Seven Instant Stress Busters for Overwhelmed Parents

sense of calm
Photo Credit: Ibrahim Iujaz

In life there are challenges we have to face. Parenting is one of them. Sometimes we are too bogged down by all things children and it causes other aspects of our life in limbo.

This is the exact situation faced by one of our readers. She is kind enough to let us reproduce her email here:

Recently my daughter got Rotavirus, since last Tues, now still in the recovering stage. The main point which I think I handle quite bad is whenever my kids sick, I am extremely sad, depress, nervous…. I understand that kid sick is normal & cannot be avoided, but yet I cannot take it easy & relax… When my kid sick, especially fever, I dare not sleep at night, I have no appetite to eat, not go to office, always thinking to send him/her to see doctor (see dr > 1 time), I am very impatient to wait if they still cannot recover after 2-3 days.

Due to my over worry, I will have bad emotional, quarrel with family members etc…

She is not alone. I bet most of us have gone through situations similar to this. We are nervous when our child is sick. We are worried when our child’s safety is threatened. This is normal. However, we must not let stress ruin our lives. We have to face it or at least reduce it.

You can prevent stress from taking over your life. Here are some techniques you can use to alleviate stress that comes in your way. These techniques are very simple and you can do it where you are without any special tools. In fact, not only do they work on parenting related issues but also other life challenges.

1. Humor power. Find reasons to laugh. Watch a comedy. Read a joke. Watch a hilarious video clip (or another one here) on YouTube. Do anything just to get yourself laugh. What? You can’t find any reason to laugh? Then do this: just laugh – laugh out loud! Do this for one minute. For best effect, laugh until tears rolling down from your face. Please do this in the privacy of your room because you don’t want people to think that you are crazy! Trust me you will feel really good after doing this.

2. You can’t control everything. We feel overwhelmed because we try to control what is beyond our control. We might have tried every parenting trick but we can’t control how our children behave and what they say. We have given the best to them, but sometimes children still fall sick. We are tired because we can’t get what we want despite our best efforts. Even though it seems there are many things we can’t control but there is one thing you can – you. Yes! That’s right. You! You can control how you feel and how you react. Don’t be uptight and let loose. Embrace the unexpected and go with the flow.

3. Take a deep breath. This is a very effective method to release tension. You can do this every 30 minutes of work. Take a deep breath – in and out – for 2 minutes. With deep breath, you bring more oxygen to your brain and body. This energizes you, makes you more awake, and helps you relax.

4. Relax your body. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Take some more. Imagine you release tension in your body by relaxing every muscle – from head to toe – starting with your eyes and then neck, shoulders, chest, stomach, hands, legs, and toes. Loosen up every part of your body. Feel that you are totally relaxed after this simple exercise.

5. Look elsewhere. Turn away from problem at hand for now. Look around your house or out of window. Take notice of a cat lazing around. Worry-free fish in aquarium. Feel the wind. Observe the rain. Look at a picture of an exotic place you want to go. A picture of your loved ones… or your dream car. Admiring beauty or nature scenes is a great antidote to stress as it can give your body a sense of peace and serenity.

6. Broader perspective. When you face a problem, step back and look at your life in totality. The problem you are dealing with is just a small event out of millions of them in your lifetime. It will become immaterial after a week, a year, or 5 years from now. Rather than using a microscope to see things, use a telescope instead. Look at issues with a further and broader view. After all, no problems are too big to solve. It is a matter of getting the right perspective.

7. Nobody is perfect. Oftentimes, we get irritated because we expect our children to be perfect. We want them to be what we want them to be. We want them to do well in school as well as sports. When they are not, we are sad and frustrated. Expecting perfection in your child is an impossible task. Instead what we can do is to fully accept your child for who he is. Encourage your child to focus on his strengths and what he can do well.

BONUS TIP: Keep busy. One of the best ways for me to get my attention away from the problem at hand is to do something. Better yet, do something physical that you are passionate about. But if you can’t, it can be anything. The point is just do something. Walk, run, cycle, play piano, write a letter or journal, pull out weeds from the garden, mop the floor, cook, wash dishes, organize the desk or closet, vacuum, polish the silverware, or arrange photos in an album. Engaging in activities helps clear your cluttered mind and relieve stress.

See Also…

6 Easy Relaxation Tips for Busy Moms

How to handle the tantrums without driving yourself crazy

Wrong made right: Teaching children to learn from mistakes and failures