Balancing work, life, dating, adult responsibilities, and being a parent all at once? Not easy. It takes a strong support system to manage life’s stresses, but sometimes the only person we have in our corner rooting us on is ourselves!
By now, we’re all well aware of the long-term damage that stress can have on our mental and physical health. And while it might be easy to put off choices that maximize our own pleasure and self-care, it’s crucial that we don’t!
Here are 3 of our favorite ways to help manage stress that even the most overwhelmed working parent can squeeze into their day.
Step out of the house for just 10 minutes of exercise. When you’re already rushed, it can sound like too much. But for combating an unfocused mind and low energy levels, there’s almost nothing better. Set aside just a few minutes and you’ll be glad you did. My favorite forms are the peloton bike or walking the dog. Sometimes my little one wants to watch a YouTube video and dance along to that. Do I want to see grown men wearing dinosaur suits humming along to a kids song? No... but I move my body and connect with my little one so it's a win-win.
Practice deep breathing. If you’re panicked or overwhelmed, slowing your breath can decrease your heart rate and help you come back to yourself. Try breathing in for a slow count of 4 then exhaling for 6 counts. I probably look absolutely insane as I'm white-knuckling the steering wheel when I feel overwhelmed, eyes closed parked anywhere I can pull over, but taking a few moments to breathe when I need it most is crucial for me when I get overwhelmed. If I cant see my chest rising and falling, it's not deep enough. Releasing deep breaths for me is like exhaling the toxic thoughts I've kept in all day. It helps to let it all out because holding it in leads to even bigger emotional fallout when you can't take it anymore.
Talk about your problems and your feelings. No good comes from bottling up your emotions and in fact can lead to more stress down the road. Find a healthy outlet — like a therapist or a trusted friend — and learn to let it out! Even though I tend to keep my thoughts to myself, I found that word vomit is soooooo helpful. And I found the sooner I talk about my feelings or mindset, I not only feel better but it can prevent me from feeling a certain way for a while that may not have even been accurate. The mind is a crazy thing and believe it or not, your thoughts can totally mislead you. Talking about things out loud brings that to light and it helps give you perspective.
Refer to this list as often as necessary and add to it! Whatever brings you a moment of zen and bliss is worth making time for.