Being a parent is a stressful, tiring job with no breaks! You’re always on duty, and even when you’re not with your little one, they’re on your mind and a part of you is always vigilantly looking out for them. Being able to relax and decompress from that stress every once in a while is vital to being able to maintain that sort of energy and dedication.
Nonetheless, a lot of parents have trouble disconnecting even a little bit for that much needed mental health break. That’s understandable, but it really is important to realize and remember that doing so doesn’t make you a bad parent – rather, it’s quite the opposite. Knowing how to disengage and unwind a little so you can be fresh and energetic for your child makes you the best parent you can possibly be!
Here are a few ways parents can relax and unwind, and experience less stress, along the way as they do their parenting duties:
1. Find the humor in everything
We understand. When you come home from a long work day and the next thing you know, your toddler has scribbled all over the wall with permanent marker, the last thing you’re probably going to do is laugh. But maybe it should be the first thing you do! You can always repaint the wall, and really, every kid is bound to do something maddening at some point – it’s just the nature of exploration and figuring out the rules as they learn and grow. So just laugh now and skip the stress – and remember, worst case scenario, this will make a great story later!
2. Keep the kids busy
If you find yourself needing more “you” time, don’t be afraid to “outsource” your kiddo’s amusement and occupation. Day care, after school programs, summer camps, etc. are great ways to help your kids socialize and learn new skills with their peers and other spheres of positive influence while also freeing up some of your day. Even if your little one is very young, a day or two of daycare can go a long way toward socializing them and getting them used to different environments – and helping you get stuff done or having some time to relax and re-engage with them once they’re home!
3. Take time to exercise and move
Really, even though you have a million and one “things to do” that can’t possibly be put aside, it’s important. You need to build in time for yourself to move and exercise on your terms, and not just as part of a task or your To-Do list. Even a ten minute walk around the block, alone with your music, the sound of nature, or even with the kiddo if they’re in the mood to walk and chat with you, can be amazingly restorative. Building in the time and appointment with and for yourself to make sure you’re getting some kind of exercise on your own terms goes a long way to keeping a good mental and emotional balance to everything else you do in a day.
To your peace and relaxation!