Did you know April is National Stress Awareness month? As a parent, you may know more than anyone how overwhelming stress can be, even day-to-day tasks can feel like a struggle. Being the head of the family can feel like your job is to take care of everyone else, when actually it’s just as important to ensure you are being looked after too. With this in mind, we have pulled together our top tips and advice on how to deal with stressful periods in your life when you have a family to look after – remember you are not alone and it is so important to talk to someone if you are feeling overwhelmed.
1. Don’t compare yourself to others – possibly the first important lesson to learn is to not compare. Whilst we all naturally do this; the visions we have of how others are coping or what they’re achieving is purely fictional in our mind and we never know the true extent as to what others are also going through. Do what is right for you and try not to focus on what others around you are doing – the only person you should be comparing yourself to is your previous self and reflecting upon how far you’ve come.
2. Plan your time – if you create a consistent routine by sticking to set times for daily tasks, like scheduling in regular slots for after-school clubs, you may find your life flows a little easier. If you find that your schedule doesn’t seem to be working, try to identify the possible stress points in your day and consider what you can change about them to make them work better for you.
3. Know what you can control – you may feel like everything in your child’s life is your responsibility; but remember you can’t control and balance everything! Put effort into what you can control, and let go of what you can’t. Children need to make mistakes and experience life to be prepared for adulthood! You can encourage building resilience by giving them responsibility – get your child to help with some household chores, such as tidying away their toys or helping to set the dinner table.
4. Look after yourself – sounds obvious right? But often we forget to find 5 minutes of the day where we are doing something that is truly just for us, and if you forget to incorporate this into your routine, you may suffer with burnout. This doesn’t have to be anything that requires a lot of effort – it can be as simple as having a bath at the end of a long day, doing some exercise, or treating yourself to a meal your children wouldn’t eat! Remember to make time for yourself and you will soon see the benefits.
5. Reach out – asking for help is a positive step to take and not a sign of weakness. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends or family for support, or to seek professional advice. Sometimes just talking and communicating your worries can help more than you could imagine!
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