Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Resiliency: A Parent's Guide to Dealing with Stress

My Niece and Nephew
As a parent, we deal with stressful situations every day.  It seems like we have so many tasks to complete, and not nearly enough time to do them.  Between taking care of our children, our spouse, keeping up with the housework, and demands of work, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and lose motivation to continue with the daily tasks of life.  Thankfully, we are stronger than we realize, and we can build up our resiliency.  Here are some ways to do so:

·         Turn outward - reach out to and connect with the people around you.  This includes greeting the greeters and cashiers at the grocery store, or smiling and saying hi to the person in the elevator with you
My Niece
·         Get rid of distractions and be in the moment – This means that when you are reading to your children, keep your phone put away, and when you are spending time with your spouse, don’t just be sitting in the same room as them; be mindful of the people around you and the experiences that matter most in your life.
·         Change your perspective on your weaknesses – instead of looking at them like your weaknesses and limitations, look at them as potential strong points in disguise.
·         Focus on what you did right today, instead of what you did wrong, and focus on how you can continue to do those things right.

Use the resources around you:

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·         Remember that you have people around you who can help you.  Surround yourself with people who are strong in areas that you may be weak in.
·         Be spontaneous!  Clean in a new way - pretend to be Cinderella or that you are preparing your house for a visit from a king.  If your children are old enough, include them in pretending.  It will make it more of a game for all involved, and give you variety in your life.
·         Do something that you can feel accomplished about, whether it’s cleaning out a cupboard, repainting a room, or completing a project that you've been working on.

And here are some tips for when you feel like you can’t do any more:

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·         Go for a small win – be happy that your table is cleaned off, or that you did 4 loads of laundry.  Take pride in the fact that even if you are still in your pajamas, and haven’t showered, that your children are dressed, fed, and clean. 
·         Don’t make things worse – avoid knee-jerk responses that can make things worse.  Respond in a way that is honest and healthy.  Take a moment to laugh at the mess that your kids have made, since one day it will be a funny memory. 

Parenting is one of the most rewarding, yet difficult tasks that we do.  As we continue to push forward, and be resilient, we teach our children to also be resilient, and it will help them to succeed in life.

What are some of your suggestions for those times when you think you just can't keep going?

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