I think this article by the National Institute of Health is a worthwhile read - it delves deeper into the correlation between stress and illness, stress as a “proxy killer” (underlying and contributing cause of death) and emotional and mental stress that lingers but may not manifest outwardly via illness or may unknowingly need physical release (stop keeping those emotions bottled up causing more stress). We know that stress is just a “fact of life” and people deal with stress in different ways. The NIH says, “It is our way of reacting to the situations that makes a difference in our susceptibility to illness and our overall well-being.”
So what do you do to cope with stress, especially at home, with kids, during a global pandemic? Families who were functioning well have been thrown for a loop. Everyone’s home, everyone’s together. 24/7. AHHHHHH. Even if it’s not 24/7, other factors have come into play that have caused families to at least spend more time together. Many schools are virtual, many jobs are now remote. Practices and classes have been cancelled. Parents are now expected to be teachers, chefs, entertainers, coaches, etc. It is exhausting, frustrating and, yes, STRESSFUL, (in addition to already stressful things happening in your life).
Next time you’re feeling like you just can’t take it anymore, here are six things you can do to cope with the stress. No, I’m not going to sugar coat this with some “30 minutes of yoga” or “take a relaxing bath”. Yes, those relieve stress for many (I’m not a bath person, but I know many people are!!) and are great ideas. But, I’m going to be real with you and suggest a few things that you can do that take between 30 seconds and 10 minutes…
Not everyone is going to agree with me that having a drink or cleaning out a junk drawer is the best way to relieve stress. Parental judgment is HARSH (and it absolutely shouldn’t be, Karen). But when you can’t step away, when that 30 minutes of journaling just CAN’T happen because your son needs help with his science project and your daughter is putting stickers all over the place, these six things can be that few minutes of release you need to make it to your next bubble bath.
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