Parenting isn’t easy. The second your feet touch the floor in the morning, you are straight into the busy daily schedule. It doesn’t matter what age or stage your kiddos are at; juggling the demands of parenting can leave you feeling stressed and burned out.
A recent survey revealed that 70% of mothers and 54% of fathers reported feeling overwhelmed in the last two weeks. While these figures may not be surprising, it’s important to recognize that sustained parental stress can cause significant physical and mental health concerns.
For this reason, it’s crucial that you find ways to relax and achieve balance to avoid overwhelm and burnout. We know you’re busy, so we’ve put together a handy guide on how tired parents can destress to help you.
As parents, it’s natural to place the needs of your kiddos ahead of your own. But you can’t pour from an empty cup. It’s important that you take time to recharge so that you can continue to show up each day and care for your family.
Acts of self care don’t need to be lengthy or complicated. In fact, sometimes, taking microbreaks throughout the day can be an excellent strategy for relieving stress.
Self-care looks different for everyone, but here are some activities to think about incorporating into your daily schedule:
- Practice a short yoga routine.
- Listen to a meditation.
- Ground yourself through prayer.
- Take a warm bath.
- Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee (and slow down and drink it while it’s still warm).
- Indulge in a pamper session with a face mask.
- Call a friend and have a moment of connection with a fellow adult.
Self-care is not selfish. Furthermore, when we intentionally practice self-care, we are modeling healthy behavior for our children that will benefit them for years to come.
Make time for exercise
We know finding the time to fit in a workout is hard. But when we talk about how tired parents can destress, exercise is one of the most powerful tools you can harness.
Physical activity increases the production of neurotransmitters and endorphins in the brain, resulting in a host of mental health benefits, including:
- Improved mood
- Increased focus and mental clarity
- Reduced stress hormones
- Improved sleep
Your workouts don’t need to be intense to reap the benefits. Walking, dancing, swimming, cycling…the options are endless. The key is finding an activity that you enjoy and look forward to, then committing to carving out time in your schedule so that it becomes a regular habit.
Take time to laugh
We’ve all heard the expression, “laughter is the best medicine.” But this isn’t just an old saying. Laughing has direct physiological effects on the body, including improving your immune system, relieving pain, and soothing stress and tension.
So, find some ways to bring a little more fun and laughter into your life. Watch a comedy on Netflix or even a short video online and enjoy the stress-reducing benefits of a good giggle.
Write down your thoughts
Have you ever felt like your brain has too many tabs open? You know, the mental equivalent of having multiple browser windows active on your computer, all competing for your attention!
Most parents can relate to this feeling, and it’s not surprising, given the expanding to-do lists, responsibilities, and worries that must be juggled daily.
Try keeping a journal beside your bed where you can write down your thoughts and clear your head of any stress and anxiety. Journalling can also be a great way to challenge negative thinking. So, get a pen and transfer all that stress out of your head and into a journal.
There is a bidirectional relationship between sleep and stress. When we experience heightened levels of stress, it adversely affects the quality of our sleep, and then, in turn, insufficient sleep causes further elevation of stress and anxiety. It can become a vicious cycle, so it’s vital that you prioritize sleep and find ways to wind down and relax in the evening.
A consistent bedtime routine with calming activities can settle your nervous system and prepare you for sleep. This opportunity to unwind is a great time to incorporate self-care with options like a warm bath, meditation, and a soothing cup of tea.
In addition to implementing your new routine, try to go to bed at the same time each night, as this will help regulate your sleep-wake cycle. And finally, be sure to put your phone down. Although it can be tempting to steal some “me time” scrolling on your device, the blue light emitted from the screen disrupts the production of melatonin required for quality sleep.
Reach out for support
Learning how tired parents can destress and applying strategies that work for you is a great start. But sometimes, it’s not enough, and the stress can be overwhelming. So don’t be afraid to put your hand up and ask for support. Reach out to a trusted friend or seek professional guidance to get the help you need.
Sleepy on Hudson is committed to supporting you in any way we can. We know parenting can be tough and may leave you feeling alone in your challenges. But you are not alone, mama.
Contact us today to explore how we can help you and your family sleep more sweetly.