Parenting is equal parts rewarding and exhausting. One minute you’re gazing adoringly at your little cherub, and the next, you’re wondering how you’ve managed to keep yourself from pulling out all your hair. Though some degree of parental anxiety and stress is normal, persistent and prolonged emotional strain is not. Options like mild anxiety medication over the counter can help, as well as utilizing techniques to manage everyday stress and anxiety. Protect your health and boost your confidence as a parent with practical advice from experts and fellow parents.
1. Don’t Ignore Your Stress
Attempting to bury your stress is as effective as convincing your teenager that you’re cool. Untreated stress can take a toll on your physical and mental health leading to serious conditions such as depression, diabetes and heart disease. Take the first steps toward controlling your stress by acknowledging it, naming it and addressing its root causes.
2. Take Care of Yourself
With parenting duties and work obligations at the forefront of life, tending to personal needs often becomes an afterthought. However, since you can’t pour from an empty cup, self-care must be a priority. Try these tips to shift focus to your well-being:
Develop positive sleep habits. Adequate, quality sleep is imperative for your energy level and overall health. For a good night’s rest, invest in a comfortable mattress, pillows and linens. Hang blackout curtains. Resist the urge to keep your phone at your bedside.
Eat plenty of nutritious foods. For a parent on the go, you’re going to need premium fuel.
Maintain your relationships. Though busy schedules can throw a wrench into your social life, carve out blocks of time to connect with your partner, catch up with friends and trade war stories with other moms and dads.
Do something just for fun. Put that running to-do list to bed for a while and let loose with your kids. Play a board game, go on a hike or learn a new hobby together. Whatever you pick, let it be purely for enjoyment.
3. Call for Backup
The common claim that parents have superpowers unintentionally pressures moms and dads into thinking they have to do everything by themselves. In reality, the best thing you can do when you’re feeling overwhelmed is to bring in reinforcements. Tag in your partner or ask for help from a relative or neighbor. You can even arrange with another family to take turns with childcare duties to give each parent a break.
4. Seek Professional Help
If your stress interferes with your ability to function or you demonstrate signs of impulsivity, reach out to your wellness provider or a mental health professional. You may be reluctant to take prescription drugs, but there are effective medications for impulsivity in adults that are available over the counter and have no side effects or harsh synthetic chemicals.
You and your children deserve to have you feel your best. View moments of stress and anxiety as reminders of how much you love your family. Employ coping strategies, along with over the counter medicine for anxiety and stress, if needed, to help you deal with parental challenges and empower you to be the parent you strive to be.