10 Easy Ways for Busy Parents to Unwind
Being a parent is one of the most fulfilling commitments we can make. Kids bring so much love, joy, and excitement to our lives. But they can also bring a lot of busy. Parents are some of the best multi-taskers out there since they have to balance so much stuff on their everyday to-do lists. Here are 10 easy ways to kick back, unwind, and slow down the pace of life that comes with being a busy parent.
1. Self Talk
When one of the kids has a tough day, what do you do? You most likely sit with them and talk about all the things that are going right in their life and everything they’ve accomplished. It’s parenting 101. Apply these same strategies to yourself. Give yourself a break, and remember to use some positive self-talk to highlight and celebrate your own accomplishments.
2. Embrace the Silly
Yes, it’s infuriating that you dropped the salad and made a mess. Never mind that you don’t have dinner ready at 6 pm on the nose as a result. Instead of letting the situation rule you, try ruling the situation. You can’t change what happened, only your reaction to it. So embrace disasters with a healthy dose of silly. Make a game out of cleaning up the mess, and then treat yourself to dinner out.
3. Achievable Goals
If your six year old told you that she was very worried about passing the bar exam to become a lawyer, you’d probably smile, hug her, and then post about it on Facebook. Because it’s unrealistic and adorable. Parents set the same unreal expectations of ourselves. We get so worried about things that are really too large scale to matter in the here and now. Instead of aiming to create gourmet meals by 5:45 pm sharp every evening, start by setting a simple meal plan that is achievable. You’ll find that having smaller goals that you CAN accomplish gives you the energy to start thinking about larger tasks.
4. Screen Time
Most parents spend plenty of time worrying over how much screen time their kids get. Most parents forget to monitor their own screen time. Setting a window every day where your screens are turned off helps you really tune in to life. By silencing the noise in your sphere, you’ll find that you’re more present in your family’s life and that you also sleep better. Start the habit by charging your phone in a room that you do not sleep in.
5. Take A Vacation
Start planning a year in advance so that it’s not a financial stressor on your life. Set a realistic budget, and then book something. Once it’s booked, you’ll feel obligated to make monthly payments, as opposed to easily forgetting to move money to savings every year. This also gives you something to look forward to. Too busy to plan? Hire a travel agent. Since hotels and cruise lines pay them for their referral, you don’t have to. They’ll handle all the details, and you won’t spend more for it.
6. Get Up Early
At first, this one doesn’t sound like much fun. We get it. But waking up even 15-30 minutes before the kids gives you a little window of time for yourself before heading off to the races of everyday life. Take the time to slowly wake up, enjoy a cup of coffee, and meditate. Once you develop the routine, you’re not likely to miss the extra sleep, and may find that you’re even getting up a bit earlier!
7. Hug It Out
As we get older, and as our kids age, physical contact becomes more and more sparse. You might be surprised at how much less stressed out you feel just by taking some time for a human embrace.
Seriously! Taking a bit of time to focus on deep, mindful breathing has been proving to dramatically lower your stress level. 10 seconds in, hold for 10, and out for 10. Do it 6 times to keep it simple and you’ll be amazing at how much better you feel in just a minute!
9. Get Out There
Yes, every day is busy. Perhaps the idea of finding time to go for a hike or have a picnic just seems like wasted energy and highly unlikely with your busy schedule. But if you want to slow down the pace of your life a bit, you have to do it on purpose. Start saying “yes” to outdoor time, so that you can say “no” to the requests of your time from other distractions. Nature is the great equalizer, and we all feel better after taking a break.
10. Embrace Your Inner Queen Elsa
Let it go, let it go! In the grand scheme of life, very few of our everyday stressors mean much at all. You’ll find that your life becomes much more enjoyable when you learn to let the small things be small and let the anxiety go.
No matter what you do to unwind and destress, remember, you’re worth the time that you commit to your own personal care. You deserve it!