*This is a collaborative post.
Stress. It’s something we all get in many varying doses. Maybe it’s about being ill-equipped for the realities of parenthood or it’s something that we are unable to control for various reasons, stress soon impacts on every aspect of our life, whether we realise it or not. And if you are used to operating in this state, it becomes normal. Before you know it, tiredness, worry, and general ill health begin to snowball. Life comes with a multitude of stresses, and when we’re a parent, this can be our default mode, and while a little bit of stress is good for motivation, when we live with this day in and day out, it’s very dangerous. But life is so busy now we don’t have an opportunity in which to look after ourselves properly. What are the solutions when you’re a busy parent with so many duties in life, from work to the kids’ extra-curricular activities, that you have no time for yourself?
Structuring The Week
We can feel overwhelmed with the various tasks we have, especially when it’s only halfway through Monday, and we’ve got to make it to Friday without breaking down. We can feel stressed because we don’t have any control over the circumstances, but one way to regain this is to plan your week as best as you can. Of course, children will always have other ideas to put a spanner your best-laid plans, and so it’s not about sticking rigidly to this timetable, but by having a structure in which to hang your week upon you know where you are at any given time. Some people don’t like the idea of structure, and prefer to wing it, but when you’ve got so many things to do, and so little time to do it in, at the very least, making a to-do list and ticking off the items one by one will give you that feeling of accomplishment. Sometimes we don’t feel capable of doing anything past 5 o’clock, but what we have to do when we have these inevitable energy slumps is make it a point to have a break. It doesn’t have to be idle downtime where you feel guilty that you should be doing something, think about something a bit more restorative, like a bath, or a yoga class. Having some form of exercise, mental or physical, does the body and the mind a world of good.
Take The Business Approach And “Outsource”
Outsourcing your duties gives you more free time to play with. Outsourcing is when you give the duties to someone else. In life, this can work in your favour. If you have a million things to do, like when once a month, picking medication up becomes one task too much, especially when you’re not in the habit of it, companies like Simple Online Pharmacy can contact the GP and deliver the items to you. And when you think about the tasks where you have to go somewhere out of the way, like shopping, is it easier to have your shopping delivered at a specific time, so it saves you the hassle of going out, especially when you only have the opportunity to do it on a Friday night, when you feel that you should be relaxing! You can do this with so many other things, such as the house being cleaned professionally, and if you’re really busy, picking a couple of things to outsource could make all the difference.
Listen To Your Body And Mind
For some reason, we take pride in saying that we’re tired, or that we’re working too hard. We view it as some sort of badge of honour, but after a few years of doing this, the grey hairs increase, and the wrinkles double, how do we stop listening to our body when it tells us to slow down? Pushing through stress isn’t always a good thing. Acclimatising to certain pressures can be beneficial for us, but when we have this never-ending feeling of duties weighing us down, we will succumb to the pressures eventually. This is why mindfulness is such an essential practice for every parent. If we took the opportunity for 10 minutes a day to check in with ourselves and see how we’re feeling, we can then take the appropriate measures to wind down. Most of us go a million miles an hour, and only stop when it’s time to sleep. But the danger of this is that our brains can whir around so much at the end of the day, it takes an hour or longer to settle to sleep. So what do we do while our brains are whizzing around? We look at our phones. You need to get a blue light filter for your phone, and this will minimise that stress hormone cortisol increasing, which can directly impact your sleep. And if you are in the habit of putting your children to sleep and then slumping down on the couch with a big glass of wine, maybe it’s time to give yourself a better bedtime routine? And while we feel we’ve earned that glass of wine, which we most definitely have, it’s not doing us any favours as far as preparing our body for the next day is concerned. When we’ve got a million things to do, we have to start the night before. Lay your clothes out, get the kids’ lunches ready, but also give yourself that time to wind down properly. A bedtime routine isn’t something that’s beneficial for the children; we should do this as well.
Learn The Art Of Saying “No”
That pressure to say “yes” to everything can be overwhelming, especially as a parent. You feel that you need to give your children as many opportunities as possible, so you take them everywhere, but if you are getting the very distinct impression that you are taking on all of these duties yourself, something has got to give. Compromise will work, but for your own sake, you have to learn how to say “no”. There are so many out there that are people pleasers, and if this is you, you may take some pride in the fact that you’re bending over backwards for everyone, but are you getting anything in return? And also, is it doing you any favours? You have to say “no”. When you’re so stressed out with life’s endless duties, adding another thing onto an already busy schedule is going to be the undoing of you. Regardless of who it is, learning the art of saying “no” can be hard to begin with, because you can feel guilty that you’ve disappointed them, but if you spend your entire life saying “yes”, try saying “no” a few times, and you will feel more empowered for it. You’ll begin to look at everything from both sides, and whether there’s another way around it. It’s not just down to you.
When we are too busy with every aspect of life, we have to give consideration to what it’s actually doing for us. Yes, there are many ways for us to keep our health in check, but stress is our own responsibility. We have to learn our own specific triggers, and we know, deep down, if we’re taking on too much for us to cope with. But we end up doing all of these things for the benefit of everyone around us. We have children, and we want the best for them, but also you have to think about yourself. It’s like they say- when you are in an aeroplane, and the breathing apparatus comes down, put yours on first, then you can turn your attention to the people around you.