Stress is a normal reaction to changes and challenges, such as those that come with being a parent. Some amount of stress can be healthy, but too much can be overwhelming. That's why it's good to have some stress management techniques up your sleeve.
What causes stress?
Changes in your life, even positive ones, can be stressful, especially if you think you can't cope. For example, having a baby is a life-changing and stressful event for many people. Feeling uncertain, not having control over your environment, and feeling that you have too much to do and not enough time to do it are also big causes of stress. It's easy to see how a baby might create this kind of stress in your life, or a toddler who has public tantrums, or a teenage child who's pushing the boundaries.
And then to add to the new list, there are the everyday hassles - for example, getting yourself and the children out the door and off to school and work on time.
Signs that you might be stressed
If you're stressed, your body will probably let you know. In a stressful moment, your heart rate might go up, your breathing might get faster, and your muscles might tense up. Sometimes these short-term stress reactions will actually help you deal with the stressful situation. For example, it might give you the adrenaline rush you need to get to the bus on time.
But if you keep revving at this level, your body will get exhausted. You might end up with headaches, sleep problems, digestive problems or the feeling that you just can't cope. This obviously isn't good for your health and well-being.
So it's important to watch out for signs of stress and deal with them effectively.
Simple stress management tips:-
1. Get to know what makes you stressed If you know what your stress triggers are, it can be easier to deal with stress. You might be able to avoid stressful situations, or prepare yourself. A useful exercise is to write down what makes you feel stressed. For example, your child crying for a long time might be very stressful for you. If it's important for you to be on time, you might find it stressful when you can see the clock ticking but your children are moving slowly. If you love a clean and tidy house but no longer have one, this could be stressful.
2. Positive thinking and self-talk:- Unhelpful thinking makes it harder to deal with stressful things - for example, in a stressful situation you might think, what's wrong with me? I can't get things together' or 'I'm a loser'.But you can change unhelpful thinking into realistic helpful thinking and positive self-talk, which are good ways to deal with stress. They increase your positive feelings and therefore your ability to cope with stressful situations. For instance, try developing positive self-talk statements such as "I can do this", "I will stay calm" versus using negative statements such as "I cant", "I won't be able to stay calm".
3. Focus on what's essential:- Stress is often a result of overdoing or over expecting from one's owns elf. It means you're trying to do too much, so try setting realistic goals for your day.And if you have some larger tasks to deal with, they might be more manageable if you break them down into smaller chunks, and arrange them priority wise.
4. Stay connected with others:- Talking things over with your partner or a friend can help you keep things in perspective. If you find it hard to talk, you could try using a diary to record your thoughts and feelings. Simply spending some time with friends can be helpful too.
5. Make physical and emotional health a priority:- Avoid stimulants like cigarettes and caffeine and depressants like alcohol if you can. Look after your physical health by eating well, getting some exercise, and making time for rest. Sometimes a brisk walk around the block or a quick nap can change your mood.
6. Make time for yourself:- It can be easy to forget to make time for yourself. Make a list of things that you enjoy, whether that's reading a magazine, watching television, gardening, shopping and so on. Try to do one thing on the list every day, or every couple of days, and especially on the weekend. Having fun with your family might also be on your list.