If you’re a parent, you may be asking yourself why you’re so stressed out. Many parents are feeling at wits end with world issues, health concerns concerning the Delta variant, school starting, and work changes. It’s expected to feel anxious, stressed, and angry – maybe more than you ever remember before.
Establishing a plan to destress is important for your personal mental health, but it’s also important for your child’s. Children are going through accelerated changes creating their own stress; when mom and dad are stressed, kids feel that stress, too. Parents want to do the best for their children. One of the easiest ways to assure that you are handling your child’s emotional health well is to begin with your own. Below are several tips for parents to restore calm, so they won’t lose it with their children.
1. Establish a community for yourself. No one is an island and connecting to others helps us calm down. Make a list of supportive people you can reach out to during distress and have a group text with other parents or friends. Use your support people when you’re feeling at wits end to help you step back. When you can find something to laugh about, it can help you lighten up.
2. Change your expectations. During stressful times, ask yourself if your expectations are out of control. When we’re stressed, we seek control. Part of that control is having order but expecting your children to behave perfectly when they are experiencing the same frustrations is unrealistic.
3. Identify your triggers. Everyone has sensitivity to specific feelings or topics. You know your triggers when your stomach tightens during a specific conversation or situation. If you feel on the verge of exploding, you won’t make rational decisions and often it’s those closest to you that get the blunt of your anger. Identifying your trigger can help you divert your response.
4. Conduct anxiety/stress checks throughout the day. It’s easier to calm down if you haven’t gotten to the tipping point. Set your phone alarm for every hour and do a quick check in. If you’re feeling stressed, try simple tactics such as texting a friend, stretch, breath, take a break and walk outside, or suck on an ice cube. These simple tricks can restore a sense of self control.
5. Ask for help. If you realize your stress is out of control and you are on edge most of the day, ask your support community for help. Parents are better parents when they take time away from their children; trading time with other parents gives you both a break. Seeking counseling to protect your mental health is important for you and the life of your children. If your stress has been constant for more than 2 weeks, it’s time to make an appointment for professional help.
Change is constant in life, and stress is constant with change. Learning to manage your stress is vital for protecting your mental health. Your children’s livelihood and success depend on taking time to restore your own mental health. You do so much for so many; don’t forget to take time to restore your own well-being by managing your stress.