We always say that it takes a village to raise a child. What happens when you can’t access the village and everything has to be done from home?
The events of the past year have parents more stressed than ever. Many parents are finding themselves wearing several different hats, from at-home employee to cook to teacher’s aid to daycare provider.
If you’re a stressed parent, it’s time to find ways to cut down on your day-to-day responsibilities and make more time for yourself. How can you make that happen?
Read on for five ways that you can cut down on the stress and find more time for relaxation as a stressed parent.
- Find a Good Meal Delivery Service
Are you tired of cooking every night? Are you running out of ways to keep things exciting and fresh in the kitchen? Is the take-out menu getting a little bit boring?
If you’re looking for a way to supplement your weekly meal planning with fresh, healthy, prepared meals, find a quality meal service that delivers to your area. Having to set aside time every night to cook dinner can become a source of stress, especially when you’re not able to hit the town for a chef-prepared dinner a few times a month. A good meal delivery service can take the edge off of dinner time and ensure that you’re eating a healthy, well-balanced diet that will make everyone in the family happy.
- Establish Quiet Time
With your partner and your kids running around the house all the time, it can feel like there’s never a moment of peace. Depending on how old your kids are, you may be able to set some ground rules and establish some designated quiet time each day.
If you’ve got babies or toddlers, line up your quiet time with their naptime. Rather than trying to take advantage of that hour to catch up on work or chores, use that time to read a good book or watch an episode of your favorite show.
If your kids are old enough to keep themselves preoccupied, talk to them about an hour of “me time” or “room time.” During this hour, allow them to play with their toys, read their books, or spend some time on the computer. Let them know that the rules are to stay out of trouble and only come looking for you if they need to.
- Be Honest With Your Boss
Taking a step back from your career may not be in your nature, but recognize when it’s time. If you’re someone that tends to take on the extra workload around the office or put in overtime, talk to your boss.
Let them know that you’ve got a lot going on at home. Ask that they respect your boundaries by not dumping additional assignments on you throughout the week or calling you outside of work hours. It may not feel that comfortable, but putting your needs before your employer’s is an important step toward reducing your stress.
- Lower the Bar (Really, It’s Okay)
Things are a bit unusual right now and it’s important to recognize that not everything is going to go according to plan. Allow yourself to lower the bar and accept that some of your usual expectations simply can’t be met.
Assess the areas in your life that you tend to hold high standards for. Maybe you like to work out five days a week or keep the house completely spotless.
Some of those high standards may apply to your children. Maybe you strive to incorporate additional educational content into their day or limit their screentime to a single hour.
It’s okay to lower the bar in all of these areas. Remember that right now, everyone is doing their best. If your house isn’t squeaky clean by the end of the week or your kids have watched a few more hours of television than normal, that’s okay.
Ultimately, the idea is to cut down on the stress that you can control. Remind yourself that things will go back to “normal” eventually and that for now, focusing on happiness and relaxation needs to be a priority.
- Make Time to Talk to Friends
Talking to a close friend or family member can increase your feeling of happiness and companionship. It can also help to reduce stress when you have someone trustworthy to confide in or to take your mind off of the day-to-day stuff.
Ask your best friend, your sister, or someone you love chatting with if they can schedule a weekly call. Set aside as much time as possible for these calls and give yourself something to look forward to every week.
During these calls, do your best to focus on the positive and the negative. Unloading some of your problems can feel cathartic, but spending hours talking about your stressors can put a strain on you and your conversational partner. Striking a balance in these phone calls can ensure that they’re enjoyable and sustainable.
Cut Yourself Some Slack as a Stressed Parent
If you’re a stressed parent, you’re not alone. All of us are finding ways to navigate this unusual year and it’s not always an easy process. With these five must-know tips, you can find ways to check in with yourself and make sure that relaxation is still on your to-do list.
Looking for more ways to keep things exciting in the kitchen? Take a look at more of our content for fun, inspiring, kid-friendly ideas that you and your kids will love.