Time Out: Self-Care for Parents Who Desperately Need to Relax
Is your busy schedule leaving you exhausted? It's time to focus on you. Relax and recharge with this much-needed guide on self-care for parents.
Stress is hitting home at a rapidly growing rate. And the effects of that stress may be more destructive than you realize.
A third of adults say daily pressure is interrupting their sleep.
What's worse, more than half of adults say they yell or fight with a spouse or kids because of stress.
Don't worry. It's time to take a deep breath and relax. We've nailed down some of the best options when it comes to self-care for parents. Sit back, reset, and jot down some of these easy self-care ideas.
Self Care for Parents: Why It's NecessaryThe causes of stress can run across the board. They range from shuttling kids to games or plays to cleaning messes, keeping order, and dealing with any number of disasters on the fly.
Even the small responsibilities can pile up, leaving parents frazzled, frustrated, and unhealthy.
That pressure can lead to severe physical problems that many parents simply don't feel they have time to deal with. Stress can cause splitting headaches and scary issues like chest pain. It can also manipulate mood, making some parents anxious, angry, or depressed.
Stacking those negative side effects into the home can be a disaster for the whole family. And wrecked health could sideline a parent altogether.
Self-care is a must. A happy, healthy mom or dad is the first step in making the whole family happy and healthy.
But what can a stressed-out parent do to get back on the right track?
Here are some simple self-care tips for parents looking to eliminate stress.
Sleep off Stress
The body needs sleep to repair itself and recharge. Unsteady sleep patterns can spiral into even more stress because the body isn't able to deal with it its way: through a little shut-eye.
Luckily, carving out a solid sleep schedule can be a huge help in fighting off stress.
Sleep can help lower the chances of developing major diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
And it can boost brainpower by having major effects on reasoning and empathizing - two things we all know are crucial for effective parenting.
Here are some quick tips for getting better sleep:
- Put away electronics at least a half-hour before bed to help your brain unwind.
- Set up a consistent sleep routine.
- Carve out a schedule and set a goal of 7 - 9 hours of sleep every night.
- Avoid caffeine and sugar before bed.
Once you're getting some solid shut-eye, there are great ways to give your body an added break.
Experience the Spa's Special Science
Hitting the spa is a great way to melt away stress. And there are tons of health-focused massage centers, like on this page, that help weary parents push the reset button on their bodies.
But the magic of human touch actually has real, sometimes hidden, health benefits. Some studies have shown massages might boost a human's Oxytocin levels.
This hormone is connected to happy feelings and bonding. It's also a natural stress fighter that combats cortisol (the pesky hormone linked to stress).
And there are more routines that can kick stress-fighting hormones into high gear.
Sweat out Some Stress
Exercising is a great way to get your body to release dopamine, which is a natural chemical that can improve a person's mood. But life as a parent can be a hectic one.
Is there really time to exercise?
Luckily, a little exercise can go a long way. Some studies have suggested that taking time for a 20-minute workout can improve a person's mood for 12 hours.
Carve out a little time to run, take a brisk walk, or do a favorite active hobby.
When it comes to self-care for parents, exercise is an easy way to unwind and improve overall health, beyond just an elevated mood.
It has been linked to better sleep and clearer thinking.
But there are also other self-care tips for parents that can both reenergize the body and refresh the mind.
Stock up on Stress-Free Food
Use food to your advantage. Parents can use their diet to fight off stress.
Like exercise, taking some time to prepare stress-relieving meals is one of the easiest things to do for self-care.
Many foods can lower cortisol and other stress hormones. A healthy diet can also improve energy and make a parent's mind sharper.
Here are some good go-to foods for stress relief:
And parents who don't have time to cook healthy have more options. Consider a health-focused meal-prep service to stay healthy and cut down stress.
But self-care tips should include more than just what's going on in your mouth.
What about reducing stress through your other senses?
Lower Stress by Turning up the Volume
Listening to music can brighten your mood and calm you down. And studies have linked listening to music to lower anxiety.
Some research suggests music can even lower blood pressure and improve heart health.
A good self-care idea for moms who are stressed is to take a moment to turn on some tunes throughout the day. Pop on the jams while you're doing daily tasks.
And music isn't the only art-form linked to stress reduction.
Add Color to Your Daily Routine
You don't have to be a skilled artist to use art for self-care support. Art therapy has been shown to help with anxiety, depression, and even major illnesses.
Coloring or painting a picture isn't just for the kids. It can also be a great way to relax the mind while focusing on a stress-free task.
A solid tip for busy parents is to take time out to color with the kids.
Not into coloring or art?
Consider journaling or reading instead. Research has shown writing out feelings and getting emotions on paper can cut down anxiety and reduce depression.
Similarly, reading can help a parent wind down, turn off, and focus on personal wellness. In fact, some research has revealed reading can cut stress by as much as 68 percent.
In addition to taking your mind off of daily responsibilities or pitfalls, reading can slow down heart rate and even relax muscles in the body.
The Key to Cutting Stress: Take Time for You
Regardless of the method you use, a stress-free mom and dad usually means a happier home. Self-care for parents is essential, and it's worth it in the long run to carve out time for your personal wellbeing.
Need other tips for improving your body and mind? Check out some other articles here for moms seeking health tips and wellness knowledge.