Then one day, it dawned on me, “Duh! My FAMILY is my biggest stressor! That’s why I feel stressed so much of the time!”
An excerpt from the blog of Dr. Christina Hibbert:
Parenting Stress Relief: 5 Key Strategies
“Parenting is stressful!” There, I said it, and I believe every parent would agree.
We want the best for our children; we want to be our best for them. But by nature, being “Mom” or “dad” is a high-stress game, complete with late and sleepless nights, too-early mornings, worries, fears, very little downtime, and even littler “me” time…
The question is, “What do we DO about the stress?”
Of course, each of us has different and unique stressors and each of us has different and unique ways our stress will best be managed, but in my 22 years as a parent and 15 years as a psychologist working with parents, I’ve come up with 5 KEY strategies we ALL need if we want to beat the stress.
1) Identify and Acknowledge the Stressors.
Why do we so often ignore the very things that are stressing us out? Is it because we want to “stay positive?” Or because we just don’t have time to stop and notice? Or perhaps, is it because we don’t want to have to deal with the emotions of the stressors in our lives? For most of us, it’s probably all three, and more.
I’m all for positive thinking and attitudes, but there’s a difference between this and ignoring how we really feel. Just because we acknowledge a stressor doesn’t mean we’re complaining or ungrateful or negative. It simply means we’re recognizing what’s actually happening, and that is the first key to then working through the stress in our lives.
Check in with yourself weekly, if not daily, and:
- Assess your stress level, from 1-10 (10 being highest). Write it down.
- Ask, “What are my current stressors?” Remember, these may be “positive” or “negative.” Be honest and thorough! Write these down.
- Next to each stressor, indicate whether or not there is anything you can or need to do about it with either a (Y or N). The Y’s reflect those things you might be putting off or that need your attention, and the N’s reflect those things you really can’t change or do anything about (like the time school starts and ends) but that still stress you out. The more you identify/know about your stress, the better!
- Identify which stressors are causing the MOST stress for you at that time and star * them. You might rate each stressor, like you did your overall stress level, from 1-10. This way, you know which ones need the most (and soonest) attention.
Again, remember that it’s GOOD to know what your stressors are. It doesn’t make you more stressed to acknowledge them. In fact, it will probably relieve you somewhat to actually understand where all the stress is coming from…
Dr. Christina Hibbert is the 2018 Arizona Mother of the Year® and author of This Is How We Grow, Who Am I Without You, and 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise. She is a clinical psychologist specializing in maternal mental health, grief/loss, parenting, self-esteem/self-worth, and personal growth, and is host of the weekly radio show, Motherhood. Dr. Hibbert is a dynamic speaker, a 30Seconds.com contributor, founder of the Arizona Postpartum Wellness Coalition, and producer of the internationally-sold DVD, Postpartum Couples. She, her husband, and their six children live in Flagstaff, AZ. Learn more about Dr. Hibbert through her popular website and blog, “The Psychologist, The Mom, & Me,” at www.DrChristinaHibbert.com.