De-stressing for Parents

De-stressing for Parents

Special needs children to require special parents who have immeasurable amounts of pressure and stress. The mundane daily tasks and taking care of your children can often weigh down the parents and takes a toll on the marriage, social life, and mental health in general. Almost always, these feelings are also accompanied by guilt for feeling sad or tired. As parents, we often forget to take care of ourselves and as a result we end up burnt out. Most important thing for parents to remember is that if they as caregivers are not mentally healthy, they won’t be able to provide proper care for their kids. Hence, it’s important to value your health and take care of yourself for yourself and the children.
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1. Join or create a support group for like-minded parents.
Having a child with issues can be very isolating. Few stress-relievers are as effective as hearing other people share their story or receiving support from someone who knows exactly what you’re going through. Support groups can meet in someone’s home, online or at a local house of worship, and if there aren’t any groups in your area already, start one yourself! It is empowering to take control, and you’ll help others in the process. De-stressing for Parents
2. Try yoga or meditation.
Simply being conscious of slowing down your breathing can make you healthier, calmer and more capable of seeing things clearly. The added benefit is that you’ll also get fit, giving you more physical energy, which also helps with stress.
3. Take a break
You may not be able to avoid all the stress, but you can get away for just a few minutes to feel less overwhelmed. Giving yourself permission to take a brief “stress break” is often enough to decompress or just give a new perspective. This can include:
Taking a Mommy time out: Put up a “do not disturb” sign on your bedroom door. Listen to relaxing music or plant a picture in your mind of a soothing place. Take five minutes to decompress.
Give permission to “take ten”: Let everyone in your family know it’s OK to walk away until they can get back in control. Some families create a family signal such as using an umpire “Time Out” hand gesture that means that the person needs to decompress.
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 4. Create solutions for your “hot” times
Stress mounts for moms at predictable times, such as in the morning when everyone is dashing to get out the door or at that dinner time witching hour. Identify when you are most irritable, and find a simple way to curb the friction during that “hot” time. For instance: If mornings are stressful because your kid can’t decide (or find) what to wear: lay clothes out the night before. If your car pool is frantic because you can’t find your keys, make an extra set. De-stressing for Parents
5. Learn deep breathing
Deep abdominal breathing, meditation, and prayer are proven to help moderate stress and help the body relax. Best yet, you can also teach the tension-relieving strategies to your kids! How to start:
Inhale slowly to a count of five, pause for two counts, and then slowly breathe out the same way, again counting to five. Repeating the sequence creates maximum relaxation. (Using bubble blowers or pinwheels helps younger kids learn to take slow deep breaths to blow “meanies” away.)
Try elevator breathing. Close your eyes, slowly breathe out three times, then imagine you’re in an elevator on the top of a very tall building. Press the button for the first floor and watch the buttons for each level slowly light up as the elevator goes down. As the elevator descends, your stress fades away. De-stressing for Parents
6. Exercise together
The research is growing that exercise keeps stress at bay whether it’s walking, bike riding, swimming, playing basketball or something else. The trick is finding the type you enjoy. Best yet, find a strategy to do with your kids so everyone benefits.
Just walk: Walk alone, with your kids or find one other mom to join for a short walk each day.
Ride off the tension: There is nothing like riding bikes with your kids.
Dance stress away: A ten-minute spontaneous dance session with your kids is a great tension reliever whether the music is a nursery rhyme or your favorite Bollywood number.
6. Take time to laugh
The American Psychological Association reports that stressed people often hold a lot of stress in their faces. Laughs, smiles and giggles can help relieve some of that tension. So when is the last time you belted out a good, long belly laugh with your kids? Find ways to bring a little more fun into your life to curb stress and create fun family memories.  De-stressing for Parents
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7. Be spontaneous
Celebrate the dog’s birthday by baking him a cake. Eat dinner in reverse. Tape a dollar bill to the garbage can (and don’t say anything about it) to see who will take out the trash. Go for dates with your better half. It can be just having some coffee together or watching a movie or even a short walk. These things will go a long way. Just have fun!

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Sayee Deshpande
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