Being a parent is a fulfilling and rewarding experience, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its fair share of stress. From driving your kids to and from school, extracurriculars, and doctor’s appointments to making dinner and cleaning up the house, sometimes it can feel like you never have time for yourself to de-stress. And if you’re a single-parent, this stress can be even more overwhelming. Here are 10 ways you can reduce your stress, such as reaching out to your support system to picking up a new hobby.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you need help, ask for it! Ask friends, family, or the local single-parent support group. There are so many caring people in the world that want to help. Trying to do everything alone can be self-defeating. To find local or online support groups, start by Googling your community name and “single parent support groups” to see what is available.
2. De-clutter and de-stress your living space
Everyone talks about retail therapy, massage therapy, and regular therapy, but no one talks about de-cluttering therapy. It’s truly therapeutic to throw away garbage bags filled with accumulated “stuff” that you haven’t used in years. Go through your closet, your cabinets, your basement, and/or your kids’ rooms. Throw away anything that you haven’t used in 1-3 years. Letting go of the things that don’t serve you can relieve major tension in your life. Consider donating these unused items to Goodwill or The Salvation Army. A good deed and a good de-clutter session will make you feel great.
3. Deep clean and organize
Put some music on, pour yourself a glass of wine, and deep clean your house. If that’s too much, try organizing. Put away that random pile of papers on your table, throw away the old food in the fridge and pantry, tidy up the kids’ rooms, and re-arrange your closet. Maybe even buy (or make) a fresh, new calendar to put on the wall. Then, write down everything you have planned for the next two months to help you feel extra-organized.
4. Pick up a new hobby that you can do with your kids
Easier said than done, but keep an open mind. It could be the stress reliever your family needs: creating quality bonding time for you and your child while simultaneously de-stressing. Here are some ideas of free or cheap hobbies you and your little one (or big one) can start:
- Yoga: There are plenty of free online videos. Check out Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. She has beginner videos, children’s videos, stress reliever videos, tight lower back videos, stretches for neck, etc.
- Cooking: Let your kids pick the meals out of a cookbook that you approve of. Give each child a day of the week to pick what the family is cooking that night, and then have everyone get involved.
- Coloring: Believe it or not, there are so many great adult coloring books available online and in bookstores. Try searching “adult coloring books” on Amazon.
- Journaling: Journaling is therapeutic for both children and parents. You can make it your nighttime ritual to journal together and sip on some chamomile tea while you write.
5. Unplug from technology
Challenge yourself to a half day (or a full day if you’re really adventurous) without using your phone. If this is too difficult with work, try doing it on the weekend. Work your way up to one full day without technology. This will help you re-focus and clear your head. Maybe make it a habit of unplugging once a week to reset.
6. Feng shui your stress away
You can try to turn “moving furniture around” into an activity with your children (depending on their age) by giving them some responsibility in deciding where to put the furniture. Try asking for their opinion to let them feel needed. If that doesn’t work, check out this feng shui article to get started with the stress relieving process.
7. Get. Sleep.
You’ve probably heard this one a million times. A full night’s sleep is so important for managing stress. According to the American Psychological Association, adults who sleep fewer than 8 hours a night will have higher stress levels than those who sleep at least 8 hours a night. So, when it’s time to go to bed, actually go to bed. Don’t watch TV or scroll on Facebook.
It doesn’t have to be complicated and expensive. You don’t need a celebrity chef to whip you up a magical, green smoothie every morning. All you need to do is incorporate fruits and veggies into every meal throughout the day. To feel your best and less stressed, you need nutrients. Remember, it’s okay to have pancakes for breakfast or pizza for dinner, but only in moderation. And when you do eat those pancakes, make sure you throw in an apple or banana, too. Not only will you be getting the vitamins you need to ultimately reduce stress, but you will also feel fuller and end up eating less junk.
9. You knew it was coming… exercise
Even 10 minutes of stretching is better than nothing. The goal is to break a sweat six days a week, but it’s okay if all you can manage is once a week (one > zero). You can break a sweat by doing anything you want: walking, running, lifting weights, swimming, etc. If you don’t have a gym, you can still work out at home with no equipment. There are hundreds of free online workout videos. Fitnessblender is an excellent no-equipment workout channel on YouTube for all levels.
You’ve probably heard it before: meditate for stress relief, but have you ever really tried it? Challenge yourself to meditate every day for one week. If you hate it after one week, then you never have to do it again! But at least give it a chance. Try this free 10 minute guided meditation video.
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