As a parent, you hold many responsibilities and likely feel a lot of anxiety about what’s on your to-do list. Parenting is a full-time job, and like any job, it can be stressful — very stressful. In fact, one study we discovered shows that parents feel stressed about six different times per day because of their kids!
With all this stress, it’s essential that you take care of yourself first to be able to manage all your responsibilities effectively. Here are some strategies you can use to help you get some much-needed downtime and natural stress relief.
Take Time to Play
Dolphin Kids encourages everyone of any age to take time each and every day to play. This can mean whatever you want it to, but make sure you schedule it into your day, every day. This can easily be one of the best things to do to help with any anxiety you feel. Play also helps to build self-esteem and ignite creative thinking and problem-solving skills.
Try dancing around to music, playing a game on the computer, or doing whatever you want for at least 30 minutes every day — longer if you can. Put your play time into your schedule and make it non-negotiable. You may have to get up before everyone else in the house, wait until after the kids go to bed, or make sure everyone else in your home has set up their own play time and knows to leave you alone during this time.
We’re big on mindfulness! Being mindful is as simple as stopping occasionally to take a few deep breaths. If you have a few moments, go outside and breathe in some air or take a short nature walk. Practicing mindfulness helps us control our reactions and be more present with our children.
So often, when we’re busy, we go through life on autopilot. We don’t take any time to appreciate the moments in our life that bring us joy. Taking a few short mindfulness breaks each day will help you finish the day feeling calmer and more in control of coping with the stress that comes along with your busy life.
Reduce Your Kids’ Schedules
Chances are, you’re running your kids around to all sorts of events and activities. These days, it seems like a lot of children are overscheduled and participating in activities they don’t really enjoy. Have a sit down with each of your children and your spouse and talk about which activities they really enjoy.
Cutting down on their activities not only frees up their time for creative play and doing things they truly enjoy doing, but it should also free up some time for you.
Delegate What You Can
Are your kids old enough to take on some more chores? Do you have some extra money set aside to pay for a housecleaner or other help to come in once a week or so? Can you get a meal service to bring you healthy meals a few times a week?
You’ve probably gotten so used to doing everything yourself that you likely don’t realize how much you could pass along to other people.
Plan Some Family Fun
At least once a week, schedule time for your whole family to be together for some quality time. Plan something that you all enjoy doing — or switch it up every week. You could go swimming, go on a nature walk, do a puzzle, go on a picnic, or even make some popcorn and watch a movie.
This will help you get back on track with your family and give you all a bit of time to recharge together.
Plan Some Time Out
Even if it’s only once a month, plan a date night with your spouse. Hire a babysitter or exchange some babysitting duties with another set of parents and use this chance to reconnect with each other. This is a perfect time to do the things you enjoyed doing before you had kids.
It’s also important to plan an afternoon or evening out with your best friend or a group of friends on occasion. Having some great chats over a walk, a meal, or an activity will guarantee some laughs and a fantastic chance to recharge your batteries. For more information about Dolphin Kids workshops for parents on mindfulness and a variety of other subjects, check out our full list of programs here.