Every so often, check in with yourself. Take an honest look at your parenting and your relationships with others. If you are feeling depleted or “relationally challenged,” you could benefit from a tune-up. A visit with a family counselor is a great way to adjust and realign, or consider taking a parenting class or seminar.
If eight hours of sleep a night seems impossible, consider this: In addition to lowered stress levels, sleep improves memory, sharpens attention and helps with weight loss, among other benefits. Try unplugging from the world a little earlier in the evening to give your brain a chance to wind down. Your to-do list will be there in the morning.
Remember your annual check-ups and exams…and don’t forget the dentist! You can’t be there for the people in your life if you aren’t feeling up to it. So don’t neglect your health. They need you!
Sadly, parenting does not come with an instruction manual. But here’s the good news: It’s okay to not know the answers. Visit with a mentor or a trusted friend with older kids who may have already experienced the issue you are facing. It takes a village and we all learn from each other.
(Wow. An Olivia Newton-John and Jane Fonda reference in the same paragraph!) It’s no surprise that exercise helps relieve stress. But even if you can’t make it to the gym, find ways to sneak exercise into your day: walk the dog, use the stairs, carry your groceries. If you can, take a yoga class to clear your mind and release stress.
If time is an issue—and it usually is—pick up some lettuce and vegetables, cut up a rotisserie chicken, and you have a quick and healthy chicken salad. Or brown some meat and create a taco bar with toppings. “Assembled food” is perfect for time-deprived families, and shortcuts are encouraged. (Pssst! Martha Stewart will never know!)
By// Jenny Blunier