Posted on 03/21/2014 at 12:00 AM by Embria Health Sciences
By Julie Revelant
Parenthood is a never-ending roller coaster ride. It’s filled with extreme highs and lows every single day. One minute you’re so overwhelmed with love for your kids nothing could make you happier; and the next you’re so stressed out by a work deadline, unpaid bill, or disagreement you had with a family member that you could just, well, scream! Add to that the stress from inevitable curveballs life throws you, and it’s enough to make anyone feel irritable, anxious and just plain exhausted.
As a full-time stay-at-home and part-time work-at-home mom, with two under 2-years-old, and a husband who averages 80-hour workweeks, I know the stress/happiness seesaw all too well. We know that stress works on us emotionally, psychologically and physically, but it also actually weakens our immune system. So, managing stress can be a key part of supporting a healthy, happy family.
I’m depleted most days by the frequent feedings and diaper changes, meltdowns, tantrums and time-outs, the constant cooking and cleaning, and never ending errands and lists of to-do’s.
But all of the hugs, kisses and cuddles of raising little ones? They magically make it the best ride of our life.
If you’re feeling stressed out, you’re not alone. Forty-two percent of adults say their stress levels have increased over the past five years, according to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association. Kids aren’t immune to stress either with teens’ who report even higher stress levels than adults according to the same survey.
Here are 6 things that have helped my family de-stress and they may help you too.
1. Eat Healthy Sugar, salt, caffeine and anything processed might feel real good to eat but these foods won’t do anything for your stress levels. Instead, focus on whole foods that will give you enough sustaining energy to deal with stress: fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
2. Exercise The endorphin rush you get from working out can help improve sleep, concentration, and manage stress. Make it a family affair by going for a bike ride, a walk, or playing a game of catch.
3. Plan Family Meals Eating together, even if it’s just 3 dinners a week, or breakfast every morning, is a great way to communicate and connect with your kids when life is so hectic. When we connect socially, our immune systems stay strong. Sharing stories and laughing together can foster appreciation for one another, foster a sense of gratitude and in turn, keep stress levels in check.
4. Sleep You know you need more sleep, but making it happen is always a challenge. Yet with enough shut eye each night, you’ll be less irritable and more equipped to deal with daily stress. Adults need 7 to 9 hours a sleep a night, while kids need much more.
5. Say “no” If rushing around to after-school activities or volunteering for the PTA is stressing you and your family out, prioritize what is really important and start saying no to everything else.
6. Take a Time Out You and your kids need quiet time every day to relax and recharge. Even if it’s for 10 minutes, put the electronics aside, take a few deep breaths, meditate, or do a few yoga poses. Oh, yeah, cuddling counts, too.
Share your thoughts with us! What does your family do to de-stress?