Parental Stress: Know When to Take Care of Yourself

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If you’re a parent like me, you have those occasional crazy days. You know the ones ... where Thursday feels like Monday, you’re yelling at the kids to get their backpacks and get in the car, and as you pull up to the school one kid admits to forgetting to brush his teeth while the other suddenly remembers he has a spelling test this morning and forgot to have you go over the spelling words with him last night.

As you drive away from the school you feel the tension in your shoulders. You reach for your much needed cup of coffee, but to your disappointment you realize that perfect cup of coffee that you make every morning to get you through the day is currently at home, sitting on your kitchen counter. I'm sure this day is all too familiar to some.

As parents what do you do to take care of yourself? How long do you let the stress build before you recognize the negative impact it’s having on you and try to stop it?

A couple of things parents need to do to take care of ourselves:

1.   Be mindful of the impact stress has on you.

Listen to your body and figure out what your first sign of stress is. When I get stressed I can feel the tension settling on my shoulders.

2.   What coping skill works best for you when you’re stressed?

My coping skill is finding quiet time or "me" time. I usually curl up in my favorite chair with a book, blanket, cup of tea, and moist heat on my shoulders with the hope of reversing the negative impact.

3.   Utilize your support system.

If you have family and friends that don’t mind watching the kids for a little while, take them up on their offer. Don’t feel bad about needing a break from the kids. We all need breaks. Everyone could benefit from “me time."

It’s important to find out what you need to do to take care of yourself. Learn what “taking care of yourself” looks like and implement it into your daily life, because when our kids know we are ok, they're ok too.