think about the way you view selfishness and realize that some selfishness is necessary... otherwise, you might as well give up now and accept the fact that you'll be living a stressful life.
Stressed parents who don't take care of themselves run the risk of someday being unable to help anyone else, including their kids. Your kids want what's best for you... and they want the best of you. They need you to be healthy and happy. And when you spend time with your kids, the time will be much more useful, fun, and memorable if you are taking care of yourself.
Now that you're beginning to think about how important it is that you take care of yourself and your stress, it's time to get started!
If you're reading this, you most likely have found a few minutes of free time. So the good news is, even though it may not feel like it... you do occasionally have a few spare moments to focus on yourself and stress management. For stressed parents, or anyone with very little free time, it's important to begin to recognize those moments when you have them. And it's even more important to take advantage of them.
Use the spare time you have today (no matter how little it may be) to do something that you enjoy and that will help you to relax and re-group. People who are constantly on the go or always busy helping others, need to remember to re-charge their batteries from time-to-time.
Start by getting out a piece of paper, or use the memo pad in your head, to write down some activities that you can do to minimize your stress. Take into account the amount of time you'll have available and choose activities that you will actually be able to participate in.
Stressed parents often have problems with the priorities in their lives. Often the order goes something like this: Kids, Work, Relatives, House, etc. And there are many things on this list before they list themselves. If you are one of those... it's time to re-order!
I've already discussed how difficult it is to help others and be there for others (especially your children) if you aren't being taken care of... if you aren't taking care of yourself. And I'm not asking you to bump your children off the list and throw yourself at the top, but I am asking you to put yourself somewhere in the Top 3. Yes, the Top 3... not 4, 5, or 6.
Make a commitment to yourself to make you a high priority. If you have a spouse, this is something you can work on together. Stressed parents can, and should, come together as a team to make sure that each of them is getting a top spot on the priority list.
Sit down with your spouse (even if it's late at night, after work and after the kids are in bed) and come to some kind of agreement... make a plan. You may be surprised to learn that you are already on the top of your spouse's priority list and they will be happy that you want to put yourself there as well. And you will be happy to get your spouse back on the top of his/her priority list as well. Helping each other manage stress can also help you strengthen your marriage.
Let your spouse know what kinds of things will help you manage your stress, and find out what will help them manage theirs. Then discuss some times when this would be possible. Allow each person to have their own time... or even plan to have time together.
Stress Tip: If you are like many stressed parents who are raising children on your own, or if you just need extra help, you might consider a parenting coach such as Annie Desantis from InspiredParentingTips.com.
And don't get worried and think I'm talking about time you don't have. Although you will need to make some time (that's part of the re-prioritizing), if you look hard enough, you will find that you have some time already... you just need to recognize it and take advantage of it. Besides, many activities that can help reduce your stress are not time consuming and won't even require a conversation with your spouse.
For example, when you're transporting your kids all around town, make sure you're playing music in your car that makes you feel good... and make sure you're singing along! Invite your kids to sing along too! Time in the car can be turned into something everyone looks forward to.
Don't forget how important you are. You already know that you need to manage your stress better, or you wouldn't be on this site. Take it seriously, but don't forget to enjoy the ride!
If you can do these things and find ways to manage your stress, not only will you no longer be one of those stressed parents, your relationships with your spouse and children will improve... and the time you spend together will be even more enjoyable.