Nothing can prepare a person for parenthood. The lifestyle and energy shift and awesome responsibility brings with it an entire set of stresses, headaches, distractions, and reasons for sleepless nights and exhausting days. But those are typically symptoms of good parenting, because unless you are living that kind of selfless existence as a parent the chances are good that you aren’t doing everything you should to love, protect, educate, nurture, and befriend your child. The problem is that in order to keep giving of ourselves, it is important to make sure that we, too, are nurtured. Otherwise anyone will become depleted if all they do is serve others without end. To give, in other words, it is important to also receive. One of the biggest and most vital gift a parent needs to give himself or herself is good old-fashioned relaxation or comfortable, easy-going “down time.”
Here are four tips for finding the relaxation you seek:
- Schedule Mini-Breaks – Every hour, take a three minute break. Stop everything, put on the iPod earphones, and just get lost in a favorite song. Step outside and count clouds, or just go rinse your face in cool water. Interrupting the chaos with a few moment of calm can do wonders.
- Stay Healthy – Eating well, drinking plenty of water, and getting even a few minutes of intentional exercise – not just the kind you get chasing kids around the playground – all help the body and mind to unload stress. Your brain releases uplifting endorphins and other chemicals, too, to help you feel better and have more energy.
- Invest in Your Relaxation – When you have reached your limit, pay someone to clean the house just once. Hire a sitter and go out for the evening. Or just buy a pair of good earplugs and use them to preserve your sanity whenever the kids are shrieking nonstop. By giving little gifts of relaxation to yourself you have more energy to give your children.
- Remember to Breathe – One of the easiest things to do to relax, and one of the easiest to forget, is to just close your eyes and take ten deep breathes. Visualize all your anxiety leaving you on the exhale, and slowly empty your mind and then inhale again. Hey, they teach this stuff to Navy SEALS and cage fighters. So give it a try to combat some stress at home.
There are many conventional strategies for relaxation, of course, and if you get a chance to escape to the beach or have a night out with your grown-up friends then seize the opportunity and relish it while it lasts. But what many parents really want is tips and techniques for creating some sustainable relaxation, or for creating relaxing experiences within the fleeting moments of an otherwise hectic day. Follow these tips and you should find more of those mini-relaxation moments in life. Together they add up to some significant comfort and relief from stress.