Stress is ever present in the life of a parent. It comes from external factors: our child, our environment, the way people respond to our parenting, daily challenges; but also from internal factors, the way we evaluate our children’s behavior, our personal struggles with self-doubt, self-criticism, and other negative mindsets.
Excess stress levels, whether from internal or external pressures, make it hard to parent peacefully. However, the negativity that is often a function of stress needn’t ruin the fleeting moments we have with our children.
One of the best ways to combat stress is to turn inward and focus on being present. Living in the moment allows us to set aside the chaos that lives in all our heads. In return, we free ourselves of the “should haves” and “what ifs” and replace negativity with peace.
Below are 7 simple tips to reduce stress in your life and bring back the positivity in your parenting.
Follow Their Lead
At least once a day, try to fulfill one of your child’s requests with enthusiasm. If your child asks you to join in their play, do so with joy and really apply yourself in the game. Don’t think about the million things you should be doing; be a child in the moment, if only for a moment. When you are participating in their world, let them take the lead. Don’t try to imply rules or structure in their game. Just go along with what they are doing.
Embrace Your Position
All to often as parents we fall into the trap of relegating our role as mom or dad to that of “just another job.” This thinking can quickly turn an opportunity for joy into another something that must be checked off a “to do” list. Infuse positivity into your family by embracing your role as the parent. This can be as simple as relishing in each moment you have to be a mentor in your child’s life. No job has rewards as big as these.
Everything Your Child Does Is An Act Of Love
Changing how you think about your child’s actions can help you reformulate your response. Turn negative into positive. Instead of seeing your child as clingy, try to understand why she might need you in the moment. When your child acts out, is he really asking for your undivided attention? You are the most important person in the world of your little one. Isn’t that wonderful? Instead of getting cross or frustrated, thank them for the love they have for you.
Connect With Your Partner
While it might not seem like the priority when struggling to carefully balance the needs of your family, it is crucial to focus on your relationship with your partner. Keeping this love alive will not only benefit this relationship, but your emotional state and that of your entire family. To keep this love flowing, invest time and energy in your relationship. Small considerations can make a world of difference. Both you and your partner will feel better if you find yourself loved and appreciated.
Vent or Release Negative Energy
If you find yourself feeling low, reach out or get out. By simply calling a friend and processing your feelings or taking a moment to go for a run, you cleanse yourself of negative energy. Sitting alone and soaking in your negative feelings is only going to push you further down, or worse, force you to be impatient with those you love.
Find A Community
Be it an online forum or a group of like minded people in your neighborhood, finding a community of people who share your passions and interests is essential to staying sane. Connecting with other people will make you feel less isolated and it will give you an outlet to de-stress in a positive way.
Get up and move! Exercise creates endorphins that make you happy. Need more reasons?
Just half an hour of physical activity can do oodles for your general health. It is too easy to use having a child as an excuse rather than a motivator towards an active lifestyle. There are millions of activities you can do with your child- playing tag, building a fort, exploring your world… The bonus is two-fold, not only will physical activity help you dust away the cobwebs in your mind, you will model a healthy lifestyle for your little one.
Try incorporating these tips into your everyday life. You might just find yourself in better shape, physically and mentally, and more apt to take on the multitude of challenges we face as parents, peacefully.
Photo credit: ksvignette
Laura ‘Mamapoekie’ Schuerwegen is raising her free child under the tropical African sun. She blogs at Authentic Parenting about parenting and living closer to nature.