Being a parent is an incredibly stressful job. Of course, people become parents because it’s also incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, but there are times when it can be just too much to cope with. This is especially true if you’re going through some kind of tough situation or difficulty that compounds your stress.
Parents also want to be there for their kids, and nurturing children is best done when you’re relaxed and feel supported and safe. A tough situation in your own life, or dealing with an issue your child is facing, can make it difficult to be calm and relaxed, particularly as the stress adds up. Here are some tips for parents that are struggling through difficult times.
1. Practice self-care
It’s okay to take time for yourself every day and focus on your own feelings, thoughts and self-love practices. Even if you can only sneak in 10-15 minutes each day, it’s important to carve out some you-time, away from everyone and everything else. When you prioritize yourself and care for yourself, you help relieve stress and tension but also show your children that respecting yourself, your mental and physical health, and your own wellness is important and healthy.
2. Get some help
There are lots of resources available, no matter what the situation you’re going through is. If it’s a personal issue, you can ask your doctor to refer you for some help, including finding someone to talk to or finding a support group.
If you’re trying to help your child through a difficult time, your doctor could refer you for resources for your child as well. For example, if you’re trying to help your child recover from an eating disorder, you can get help through a treatment center like Eden Treatment. Reaching out to professionals for help doesn’t mean you aren’t capable as a parent. It’s the opposite, in fact, and shows you are looking to do whatever it takes to help.
3. Distract yourself from the issue
If you become overwhelmed, it’s okay to give yourself a little time to escape. Remove yourself from the situation and do something completely different for a bit. Perhaps you could go for a run, or have a long bath, or just simply stop doing whatever stressful task you were doing and come back to it later.
4. Let your feelings out
Sometimes it’s helpful and cathartic just to let all of your feelings out. It’s the same feeling that children get after they have a tantrum and are calmed down by you in a caring a supportive way; the tension is released and the negativity is lifted.
You can do the same for yourself. Talk to someone close to you that you trust, like a best friend or close family member. Even hearing their voice and knowing they are there to support you can relieve some stress. Then, let everything out, whether you’re crying, cursing or ranting, and have your friend listen to you without interrupting so you can fully release all the stress you’re carrying around. Once you’re finished, you may want to do the same for your friend if they need it.
Allow yourself time alone if you need that as well. Maybe you need a few moments to let out a good cry and get rid of any built-up emotions before calming yourself down. That’s a perfectly normal thing to do, so don’t be afraid to let go and let it out completely.