Parenting definitely has the capability to feel like an overwhelming avalanche, especially when you have multiple children or family members to think about and care for. While life can sometimes feel like a bit much, you love your family and want to do what’s best for them — while also taking care of yourself in the process. It can be a delicate balance, but it’s absolutely possible. In fact, it’s necessary for your well being as well as theirs.
If you’re stuck in a rut where you feel tired, overwhelmed and simply in need of a break, there are plenty of things you can do to help yourself along and start feeling like you again. While there is no simple solution or quick easy fix to add more hours to the day, there are a few practices you can put in place to care for your family and yourself, even when you feel a bit in over your head. Here are just a few of them to get you started.
If you haven’t heard of mindfulness before, it might seem counterintuitive, but it actually provides so many mental and practical benefits for those who truly trust in it. Mindfulness is about being entirely present in the sensations and events around you. If you feel overwhelmed, your first response may be to check out completely. But focusing on one thing at a time and not allowing your mind to race and stress can be extremely powerful and effective.
Make Time for Family Activities
Sometimes, dividing time between different people and activities can cause stress and make you feel overwhelmed — much more than necessary. If you happen to care for multiple people in your family — such as your kids and your parents — combining your quality time can not only enhance your family’s connection, but also alleviate some of the stress on you. Many senior living centers provide activities like gardening and hobby rooms, perfect for a visit with Grandma or Grandpa!
Rest When the Kids Rest
While many people have long cast off the advice of “sleep when the baby sleeps,” this tip essentially takes that advice with the grain of salt it deserves. Baby naps can be unpredictable and untimely, which doesn’t usually bode well for adult naps to go along with them. However, you can take your kids’ downtime — whether it’s bedtime or naptime — to give yourself some rest. No, you may not sleep right then, but you don’t need to rush around doing every chore you couldn’t do while the kids were awake. Allow yourself some downtime.
Practice Self Care
The times where you feel overwhelmed are often the times when you’re in need of the most self care. Unfortunately, those are also the times when you’re most likely to put it on the back burner in favor of other responsibilities. Even if you can only manage little things in your self care practice, including them will be a game changer. By showing up for yourself, you can show up better for those around you.
Remember That Nobody is Perfect
Sometimes, feeling overwhelmed as a parent can come from the urge to strive for perfection. Of course, you want to be the best you can for your kids, but that doesn’t mean you need to be perfect. Nobody is perfect, and trying to force yourself to be will only cause you stress you don’t need. You’re doing amazing and trying your best — and that’s more than enough.
Say No Sometimes
This one can sound the simplest, but in practice, it can take some true gumption. Sometimes, you just need to say no to things. Social gatherings, requests from the kids and additional commitments can add up quickly, and learning to say no where it counts can actually save you a lot of trouble. Stand your ground and learn to say no.
Telling someone who feels overwhelmed to meditate sometimes sounds a bit crazy. While you might not be able to drop everything and dash to an hour-long yoga class or sit in transcendental pondering for an entire afternoon, the beauty is that you don’t have to. Allowing yourself a short meditation each day can help you feel calmer and more relaxed so you can tackle everything with a clear head. There are guided tracks out there that only take a minute of your day, but leave you feeling so much lighter.
Caring for Your Family While Overwhelmed
Being a parent and caretaker can feel stressful, even when you love it. While there is no magic fix for the stress, techniques like meditation, mindfulness and self care can be revolutionary in your life. There are so many ways to stay on track and reduce the stress of parenthood. What’s your favorite way to relieve stress and practice self care?