Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ten Ways to Rejuvenate When You're Stressed Out

We're just entering the winter months, and we have more sun here in the Florida panhandle than some of you do in your part of the country. But by time February rolls around, most of us are feeling the effects of winter--and being inside with children more than usual. 

Sometimes the issue is more complicated, for instance if you suffer from SAD, you might need one of the special lights you can buy or may even need medical help. 

Not only is there the winter thing, but parenting is a demanding job. If you are a single or temporarily single parent, this is even more true -- both for moms and dads. 

During this holiday season, it's easy to get stressed out and fail to enjoy the festivities or even to wish you didn't have to get out of bed.

Here are ten ways to help rejuvenate your energy and deal with the demands of parenting.
     1.  Hire a baby-sitter. Everyone needs time away from the children other than time spent at work. Don’t feel guilty about leaving the children with a baby sitter occasionally while you go to the gym or attend an adult activity. An alternative would be to have an older neighborhood child take the children outside to play while you spend time in the house doing what you wish to do.

    2.  Have fun. True, you have many responsibilities and it seems you will never get caught up. You still need time for fun either alone or as a family. This may be as simple as making popcorn and watching a movie, playing a board game or going to McDonald’s once a week. Turn the children loose in the play area while you have a cup of coffee. 

     3.  Have an emergency kit. Stock up on interesting items from the dollar store. Keep them in a special box under your bed and pull them out when the children are bored and irritable. Use them for rainy days and sick days.

     4.  Form or join support group. Look around for Mothers of Preschoolers (sorry, no dads), parent and tot groups, exercise groups, support groups adoptive parents or whatever you need. Don’t ignore your needs. As you meet your own needs, you will be more able to meet the needs of your children.
     5.  Let your children help. Don’t come home from work, try to fix supper, run a load of laundry, feed the dog, start the dish washer and gather dirty laundry and dishes from around the house. Delegate! Even the smallest children can help. Send one child to gather dirty clothes and dishes. Have another set the table. Older children can start the laundry and do dishes. Having a rule of no television before the work is done is great motivation for most children. A weekly allowance also spurs motivation.
     6.  Exercise. Perhaps you feel you don’t have enough energy left to exercise, but it will actually give you more energy and help you stay fit. If you are a working parent, use your lunch hour to walk with a friend or play racquetball with the guys. Use your breaks to stretch, walk around the building or up and down steps. If you are an at home parent, take your child for a fast-paced stroll around the neighborhood or work out with an aerobics DVD.

     7.  Practice good nutrition. We make our children eat healthy food but sometimes we don’t do the same. It’s easy to drop some change into the snack machine and get a Coke and Doritoes, but that’s not the healthiest choice. Sugar may boost your energy level quickly but good nutrition will pay off in the long run.
     8.  Keep a sense of humor. Sometimes you have to laugh or cry. Choose laughter. Studies have shown that it has many benefits to your emotional state and your well being. Look for the humor in even the most annoying situations, or look back later and laugh.
     9.  Learn something new. Don’t become a dull, lifeless person. If you don’t have a challenging job that keeps you sharp and learning, find a hobby that does. Take a community class in sign language, Chinese cooking or speaking German. It will make you a more interesting person.

    10.  Spend time alone with someone special. Go out to eat with your husband. Go to a movie with a friend. Go shopping with a sister. Do something fun or meaningful with someone you can share the memories with later. Everyone needs a break from children. You'll come back refreshed and ready to tackle parenting issues.

You can't do everything, so pick one thing from the above list and do it this week.

What do you do to rejuvenate?

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