When life becomes “too much to handle” as a parent it can be tempting to block our true feelings in order to cope with them. Many of us might naturally turn to vices such as comfort eating, overworking, or scrolling on our phones to block out worrying inner thoughts. We might even say “nothing’s wrong” out loud to portray that nothing is. If we have not developed healthier strategies to cope with stress, then these options might seem like the quick fix we need to be able to keep things together.
Yet how ‘together’ do you really feel in the hours after you have consumed yet another microwaveable snack while battling exhaustion? Did that extra glass of wine really take away the anxiety you have been feeling recently? We all know that sticking a band-aid on a significant problem cannot solve it yet we still try to convince ourselves that it might. What we really need is a realistic view of how capable we really are to overcome our worries. And surprise, surprise - you are more capable than you might realize!
Here are 7 real reasons to reduce your stress before it causes long term harm in your life and parenting.
1) Mental Health.
You cannot hope to cultivate a happy, healthy home for you and your family if you feel you are buckling under the weight of your emotions. There will always be days that feel more challenging than others. This is a natural part of the human experience. However, if you are feeling constantly overwhelmed then this needs addressing sooner rather than later. You deserve to enjoy a better sense of emotional balance.
2) Physical Wellbeing.
Stress has a significant impact on our physical wellbeing. It can trigger migraines, skin inflammation, cardiovascular issues, fibromyalgia, and acne. Further to this, it can significantly meddle with our energy levels and sense of personal vitality. We rely on a lack of illness or injury in order to remain capable of everyday tasks and responsibilities. This includes our parenting. Reduce your personal stress and anxiety in order to give yourself the best chance possible to keep yourself on the right health track. Small changes will soon add up to significant changes in the short and long term future.
3) Emotional Transference.
No matter how much we might try to hide away our fears and stresses, our children are surprisingly skilled at picking up how we are really feeling. Their intuition might be stronger than we might realize. Children of all ages can pick up on the stress and anxiety of their parents very easily. They might not do so consciously. Or they may develop their own stresses from worrying about the welfare of their parents. Reducing stress for yourself will help to boost the emotional health of your family as a whole.
4) Communication Development.
When we become stressed or emotionally imbalanced, most of us are not the very best version of ourselves. We might automatically ‘shut down’ and become much less communicative than we usually would be with our children. Or we might unthinkingly become snappy and short with those closest to us as we battle to keep our feelings of worry and anxiety in check. If you can reduce your stress levels then you will naturally find that you feel more able (and willing) to communicate in a healthier and more progressive manner with those closest to - including your kids. Conversation is key and clarity is a lead ingredient.
5) Parenting Intuition.
When our minds are spilling over with distracted thoughts and internal noise, we cannot hope to connect effectively with our family members. Small signals of imbalance or subtle but significant changes to behavior might go unnoticed as we rush through our endless to-do lists with a weary mind and body. Your intuition as a parent will sharpen rapidly when you reduce your levels of stress by even a small increment. Tune out the chaos to tune in to your children.
6) Wealth of Health.
Our minds and bodies deserve to be treated with the same love and respect as our children do. Struggling with overwhelm should not be the ‘norm’ for you at any time in your life. Set an example to your kids of how important it really is to take care of ourselves in the fullest sense - including in regards to mental health and wellbeing. By doing so, you can set them on a path of nurture and self-love that can support them for life.
7) Personal Confidence.
Stress is an emotional agitator. It attacks our self-esteem and threatens our ongoing sense of personal identity. When we are tied up with stress and anxiety we lose touch with who really are and what we desire most. By reducing stress from our lives in any capacity, we can hope to restore our energies and powerfully reconnect with our true selves - both as parents and as individuals.
In order to cultivate the kind of healthy and happy environment you would like to develop for your family, your emotional needs must be consciously acknowledged. Your personal sense of health and wellness (both physical and mental) is extremely impactful upon every member of your home and visa versa. If you need further support, then seek it out.
Further to this, reach out to your community for help in order to lessen the strain you are currently under. This could be in the form of a friend babysitting the kids for a few hours, or you might like to employ a therapist to help you process your thoughts and emotions. Do what is right for you and your children - both now and into the future.