Stress Management: Tips and Habits for Balance
Stress is something we all experience from time to time. When parenting this can be amplified, especially when working to create changes in the family system.
And let's admit it, even on the “normal” days, parenting is a stress factor, we can’t control the outcome and nothing is more important so we are often at a baseline of stress. Taking time to rest and recharge is an active choice, not slacking or doing nothing. It is something we do for ourselves that serves our loved ones. Giving our nervous system time to calm is necessary in stress management and being effective in any relationship.
Stress management tips are a cornerstone of coaching, because when we struggle to regulate, we struggle to support ourselves and those around us.
When your body is stressed, stress your body. Meaning move. If you're tense, and your heart rate is up and your breathing is labored, go for a brisk walk or dance or go up and down the stairs. When your body is moving it gives it a reason for those physiological symptoms and when you cool down from your movement your nervous system will naturally regulate.
Integrate this and these 5 simple tips to your stress management routine.
- Breathe. It sounds so simple but we forget to do it all the time. A few slow, deep breaths makes a world of difference.
- Mental gymnastics--- asking myself, if there were 1000 other people witnessing this situation, how else might it be seen/experienced/ translated. What other meaning can I place on this? Builds mental flexibility which contributes to increasing distress tolerance.
- Tap the Brakes. Slow down. Most things are not urgent. Tap the breaks and take time to engage your mind over your emotions.
- For a quick fix, think cold. Press a cold compact on your wrists and neck. Splash your face with cold water. For parents who have kids in treatment and get anxious for their phone calls, freeze oranges and hold the orange in your hands during the call. Rolling the frozen orange around in your hands and on your wrists can help you stay regulated.
- The more time we spend in the past, the more time we spend in the future, the more anxious we are in the moment.
When your child presents similar behaviors that were part of the catalyst for treatment and your mind goes to "he is back to where he was, did he even change?" you are now in the past spiking your anxiety. When your thoughts are "oh no, are we going to have to send him back to treatment again", you are now in the future spiking your anxiety. When your thoughts are " ok, at one time this behavior was effective so he is most likely checking to see if it still works for him to get what he wants" you are now in the moment, managing your anxiety and reminding yourself you have the answer to show him that his behavior is not effective anymore.
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” —Marcus Aurelius
Lastly, trust your intuition, identify supports, and remember that connection eases stress, so hug, love and hold hands, get outside… stand or lie down on the grass, engage in a physical activity or breathing practice--something to land oneself in the body, and be okay with saying NO.
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Solutions Parenting Support, LLC is a nationally recognized parent support and transition program assisting parents and families with straightforward and compassionate skills based support prior to, during and after wilderness therapy and/or residential treatment. Solutions is a dynamic team of parent coaches who have had extensive careers as therapists in wilderness therapy or residential treatment before turning their talents towards coaching parents around the globe. The team is family system focused and are licensed professional therapists and/or social workers each with 15-30 years of experience working in wilderness therapy programs, varying levels of residential treatment programming, and transitional support.