Ah, Summer. A time for us to sleep late, relax, go on bike rides, take a vacation, and play with our friends. Oh wait… that’s summer for children. Summer for adults can, unfortunately, quite often, be the exact opposite. Creating (and managing) our children’s schedules, figuring out how to pay for expensive summer camps, and finding the time to go to the beach makes it easy and common for our stress levels to reach new highs. Sometimes everything on our plate can take a toll on our mental health, and we aren’t even able to notice the little moments of joy all around us in the summer months.
It’s no secret that it’s not easy being an adult in today’s world and especially not easy being a parent. But there are tools available to you to make it more manageable and less overwhelming. This article will explore summer stress relief ideas for busy parents.
Use These 5 Tips to Decompress and Relax
Take a few deep breaths. While it sounds almost too simple to be helpful, breathing is a potent tool for calming the nervous system. When you’re stressed and feeling ungrounded, your breath is shallow and fast, making it nearly impossible to relax. Next time you’re feeling stressed, try using the 4-7-8 breathing technique. It’s a standard breathing method to calm someone with a panic attack. You breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and then breathe out for 8 seconds. You repeat this pattern as many times as needed until you start to feel a sense of relief. The great thing about this technique is that you can do it anywhere.
Listen to a short, guided meditation. When it comes to meditation, we often think the practice must be long and intense for it to count or be impactful. But the truth is, you don’t have to take an hour of your day or be sitting, chanting mantras in Sanskrit to feel the benefits of meditation. You can take a few minutes and focus on your breath or listen to a guided meditation on YouTube or a meditation app like Calm or Headspace. Taking the time to ground yourself during a stressful moment can positively affect you.
Be selective with activities. As a parent, it’s common to want to give your children every opportunity in the world to grow into happy, healthy, well-versed people. However, running yourself into the ground because you overpacked your child’s schedule will not win you the parent-of-the-year award. Chances are your child won’t even be able to enjoy the activities if they feel it’s causing you stress. It’s also important to teach your kids that they won’t always be able to do everything they want in life and that learning to choose and prioritize is a vital skill set.
Bring awareness to what you consume. When life feels stressful, sometimes we want to escape reality by binge-watching shows or scrolling through our social media accounts. But bring awareness to what you’re consuming. If you’re reading about stressful events every day or watching tv shows about negative topics, you’re not helping your mind relax but teaching it to live in constant noise and chaos. If you’re experiencing stress, watch and read about positive or neutral topics or content that makes you smile or interests you. Saturate yourself with the good.
Prioritize self-care. If you’re someone who tells yourself you’ll get around to self-care one day when the kids are grown, stop putting it off. Yes, you’re busy and have a lot going on, but if you can’t find a little time every day (we’re talking five minutes) or at least every week to care for yourself, then you will most likely struggle with stress for a long time. And remember, stressful energy eventually impacts the body, causing pain and disease. Going for a walk, taking a bath, reading a book, writing a gratitude list or journaling, and taking the time to wash your face are all simple actions you can take to care for yourself. You don’t have to spend money; you just choose to show up for yourself in some way consistently.
Contact Us Today
If you’re struggling to find ways to manage your summer stress or mental health as a parent, you’re not alone. The world is a challenging place right now with so much negative noise in our ears at all times; sometimes, the simplest actions on your to-do list can feel too hard to accomplish. If you feel like talking to a counselor or therapist could be beneficial, Advanced Behavioral Health is here to help. We have an extensive team of professionals who specialize in various therapy modalities, including EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy), CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), and Animal Assisted Play Therapy, to name a few. Call us at 301-345-1022 or send us a message on our website here.