How to Cope with Family Stress?
A Letter from most parents on Family Stress.
Dear Scantily Dad,
I am freaking out. I haven’t slept a wink and my children are constantly crying and need so much attention. Everyday something seems to break and our family seems like a bottomless money pit. I cannot handle the stress and don’t know what to do?
Parents of the World
How to Cope with Family Stress?
Hello Parents of the World,
Thanks for reaching out. I feel your pain, my wife and I have twins and understand the stresses that come with being a parent. Being a parent means that you are a role model for your child. Children are a product of their environment and if they are raised in a home filled with stress then they will absorb that behaviour like a sponge.
It is not healthy for you or your children if you handle stressful situations with blame, shouting and aggression. Stress and suffering are parts of life and everyone has to deal with them. It is your job to do whatever you can to manage the stress. You should create a home that is as stress-free and as peaceful as possible. Here are some tips that will help you create a calmer home.
29 Valuable Tips to Help You Cope With Family Stress
Practicing gratitude helps you to understand what is really important. Having a family is the best thing that will ever happen to you and you need to take time appreciate it. You should schedule the time to practice gratitude every single day. Get a journal like the 5-minute journal and write down daily three things that you are grateful for. Try to write something new every day to make you realise how lucky you are.
2.Be Understanding of your children
It can be hard to understand a misbehaving child or a crying baby. It takes reflection and patience. Take a step back and try to understand why your child is behaving in this way. Children are a work in progress that need your guidance. You need to be tolerant when dealing with them. To learn more about understanding yourself and your children, you can check out the book Parenting from the Inside Out.
3. Be Understanding of your Partner
To live in a stress-free environment you and your partner need to have a good understanding. Working on your relationship is not easy and it takes a lot of work. To understand your partner you need to listen to your them. When they tell you what is stressing them out then you should listen without passing judgement and trying to come up with a solution. Understanding your partner is the cornerstone of a happy relationship. A happy relationship is half the battle when trying to manage stress.
Meditation has been used to relieve stress for thousands of years. I learned about meditation while my wife and I were struggling with infertility. It helped us to get through the hardest time of our life and I still meditate every day. Meditation is a great way for parents to create a stress-free home for their family. Mindfulness is a great tool for putting things in perspective when a stressful situation arises. You can try 10 free meditation sessions with the Headspace app.
Preparation is key when you are a parent. If you are not in a rush then that will help you to avoid stress. Prepare for events, outings and activities the day before. If you need to prepare food then do it in large batches and freeze it if necessary. Planning ahead an preparing will make you and your children’s life so much easier.
5.Go to Bed earlier
The next three points could have been grouped together but I decided to write them all individually. Going to bed earlier will give you a chance to really unwind before you go to sleep. If you are well rested then you will be less stressed. Try going to bed at 9 and reading for an hour before you go asleep. A good nights rest after a relaxing bedtime routine you will help you wake up earlier and still get enough sleep.
6.Wake Up earlier
Waking up earlier begins the night before. After a good nights sleep of 6-8 hours getting up is easier. When you wake up earlier you can get a head start on your day. The morning is the best time to tackle the important things that you need to get done. If you wake up early and get things done then the rest of your day is less stressful.
7.Get enough sleep
Sleep is one of the most important factors in living a life with reduced stress. Everybody is different but most people need around 7 or 8 hours to feel well rested. If you have slept adequately then your batteries will be recharged and you can show up better for your children. When you are well rested, you can cope better with the trials and tribulations of daily life.
8.Increase quality time with your family
Real quality time with your family is one of the most rewarding things that you can do. Make sure that at least once per week you take time as a family to something together. Try to spend time together with your smartphones off and really enjoy each others company. Family time is a great way to relieve stress.
9.Take time for yourself
Taking time for yourself is essential if you want to have less stress in your life. It does not matter what you do as long as it is regenerative, healthy or relaxing. Get a massage, watch a movie, read a book or go for a run. This time alone will help you recuperate and forget about your worries and your strife.
10.Turn off your smartphone
This is a big one and it is very hard to do. We are all addicted to our smartphones and spend too much time connected. Constantly being switched on is a stressor. When you are with your family try to avoid being on your phone. Be present, engaged and live in the moment. Try not to use your phone for anything that involves staring at the screen between 9 PM – 9 AM unless completely necessary. Another great way to reduce phone time is by doing screen free Saturday or Sunday. Less phone time = less stress.
11.Make Time for your relationship
You and your partner are the centre of your family. It is important that you stick together for the well being of your children. To stick together you need to work hard on your relationship and make time for each other. Try bi-weekly or monthly date nights. A night out on the town is a great way for you both to blow off some steam.
Scheduling is part of being prepared. Block book times each week for doing things that you need to get done. It will make your life a lot easier if you know exactly what you have to do in good time. This is not just for the family to do list but for your life too. Sit down every Sunday and think about what you have to do for the week. Write it down and schedule time for what you have to do. Write down the exact times with a start and finish. Click here for to learn more about planning your week.
13.Allow more time to get things done
When you have children everything takes longer. Anything that will go wrong will go wrong. Allowing a buffer will help to avoid stress when something takes longer than anticipated. A good rule of thumb is to double how long you expect something to last. If it takes you and your family one hour to get ready then plan for two hours. Not rushing means not stressing.
14.Stay away from negative media
Since having children, I have pretty much stopped reading and watching the news. There is nothing but negativity coming from most of the mainstream media. If you spend your time being absorbed by bad news you to will have a negative outlook on the World. We live in safest, most medically advanced and abundant time ever. There was never a better time to be alive. The opportunities are endless. Focusing on your life and avoiding negative media outlets will help you on your path to living stress-free.
15.Have a clear reason why
When you are down and lonely and you need a helping hand, then the best thing to focus on is your “why?”. Why are you doing what you do? If you are a parent then everything you do should be for your children. Take time to dwell on the fact that your family needs you. When it all seems too much, and you feel a heavy weight on your shoulders then remembering why you are doing it will make your life easier.
As hard as it may seem, you need to make time for exercise. Getting your heart rate up and sweating is part of being human. Our bodies have developed over millions of years to move around. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America “Exercise is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress”
“Exercise is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress”
A big challenge for any parent is eating well. This applies to both you and your family. It is very easy to give your family food that is quick to prepare but low in nutrients. Don’t make this mistake. Processed sugar, caffeine, salty foods and alcohol can increase your anxiety levels. To help reduce your levels of anxiety make sure that you have a regular exercise routine and healthy diet. You can learn more about foods that reduce stress here.
18.Put things in perspective when bad things happen
When you have children expect erratic behaviour. Everything is going well and then boom something explosive happens. They knock over a flower pot, rip open a bag of flour or draw on a freshly painted wall. It is easy to fly off the handle and get stressed out about the seemingly devastating incident. When something happens and nobody was seriously hurt then take a moment to step back and take a breath. Put the situation in perspective and ask yourself is it really that bad? You will usually find that it isn’t actually that bad.
19.Simplify your Life
When you have your children you need to simplify your life and remove the things that cause you stress. Avoid negative people and spend your time with friends and family that enrich your life. Only do the things that you really want to do and are moving you closer to where you want to be. Click here to learn more about simplifying your life.
20.Don’t take things personally.
One of the best ways to avoid stress caused by other people is to never take their words or actions personally. If someone says something negative about you then it is usually because they have their own personal problems. It can be hard to look at things objectively but the next time someone says something mean about you then ask yourself why they did it? Did the have a bad day? Are they in a bad relationship? Perhaps they under pressure at work? Are they depressed? When you ask yourself why people do what they do then it is easier to not take things personally. Not caring what other people think is a good way to help you avoid stress in life.
21.Imperfection is better than being perfect
As a parent, you might as well give up on perfection. You are not going to achieve perfection nor should you try to. Trying your best is much better than striving for perfection. You will never be the perfect parent and your home will never look perfect. Trying to achieve perfection will result in you trying to attain something attainable. This will leave you feeling anxious and unfulfilled.
22.Make Time to Play
Making time to play is important for you and your children. As an adult, one of the best ways to relieve stress is to play a game or a sport. This can come in many forms; field games, board games, computer games etc. Taking time to detach from the serious things in life will help you to relax and unwind. Another great way to destress is to play with your children. Sit down on the floor and play their favourite game. The games that you play will advance as they get older. Playing with your children is one of the most satisfying uses of your time.
Reading is like working out for the mind. It is also one of the best ways of relaxing and productively using your time. Instead of watching a series on Netflix sit down and read a good book. Reading at night will also help you to get a better nights sleep. Reading to your children is another great way of educating them and helping them to sleep. You can read more about the benefits of reading to children here.
When you have children you need as much help and support as you can get. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family members for help. Having a support system in place will make your life less stressful. Someone helping you mind the children will give you time to run errands and do things for yourself. Making time for yourself and getting things done will help you to de-stress.
Multitasking is part of being a parent, right? Wrong. Many parents chose to multitask and this is a proven to cause stress. If you want to do one thing then focuses on that thing only. Give it your full attention until it is finished and then move on to the next task. Trying to balance too many things at once will put you under pressure and increase your anxiety.
26. Work as a team
You and your partner need to work together as a team to be the best family you can be. Working together and helping each other as much as possible will help to lighten the load and reduce stress. This means helping each other with chores and giving each other breaks when necessary. If one of you feel that you are left alone then the levels of stress will increase.
27. Avoid drinking too much
As mentioned in the diet point above, alcohol abuse is something that can cause you a lot of stress. When you drink too much your productivity will drop and being a good parent becomes a much more difficult job. Having to deal with children is stressful on a good day. If you add a hangover to the mix then the stress is multiplied.
28.Make to-do lists
When you have a lot to do it is easy to become overwhelmed. Instead of getting the important things done you end up procrastinating and getting very little done. This one of the most stressful things about being a parent. Writing down what you need to do on a list will free up your mind. Put the list in order of importance doing the most important thing first. When everything is written down your mind will be free to get the things you need to do done. Ticking things off a to-do list is a very satisfying way to beat stress.
29. Don’t try to do too much
The to-do list will be followed by lots of action. Don’t make the mistake of trying to get too much done each day. Pick three important things to do each day. Be satisfied with doing the three important things and congratulate yourself for having a successful day. Trying to get too much done in one day will leave you flustered and stressed out. This should be avoided at all costs.
29. Expect the unexpected
Anything that can go wrong will go wrong when you have children. You have to expect the unexpected as children are so unpredictable. Being prepared and leaving enough time for the unexpected will reduce potential stressful situations.
I hope you enjoyed this article and the insight on how to reduce the amount of family stress you have. If you are coping with family stress then I would love to hear from you in the comments below. What do you do to help you relieve stress? Is there anything I missed?