The daily pressures of being a busy parent might leave you frustrated, drained or overwhelmed, but there are simple ways to find a little serenity amongst the chaos.
- Take a "time out", and don’t feel guilty about it – You might see any type of self‐care as ‘indulgent’ or ‘impossible’, but it really is vital for your emotional and physical wellbeing, and sets a good example for your children. You could set aside a few minutes each morning for meditation or simply quiet time, schedule in a weekly yoga class, get a regular facial or manicure, go shopping, have a bath, see a movie or even take a nap. It really helps you to be a better parent, partner and friend when you make some time for yourself.
- Rise a little earlier – Getting up at least an hour before your kids each morning will allow you time to have a coffee, get dressed, take care of your own pre‐work tasks and feel less frazzled.
- Get moving – Physical activity in almost any form can act as a stress‐reliever by increasing the production of the feel‐good endorphins, improving your mood, helping you sleep, increasing your self‐confidence and giving you a sense of command over your body and life.1 If your daily schedule is already too busy to hit the gym, try going for a brisk walk at lunchtime, do a workout video when the kids are sleeping or exercise as a family by going for bike rides, swimming at the local pool or beach, or playing cricket in the park.
- Laugh – Laughter really is the best medicine when it comes to managing stress. After all, nothing works faster to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good belly laugh. Create opportunities for humour by watching a funny movie or TV show, sharing a good (or bad) joke at the dinner table or simply being silly with the kids.
- Simplify – Take a look at everything you do each day and see if there are any opportunities for shortcuts. Meals, for instance, can be simplified by freezing big batches on weekends or using a slow cooker, and housework can be tackled better by getting everyone to pitch in or by doing some outsourcing if possible. Most of all relax, your loved ones won’t judge you on that growing pile of laundry or if you serve them cheese toasties for dinner every once in a while.