If you are reading this article with a cup of coffee that has long since gone cold by your side due to a constantly expanding ‘to-do’ list that is nagging at your thoughts, then you are not alone… The role of parenting is a constant and unforgiving one. Raising your children is certainly a gift - but this particular gift can take up a significant amount of our energy, time and focus too!
Give yourself permission to acknowledge how you feel right now. Pause to take a deep breath. Inhale to exhale. Roll your shoulders back and allow your jaw to relax in order to release any tension you might be holding. Take in every detail of your thoughts. Sit comfortably with yourself in full appreciation of how much you’re handling today and everyday. You are already doing an incredible job - even on the days that you least feel it. Especially on those days, in fact.
“Why do I feel so angry all the time?”
Stress and anger are common emotions for parents who are overwhelmed by their emotions and feelings. Anger in particular tends to be the reaction that triggers the most easily when parents are operating from a heightened state of stress. When we can maintain a calmer sense of self then we are more likely to be able to handle unexpected calamities or issues calmly and peacefully. If our minds and bodies are humming with anxiety then we naturally will become more reactive and less receptive to those around us.
If you have noticed that you are more snappy and less forgiving than usual, it is likely that you are struggling to deal with more stress than you might have initially realized.
“What can I do about it?”
There are many different ways that you can self-support yourself in order to dramatically reduce (and even eliminate) anger and acute stress. Acknowledge your situation and address it. You are entirely capable of resetting the balance of your emotions, starting right this moment. You do not have to wait until the problem reaches a certain level of impact. Every parent deserves the same.
Here are 5 helpful tips to get you started on a stress-free pathway:
Eat to refuel. Reaching for takeout foods or snacks that taste great but leave you depleted will not aid your emotional health. Short on time and energy? Try prepping a range of colorful, healthy and altogether delicious meals and snacks ahead of time. This will ensure you can always grab something nutritious while you’re on the go with the kids. It will also keep you safely away from anxiety inducing junk!
Pause to reflect. Meditation, deep breathing, journaling and some gentle exercise (such as yoga) are all fantastic opportunities to allow your thoughts to surface in a healthy and comfortable way. Adopting these activities into your daily routine can make powerful changes to your emotions day to day. Validate your feelings and allow yourself to take time out when you need to.
Sleep to self-nurture. When our brains and bodies are completely exhausted we cannot simply hope to keep our emotional wellbeing in positive balance. Start preparing for sleep a little earlier than usual each night in order to allow a longer winding down period and deeper more restful sleep periods. You recognize that your child is more irritable when they have not enough sleep, and you are likely no different. Nap when you need and want to as well!
Talk it out. Every parent has tough days, and some days will feel especially rough. Even the parents that seem to ‘have it together’ struggle sometimes. In reality, those character types are usually the guiltiest culprits of concealing their true struggles. Grab some social time with a trusted friend at least once a week. Exchange ideas and enjoy identifying with one another to ease the pressure.
Connect with a community. Whether it’s an informal lunch group, a parenting activity club or a ‘wine and dine’ night that you informally organize with your friends - allow yourself some time to relax and unwind with like-minded peers. You might be surprised at the commonality you have between yourself and others once you have the chance to talk in a relaxed setting.
“I just don’t have time to relax…”
Those that exclaim that they do not have time for self-care are typically the ones who need it the most. Being a parent consumes a vast amount of time and energy, without doubt. With playdates to remember, lunchboxes to pack, a home to run, social responsibilities to adhere to, educational tasks to take care of, and everything else in between - it’s a lot, right? If you have any children with special needs of any kind then this can amplify the situation even further. It can seem impossible to be able to ‘find time’ amongst the never-ending chaos.
Take this specific moment to pause once again. Take another deep inhale into your belly before exhaling as slowly as you can. Repeat the pattern as you continue to read. Validate your emotions by acknowledging their presence. They don’t have a hold on you - quite the opposite. You are capable of overcoming any challenge you might face in your present or future. As you finish reading this article, leave a few minutes of space before you continue your day.
Pause, breathe, rebalance, repeat.