Many parents feel stressed almost every alternate day and it is biggest challenge stress management for parents. It is applicable to moms mostly, but fathers are not left out from this challenge. Stress is more when children are at home throughout the day i.e. they are not going to school, they are very young. More stress is observed in working parents. This group of parents experience stress irrespective of whether children are going to school or not. This continued stress leads to frustration, depression, anger etc. It can also lead to angry behavior with children in longer run. This makes it very important to understand the causes behind stress, and trying to address those. Each parent can have own stress management plan, which is very personalized and effective. Let us get into details of this parent’s stress management.
What Makes Parents Get Stressed?
There are going to be many answers to this question. Also each answer is going to be very person specific. If we look at all of these answers, there are few common reasons. Here is a list of few important and common reasons behind stress. Feel free to share if you have come across any different reason.
We can call it a day, a week, and even month long routine. Everyday parent’s day starts with similar thing, continues throughout the day with same activities one by one, and finally left with almost no energy when it is time to go to bed. Set of activities are repeated for days, even weeks and months for few parents. This is applicable to many housewives. Such monotonous routine makes one feel boring and subsequently stressed.
Lack of Free Time/Lack of Time for Oneself
Things keep coming to you one after another, and you are left with no time at the end of day. This also keeps on piling up personal things. No time to pay attention to one’s likings and hobbies. I have also seen parents not watching a movie for months even though they want to.
Children show considerable tantrums until they are of age 6 -7 years. These tantrums make parents feel tired and stressed.
Many working parents experience this. They need to focus on children, give priority to children and sometimes feel that they are not doing enough to keep career on track. Sometimes clashing workloads and family responsibilities also stress such parents.
By induced, I mean it may not be actually strong stress, but it is felt more because of one or other reason. E.g. mom is doing considerable work but it is not recognized and appreciated, nobody is helping her, etc.
Important question is how to make parents free from stress? How to reduce stress, at least to certain extent? I recollect an interesting story which is relevant here.
A motivational speaker enters into a class room of working professionals, with a glass of water in his hand. He keeps the glass on a table in front. He asks a question to one of the person sitting in front, “How stressful or difficult is it for you to lift up this glass with one hand?” That person laughs and says not at all. That speaker asks another question, “Will it be stressful for you if I ask you to lift it and hold up for two hours?” The class goes silent. Moral is – smaller problem kept for very long time becomes troubling.
Similarly, it may be a small stress, but if we allow it to be there for very long time, it is going to harm, it is going to create trouble. Hence we need to make ourselves stress free. Here are few techniques that have worked and might work with you as well.
Apply 80 – 20 Rule
Sit down; write down everything that you feel is causing stress to you. Rank them in a sequence from one that causes more stress to one causing lower. It is purely based on your analysis. Also, write down the approximate percent of stress caused by each cause. If the ranking is done properly, select the top ones that are causing most of the stress. It may also be possible that top 20% of causes are creating 80% of stress. These 20% need to be attacked first. Below are few techniques that work most of the times.
What are Natural and Common Stress Busters?
There are many, right? All of us have our own stress busters. Some of us feel good if we go to garden, while others feel good while playing with children, and so on. Here are commons stress-busting techniques along with few root cause removing techniques. You can try one or more of these.
Many times, the stress is due to unavailability of time, and better time management is actually better stress management. List down the work you want to do. Prioritize those. Group the ones that can be done together, and finish the ones which are actually required. Throw those which can be thrown. You will find some time getting freed up. Sometimes you will find more than expected time getting free. It will also reduce the pressure of piled up tasks. Now you know you are going to do what, hence there won’t be stress of those things.
Utilize Free Time to Rejuvenate Yourself
With better time management, there will be free time. Utilize this time to do what you feel you should be doing. Use it to rejuvenate yourself. Do something that you enjoy doing, you like. Sometimes watching TV programs, taking a walk, even just sitting idle helps to feel relaxed. Some kind of sport or workout also helps. Do something that you are craving to do for very long time.
Take a Break
I don’t mean – leave everything and go to forest. Take a break from routine life. It can be as simple as going out at 4 PM in the evening with entire family and children, spending time in garden, and having dinner outside, it can be planning a day long outing, etc.
Try Your Favorite Stress Busters
Each one of us knows what we enjoy most. As a stress buster, try those. Pull out time to do what you like.
Learn a proper meditation technique and mediate regularly. There are many benefits of meditation including stress reduction. So this is also a good option giving long term benefits.
Children are Also Best Stress Buster
I personally find this a very effective technique – having fun with kids. They are bundle of joy, as you start playing with them; you forget everything, even your age. You will also feel stress relieved with this act.
Offload Some of the Work
See if you can share some of your workload. It can be buying some service if possible. It can be teaching children to do some of the things on their own. Try getting help from your partner. Grandparents also provide some help and so on. Sharing of responsibilities can make one feel better, it can make more time available for individuals, which can be used to reduce stress further.
Appreciate Your Better Half
Very effective techniques – acknowledge and appreciate your partner for the effort he/she is putting. Say you are doing great job, while managing children and your job. This is a wonderful stress buster. In fact it may require no other stress remover at all.
Accumulating stress can have adverse effects on the person under stress as well as people surrounding. Hence it is good to offload it as early as possible using one of the above techniques or any other method that you find useful.