As a therapist, I have seen many parents get overwhelmed and overstressed. These will cause parents to have issues with their children. They also might get down on themselves. If they aren’t sure about themselves, they are likely to promote anxiety and poor self-esteem. In my book, How to Enjoy Being a Parent, I make a distinction between health self esteem and childish self centeredness. “Healthy self-esteem promotes success in school, the ability to make friends, a healthy and enduring marriage, success in the work place, and the ability to deal constructively with the hard knocks of life.”
Before you can teach self-esteem to your children, you need to slow down and relieve your stress. Here are some ways you can do that.
- Say No When Necessary – Parents are always busy. They are talking with teachers, helping with homework, volunteering for school or church functions, driving their kids to sports practice or clubs, and doing other things. What parents fail to understand is that they don’t have to do everything. They need to say no when appropriate. For example, if you don’t have time to volunteer for the school field trip, then, don’t. If the church wants one more woman to man the kitchen, let it ask someone else. When you agree to do everything, you become stressed and do not give your best to any of it. When you say no when needed, you are rejuvenating yourself. Otherwise, you would be providing an exhausted yes.
- Naps Are Great – Just like babies and toddlers, adults need naps sometimes. If you are always running, eventually, your body will catch up to you. Then, you will collapse. If you are overcoming cancer or another chronic illness, this constant motion-then-collapsing scenario is not healthy and could lead to a relapse. Take a nap every now and then. Mothers don’t need naps every day, but when you need one, take it. They are best when you turn off all electronics and being quiet. These 20-minute naps will rejuvenate your spirit and your body.
- Take “Me Time” – Bubble baths with essential oils or bubble baths without essential oils do wonders to your attitude. The great part about bubble baths is that no children can enter the bathroom while you are in there. If you don’t want to take a bubble bath, reading a good book, meditating over Bible passages, meditating on anything or yoga will do the same as bubble baths, which is providing you with time alone.
- Turn Off Facebook – Some parents are on Facebook all day long, reading and responding to notifications or people’s posts. To reduce your stress, you should plan to check it once a day and turn off the notifications at all other times. Think about life before Facebook, people had to wait for responses. The world didn’t end. Family members and friends still got the information they needed. Therefore, if you turn off Facebook, you won’t be missing anything because all important information will get to you some other way.
- Turn Off Phone – Like Facebook, people are on their smart phones too much today. To keep yourself from getting overwhelmed, you would want to turn off your phone a few times a day. These would help you be calm and quiet and ready to face the world that never stops again.
- Have Coffee With Friends – Because everyone is so connected these days, things such as having coffee with friends, are not occurring as much as they used to do. When people get together for coffee and conversation, they relax. They also bounce ideas off each other, which inspires you to continue. You also can talk about your children to get a sympathetic ear toward your problems.
- Set Work Boundaries – Besides dealing with children, you work for yourself or outside the home. If you are an entrepreneur, you should set working hours and family hours. For example, “I will work from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. When they come home from school, I am a parent.” If you work in an office, you must not answer any messages from your boss after you leave the office. Keep the phone off during family meals.
- Get a Massage – Massage therapy is great for your health. Besides relaxation and stress relief, massages help your heart, muscles, circulation and digestive systems, and keeps your body healthy. Mothers should budget a massage as often as they can. It is not a luxury item.
- Attend Girls Nights – Moms who are stressed should organize Girls Nights with other mothers. These are great because you can forget you have husbands and children for several hours. It also means that someone else, either husband or babysitter, is watching the children. You can discuss your challenges or just have a good time.
- Seek Counseling – If you do feel that you need more than these tips, you should talk to a me or another counselor, especially if you find you have an addiction or suicidal thoughts. I can help you get through your problems and offer ways to help you heal. Mental health is as important as physical health.