Stress is unavoidable and inescapable. It’s part and parcel of our lives. In many ways, our bodies are built not only to handle stress, but to thrive on it. However, there is such a thing as too much. That’s particularly true for parents. Reducing your stress can have some profound effects on your family, and even on your relationship with your spouse (the converse is also true, so start cutting out those stressors now). If you struggle with stress in your family life (and most of us do), here are five important tips for parents to de-stress.
The single largest source of stress in a family is finance-related. Money problems can take a happy home and turn it into a battleground. Money issues stress out parents, and that stress translates to the kids. It’s an endless, vicious circle. The best way to tackle stress from money problems is head on. Get a grip on your financial situation. Do what you need to do to get things back under control, even if there are some drastic measures needed (selling that second car, or downsizing your home, for instance). You’ll be amazed at just how much better you feel when you don’t have those bills (and bill collectors) hanging over your head.
Spend More Time Together
One factor that might be adding stress to your family life is not actually spending enough time together. If you, your spouse and your kids come home then head off to do your own separate things, try doing something different. Set up a family board game night each week, go see a move together, or engage in some other group activity that gets you all together.
Alternatively, the problem might stem from too much time together. Everyone needs a little alone time, and if you don’t get it, stress and resentment mount. Find a hobby that gives you a little bit of time do to your own thing. Start a garden, or pick up woodworking. Learn how to brew beer at home, or start scrapbooking.
If it seems like it’s been years since you and your spouse were out on the town together, planning a date night can be just the thing to reduce stress and even rekindle that old spark. Let the grandparents watch the kids and go see a movie or a show. A nice dinner out, a concert together or just a stroll through the park can do wonders for your stress level.
Learn to Delegate Tasks
If it seems like you’re covered up with a never-ending list of tasks at home, it’s time to start delegating. No single person should be responsible for all the tasks and jobs around the home – it’s just not feasible in our modern world. Delegate to the kids and to your spouse, and then hold them to getting those things done.
There are plenty of other ways for parents to beat stress, but the five items listed above offer immediate help with some of the most common stressors.