A recent study shows that parental stress is linked to childhood obesity, as parents give in to fast food because it is easy, fast, and the kids ask for it. We all know that there are hundreds of good reasons to reduce our stress, from physical to psychological; this recent study tells parents that we have yet another important reason for reducing our stress and handling our stress levels, and that is the health of our children. So how can we handle stress a little better and make our children and families a little healthier?
Slow down and get some sleep. A parent's work is never done and staying up to get it done can sometimes be effective, but it can also sometimes cause work to multiply like the stack of mismatched socks in the laundry basket. I did this just last night. I stayed up until almost 1 a.m. to finish the laundry and clean up. Sure, those chores were done, but I went to bed late, woke up early, and then rushed through the day tired, which leads to feeling stressed because you just don't have enough energy to get it all done.
Go out to play. Whether it is with your children, your spouse, significant other or friends take time to play. For some, this means get up and exercise. For others, play time could mean reading a book. It doesn't matter if it is swimming in a pool or shooting pool, it is important to burn off some steam in just the right way.
Just say no and mean it. Say no to extra work, extra-curricular activities or volunteering, if you already have a busy schedule. Say no to TV before doing chores or homework and say no to that extra piece of cake, scoop of ice cream, bar of candy or toy that your children are begging for. Far too often, I catch myself saying "no" and not being able to make it stick.
Get organized. This is another one I am working on. Actually, I am organized; it is the rest of the family that isn't. I know where everything is supposed to be, but where it actually is, well, that is another thing entirely. Make your organization system known, so that they kids can put things back where they belong and everyone can find those ballet slippers before walking out the door to dance class.
We all experience the stress of being a parent. The reasons all vary, but the result is the same. We get stressed and quite often we get "stressed out," that point in time where we will agree to or do anything to break the stress seal and give us a few minutes where we don't have to be perfectly parenting. Sometimes that means giving in to a whine or tantrum. Other times that means losing our temper. Or giving in to the fast food fallout as the kids beg for a drive-thru, or I give in because we are running late. With these tips, my time should be better spent and then I won't be looking a fast food fix.
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