Being a parent is a walk in the park … said no one ever. In reality, the pressures can be relentless. Keeping a million plates spinning while making sure your kids and your partner are healthy, happy and reasonably clean can take its toll on your mind and body. And although parents can be incredibly resilient, it’s so important to find that balance between taking care of your family and taking care of you. Let’s face it – you’re a better mom or dad when you’re (relatively) well-rested, energetic and prepared to face the day. So take a little time out to focus on you – and shed some of the tension you’ve been carrying around – with these six tips.
No time for yoga class or an hour-long meditation session? Yeah, we get it. Luckily, all you need is two mindful minutes for this micro-meditation:
- Take ten deep breaths
- Take a moment to feel the air filling your lungs, feel your belly rise and fall and focus on the experience
- Every time you exhale, visualize tension leaving your body
- Ground yourself in the moment, anchor yourself in the breath and come back to your everyday life a little more relaxed and ready to face the challenges of the day
2. A Short Burst of Exercise
You don’t have to run a marathon to reap the benefits of regular exercise. Even a short burst, like a quick walk around the block or a few lunges, can get your blood pumping and put you in a better frame of mind. If you’re having trouble fitting it in, get your kids involved. Have everyone put on their helmets and ride their bikes through the neighborhood, while you follow along at a brisk walking pace.
3. A Good Night’s Sleep
As a parent, snatching as many minutes of sleep as possible is probably your number one goal. Make a goal to shut off electronics (including your smartphone!) at least a half hour before bedtime, and do something relaxing, like reading or listening to calming music, just before bed. To create a more relaxing environment in your bedroom, wash your sheets, blankets and duvet cover with Downy Infusions Sweet Dreams fabric conditioner to give them a calming fragrance. You can also add a Febreze PLUG in a soothing scent like Mediterranean Lavender, or spray your comforter and curtains with Febreze FABRIC.
4. A Streamlined Morning Routine
Nothing says stress like a mad dash in the morning, and most parents don’t have the time or luxury to devote more than a few minutes to getting themselves ready. Make it easy on yourself by planning ahead. Moms, use a water-activated cleansing cloth like Olay Daily Facials to wash your face, and then moisturize with a nourishing moisturizer like Olay Total Effects, which fights seven signs of aging in one easy step. Dads, set out your Gillette razor and shave gel the night before to “shave” a few minutes off the morning routine. And never forget to replenish razors again by joining Gillette on Demand – select your blades, and reorder quickly with a text, on-site or via email.
5. Story Time with the Kids
There are surprising benefits to reading with your kids – for you and for them! Enjoy the start of the quietest time of day, snuggle together under the covers and make story time a memorable experience. Let them pick a book they like, and make it come to life with silly character voices. Try to use this time to focus on your kids and be present in the moment.
6. A Heart-to-Heart with a Friend
Having a chat with a friend, in person or on the phone, is an instant stress buster. (It helps if this friend is also a parent!) The discussion doesn’t have to be long, but sharing some of your worries and listening to someone else’s can give you a much-needed fresh perspective, and the sense of connection can be an instant calming influence.
7. A Few Minutes Outside
Fresh air, sunlight and a sense of connection with nature are all stress-reducing tools. Take a moment from your busy day to step outdoors, even for a few minutes, to keep your stress levels down. Even better: Combine several of our tips and get outdoors for a walk with a friend!
How do you keep stress and tension at bay? Share your secrets in the comments section!