Stress. It is a physical and emotional reaction to an event that is making us nervous, angry, or even frustrated. We have all experienced stress at some point in our lives and unfortunately, it will probably happen again. Do you know who is super susceptible to stress? Parents. We are trying to keep ourselves alive, tiny humans alive, keep everyone fed, healthy, happy, clothed, spiritually nourished, and keep a roof over our heads. Just a little bit of pressure, huh? Because parents are so emotionally invested in their families, there is a lot of pressure to do it right. And that can cause a lot of stress and causes us to forget how to destress.
Parents Can Carry A Lot Of Stress
My family is going through a stressful time as well. We are selling our first home and buying a new house not too far away. Real estate transactions are one of the most stressful things for a family, and doing two at the same time feels like a double dose of stress. Everything has to go right. We have to sell our house in the right timeframe, make sure our new house passes inspection and gets any repairs needed, and make sure everything stays on track.
When you think about all the things that could go wrong you spiral down a rabbit hole of fear and anxiety. But when you remember that God is on control, and He has the best plan for your life, you feel some of the stress melt away. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” (Jeremiah 29:11) Let’s talk about how to destress.
I was recently reading a blog article from the Family Education site. The author compiled a list of ways for parents to destress from various Mom readers. Here are some of the techniques that I found very useful:
6 Ways To Destress
- Start and finish the day in peace. – I know it is hard to find time to read the Bible, pray, or complete a devotional when you have needy children demanding your attention. But it is so worth it. Open your Bible app, read a page from Jesus Calling, or just read a Proverb a day for a month. Do it during nap time, coffee time, or before bed. It will fill you up with peace and release some of your stress.
2. Walk or workout. – This doesn’t have to be alone. It can be pushing a stroller, or trailing the kids on their bikes. Exercise reduces stress and so does being outside in nature. Just getting your body moving helps release the tension and get your mind off the things that are stealing your focus.
3. Lunch with friends. – It isn’t always easy to get away during the day. But, my friends and I will meet at a park with the kids and bring picnic lunches. The kids can play and the parents can talk, laugh, and vent about our shared parenting struggles. Due to COVID-19, playgrounds just reopened in New Jersey after being closed for 4 months and we can’t wait to get back out there.
More Destress Tips
4. A day off from kids. – This isn’t always feasible if you are a working parent or you don’t live near family. But even so, look into finding a trusted babysitter (one that you know has been socially distancing) and take a few hours to leave the house. I am blessed to have family nearby and super involved and available parents and in-laws. When my in-laws aren’t traveling or working, they offer to take my kids to their house for a few hours a couple of days a week. And my mom will often spend time with my kids as well. I look forward to this welcomed break and opportunity to relax but also run errands kid-free.
5. Me time. – Spending time alone is vital to destress as a parent. It doesn’t have to be a pricey massage or even a dinner alone (although those are both awesome ideas). I am talking about an evening bubble bath with a podcast or music, a solo walk at the end of the day, or even some time alone on your porch or in your bedroom to read a good book. Setting time alone for yourself allows for a filled cup so you are ready to keep giving yourself to your family again.
6. A mom or dad group/girls’ or guys’ night. – My friends are my village and my greatest support. I call them my “lifeline” because they are always there to support me, encourage me, laugh with me, cry with me, and help me out on this crazy parenting journey. I am often too tired to go to a girls’ night and would much rather zone out on the couch at night. But, I never regret going to girls’ night. It’s so great to spend time talking and laughing with people going through the same life stage with you. If you don’t have a lot of parent friends where you are, I encourage you to join a community group online, at church, or on Facebook and make it happen.
Turn To Him
And remember, God does not give us a spirit of fear or stress. He wants us to thrive and live a full, joyful life. So in all you do, bring your stress and struggles to Him and He will fill you with peace, hope, love, and a thankful heart. 2 timothy 1:7 says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”(1 Thess 5:18)