The Best 3 Ways for Young Parents to De-Stress Today
To any young mother or father who came across this blog post, how are you holding up? Besides sleepless nights, deafening tantrums, and disgusting diapers - you’re still alive and well enough to read this article… so kudos to you.
What we got for you here are a handful of ways to help you continue being Super-Parent, despite all of the overwhelming stress, anxiety, and frankly… doubt that comes along with being the mother or father of young children.
These three steps are simple, but not easy - and we often never allow ourselves enough time or headspace to take an honest intake on these three things:
Know your values
Set gratitude goals for those that support you
Find joy in a daily practice, not just once in awhile
1. Know your values
Look, we all know how easy it is to read parenting books and endless New Mom blogs on how to be the best parent possible (here’s one pretty good one though for the Mama Bears out there), but what do we do when our kids don’t feel like responding exactly how the book said they would? Maybe we try again, maybe we throw our hands up and say “I quit!” (That was my mom’s go-to line). But what’s the right answer here?
Well, it actually depends on YOU, and the values YOU want to pass on to your kids.
Values are traits such as work ethic, integrity, honesty, grit. Do not confuse these with emotions or “hard-wired character traits”, but do understand that living in alignment with your values is a lost art in today’s society.
Why do values matter? They save you countless hours of frustration, anger, resentment (and the list goes on) on things that tend to annoy us. Also, we typically find ourselves getting MOST upset when our values are infringed upon. For example, a core value for a mom could be to teach my kids how to eat healthily, but whenever dad is in charge of dinner, the family eats McDonald’s drive-thru.
Simply by being aware of your value set in this scenario, it becomes far easier to understand your inevitable feeling of frustration and to instead act in a way that still allows you to be Super-Parent in-spite of something you disagree with.
Values are different for everyone, and the quicker you can identify both yours and your spouse’s, the quicker you can diffuse from anger or frustration. Here is a list 20 good values typically found in leaders, but can easily be transferred to parenting as well!
2. Set gratitude goals for those that support you
The reality is that we take A LOT of things, people, and opportunities for granted. This is totally normal, and in fact, incredibly easy to do.
The fastest way to fix this - build intentional behaviors into your already jammed calendar. It may seem like a pain at first, but the results of regular gratitude practices removes all doubt.
By installing positive behaviors like calling an old friend each week, or taking a walk with a loved one every night, you are actually growing the ability to be resilient in areas of your life through a little thing called Positive Psychology.
At the very root, small, successive behaviors that mirror positive behaviors not only help you cultivate more happiness in your own life, but are also contagious to everyone else you interact with… especially your children and those that help you support your young family.
3. Find joy in a daily practice, not just once in awhile
Most articles on this topic will tell you to take time for yourself - get a massage, have a spa day, take a trip, etc. And while that’s important to do every now and then, here’s why that’s not always the best way to de-stress.
The human brain is exceptional at justifying and rationalizing behaviors that are not always great for us, but are, “Just little things,” or “Things I’ve always done & needed.”
The reality is that life is happening NOW, and the time you take to recharge or plan an escape, is time you’re losing in the present moment with people and opportunities around you.
The classic example is needing a glass of wine to “unwind” every night after a long day at work or with kids. It’s true, a glass of wine will help you feel more calm - no doubt about it. However, for many folks, it’s also an opportunity to use wine as a crutch to help them hobble through the main source of stress… kids, relationships, or work responsibilities.
Finding joy in something that is tied to a healthy, present-moment behavior each day is critical to not only de-stressing that day, but becoming much more resilient in the long-run. Great examples are going for a walk around the block every night with your spouse, practicing just five minutes of mindfulness or breathing, or whatever fits best into your daily life that doesn’t detract from it.
Still want more?
Are you a young mom or dad in the Lowcountry? We can help you sync up all areas of your well-being so that you show up best for your children, your schedule, and most importantly - yourself.