As any parent can tell you, raising a child is tough work. Add a full-time job and household chores into the mix and it can be downright exhausting on both the mind and the body. In fact, in nearly half of all two-parent families today, both parents work full time.
For modern parents, stress can really take over and it takes less to become overwhelmed. This is especially prevalent in today’s fast-paced society, where instant gratification is to be expected. Parents have to take some time in their busy days to relax and there are several ways to do that.
This is always a given in every stress-relief guide but its significance cannot be ignored. Exercise lowers cortisol, also known as the body’s stress hormone, and increases endorphins in the body. These endorphins are responsible for mood improvement and causes a ‘runner’s high’ after a run or workout session.
Exercise also improves sleep and confidence, two significant factors that prevents stress.
Mindfulness is a concept that describes being fully aware of the present.
Some of the benefits of mindfulness includes:
- lowering of anxiety and depression symptoms
- Increases self esteem
- Feelings of gratification and peace of mind
A meditation session early in the morning is a common way to achieve mindfulness. However, any 15-minute chunk of a given day can be used to the practice. All you have to do is sit in a quiet room, close your eyes (if you prefer) and focus on your body and the present.
Play with a pet
Playing with a pet has been linked to an increase in endorphins and reduces stress. A study actually found that when doing a complicated task, participants experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when their spouses were present instead.
If you don’t have a pet ask a friend, family or even neighbor if you can take their pet for a walk or petsit for a while. Exercise may also be easier to get into with a pet dog. Go take your best friend for a walk or even a run if you are feeling adventurous!
Use the 5 minute rule
The 5 minute rule is simple:
‘if a task takes less than 5 minutes to do, do it now.’.
It works to prevent procrastination. Simple, short tasks should be done now so that they don’t build up and cause stress. The rule is easy to remember and is applicable to all the tasks that you have during the day. The rule can also be extended to include longer tasks. Longer tasks should be scheduled so that it is time-bound.
Doing tasks this way ensures that multitasking doesn’t happen and makes sure the mind isn’t bogged down by the though of doing a multitude of errands.
Ostensibly, laughter is also the best medicine for stress. The act of laughing actually relieves tension by relaxing your muscles and also releasing endorphins. Watch your favorite Sitcom or take the time to hang out with your friends so that you can have your timely dose of laughter.
Being a parent is tough, but its made tougher if you are stressed out! So take some time for yourself, meditate, laugh and play with your pets and before you know it, your head will feel lighter and free of stress.