3 Tips for Tackling Parenting Stress

It’s the beginning of another school year. And with that beginning comes a variety of emotions. Every parent’s experience is different, but one unifying factor is that we all feel stress.  In general, transitions in life are notorious for being stress inducers. Heading back to school after a long vacation is no different than any other transition in its stress-inducing capacity.  This stress is not only felt by students heading back to school, but also by their parents.

Stress is not necessarily something negative. In fact, stress can fuel us to make important changes in our lives.  But often it can also cause adverse side effects such as fatigue, unstable emotions, irritability, and just a general reduction in happiness compared to our typical selves. You just don’t “feel like yourself” when you are stressed out.

Here are 3 tips to help reduce stress during the back to school transition:

 1)   Hold off on making big lifestyle changes. You may have grand ideas of how this school year will be better.  Perhaps it’s meal planning and shopping for the week every Sunday afternoon. Or going for a run in the morning before dropping your child off at the bus stop.  These are great ideas, but now is not the time.  Give yourself a few weeks to ease into this transition. Order a pizza, take a quick walk, and watch a movie together as a family.  Focus on enjoying your time together rather than improvement.

2)   Strive for “good enough” and not perfectYou are sitting at the table checking your email, when a large tumbleweed of dog hair rolls past you over your hard wood floor.  Instead of blaming yourself for not keeping your house clean enough, just let it go for now. The importance of accepting your own imperfection is not only good for reducing your own stress as a parent, but also a great modeling opportunity for your child to see that perfection is not your priority in life.

 3)    Add a splash of humor. Stress inevitably adds fuel to the fire when it comes to relationships.  Little things that normally may slightly bug you turn into full-blown arguments in the blink of an eye.  If you notice a conversation starting to spin out of control, do something silly and out of character.  Make a goofy face.  Use a ridiculous accent.  Doing something silly and out of the ordinary has an amazing power to diffuse the situation and buy you a few seconds to decide if this is really worth arguing over.  And what better time to see if you can pull off a British accent?

 Stress during transitions is normal.  But if you feel the stress in your life is overwhelming and more than you can manage on your own, contact me to learn how I can help.