Experiencing stress as a parent is normal. Between working a high-stress job, managing to get your kids to school on time, picking them up when the day is complete, making dinner, and much more, you may feel like you are ready to explode. Plus, after navigating through the pandemic, parents reported higher than normal levels of stress when compared to previous years.
According to the American Psychological Association’s 2020 Stress in America study, the average parent with children under 18 felt a stress level of 6.7 on a 10-point scale. That is almost a 2 point jump compared to 2019 when the average stress level for U.S. adults was 4.9. Keep reading to learn some of the best coping skills for stressed parents and how you can manage, avoid and mitigate parental stress.
Once you become a parent, your main focus is on your child and their needs. Unfortunately, this can lead to a build up of stress due to a lack of self-care. Therefore, it’s important to set some time aside for you to take care of yourself. Below are some great ways to practice self-care, but remember though, some activities may be more fulfilling for some than others so keep trying to find something that works if these don’t:
- Mindfulness meditation exercises: This type of mediation aims to get you living in the moment without interpretation or judgment. Mindfulness exercises involve various breathing techniques, guided imagery, and other practices to help reduce stress. An 8-week study revealed mindfulness meditation could help the inflammation response caused by stress.
- Writing in a journal: Some people find it helpful to write their thoughts down. However, writing down the wrong thing may have an adverse effect. Instead, try focusing on the things you are grateful for rather than venting out frustrations. In fact, a 2016 randomized controlled study revealed that women who kept a gratitude journal for two weeks reported better daily sleep quality than those who didn’t. And we all know parents can benefit from a better night’s sleep.
- Carving out some alone time: Finding some time to be alone can be extremely beneficial for your mental health, but it can be difficult to do so with a house full of kids. Taking the time to go for a walk by yourself or using your time alone in the car to focus on your thoughts and feelings can help you recharge your batteries and organize your thoughts.
2. Maintain a Healthy Well-Balanced Life
Between managing work, your kids’ schedules, family obligations, and much more, a well-balanced life may not seem to be possible. However, finding ways to do some activities more and others less can help produce a healthy balanced life for you and your family. Here are a couple of tips we recommend:
- Schedule less extracurricular activities: While extracurricular activities are great for kids, signing them up for too many can cause stress. For the kids, the stress can come from too many commitments at once. As a parent, the stress can come from coordination between various extracurriculars, and the time spent driving around.
- Clear your mind of work: Once you’ve “clocked out” for the day, try to switch your brain off work mode. Work-related stress can only amplify when bringing that stress into your home. If possible, try turning off notifications and handle any work in the morning.
3. Learn Time Management
Time management plays a significant role in stress. Improving your time management skills can significantly decrease that stress while also helping you live more efficiently. Always make sure you have a game plan when scheduling certain things and include time for any mishaps.
Here are some tips we recommend to help improve time management:
- Learn to prioritize: One way to effectively manage time is to know what tasks are a priority and what can be put on the back burner. This can be achieved by creating a to-do list. When using a to-do list, many time management experts believe it should be broken down into three categories. The first are things that need to be addressed immediately. The second section should be things that can be attacked during the week, and the last section should be saved for long-term projects.
- Delegate tasks to your kids: Housework can be time-consuming. Delegating specific tasks to your kids can help get those chores completed faster. Additionally, teaching your kids how to do particular house duties can be beneficial to their future. Some tasks your kids can handle can include folding laundry, cleaning up after the family pet, taking out the trash, and much more.
- Learn to stay organized: When you have a lot of obligations like many parents do, it may seem impossible to keep organized. A great way to stay organized is to create a list such as the one mentioned previously. This list will help you prioritize activities and help you stay organized throughout the day. Additionally, you should keep important documents in one place. By doing so, you can quickly access the documents needed and go back to your day.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Treat Yourself
If the family budget allows, don’t be afraid to treat yourself. It doesn’t have to be something big, just something that you don’t do or get for yourself often like a candy bar or new shoes. You can also treat yourself and your family at the same time. Taking the family to go do something, such as going to the movies or for dessert, can be a great way to bond with your family and help everyone decrease their stress levels.
5. Establish a Health and Wellness Routine
Another effective coping strategy for dealing with parental stress is to create a daily health and wellness routine. Creating and maintaining a wellness routine can provide some much needed relief for stressed parents.
Here are a few things you can do to try to reduce stress and stimulate anti-anxiety effects:
- Establish a healthy morning routine: We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating a healthy breakfast is essential, but a healthy morning routine goes deeper than what you eat as the first meal of the day. While this may sound like a drag, waking up 15 to 20 minutes earlier than normal to focus on yourself can go a long way to fostering a stress-free day. One thing we recommend to do is to journal. Journaling can free your mind from the stresses of the upcoming day. For those extra few minutes that you are up, write a stream of conscious thoughts. However, it would be best if you focused on the positive rather than the negative.
- Carve out some time for a midday breathing break: After going through the hustle and bustle of morning meetings, tasks, or errands, we recommend taking some “me” time. It doesn’t matter where you are—you can be at your desk, at lunch or sitting in traffic but take a couple of minutes to focus on your breathing. Breathe in and out slowly. Do this a few times, and you’ll be ready to attack the rest of the day.
- Night time cool down: After a busy day and the kids are asleep, it can feel like the only time you have to yourself. Fortunately, there are few things you can do before your head hits the pillow. One stress relief tip for parents is to limit electronic use one hour before you go to bed. These devices emit blue light, which has been studied to affect our sleep cycles. Another thing we recommend is to dim the lights in your room. This will help your brain realize it is time for bed. If you are still struggling to get a full night’s sleep, alternative products such as CBD may help. Various studies have looked at the relationship between CBD, sleep, and everyday stress relief.
What is CBD?
CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol, one of several active compounds found in the hemp plant. Since CBD comes from the hemp plant, there is a tiny amount of THC—less than 0.3%. The insignificant amount of THC is considered non-intoxicating, and in 2018, the United States expanded the availability to legally produce industrial hemp in all 50 states after passing the 2018 Farm Bill.
Over the past few years, CBD has been studied and shown positive effects on a sense of calm for focus*, retaining healthy sleep patterns*, supporting healthy recovery from exercise-induced inflammation*, and assisting with everyday stresses*.
How CBD Relates to Stress Relief?
While various studies are still ongoing, many of the research conducted already can point us to the positive effects CBD has on stress reactors.
What CBD Products May Help Stressed Parents?
There are many different types of CBD products including oils, gummies, and capsules. Some products are designed to help alleviate issues better than others, but choosing between them generally comes down to preference. For example, Full-spectrum CBD extracts such as Charlotte’s Web Original Formula have been shown to help individuals control stress with much lower amounts of CBD than individuals who consumed a CBD isolate.
However, full-spectrum products do contain THC which can trigger a positive drug test in the rarest of cases even though there is not enough to cause an intoxicating effect (CBD products derived from hemp cannot legally contain more than .3% THC). Because of this, parents who have to pass drug tests for their jobs or other reasons should try out broad spectrum CBD products which contain all of the beneficial cannabinoids found in the hemp plant without the THC.
Let Go of Stress Today
Stress shouldn’t control your life. Implementing some of the stress management techniques for parents outlined in this article can hopefully help reduce your stress levels and have you feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the day. To learn more about CBD, read through our CBD 101 resource page, take a look at our selection of CBD oils, gummies, and topicals, or contact us directly.