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Essential Stress Management Plan For Parents

Stress Management For Parents

This may sound like a broken record that I’ve played many times before, but stress management for parents is something I feel compelled to proclaim.  Testy teenagers, parental disagreements, sibling squabbles, and tearful toddlers are just some of the challenges you may face as a parent.  It’s easy to think you’ll just “handle things” when they come up, but let’s be honest.  You aren’t Superdad or Wondermom.

Come on, it’s time for you to get a stress management plan.

Good-for-you activities prove their worthiness when you actually do them.  Being a parent can be very frustrating, and it’s easy to lose track of these good-for-you things.  When you don’t keep the build-up of stress in check, you can be a simmering pot just waiting to boil over.  You’ll start handling things in a reactive way that doesn’t reflect your best parenting approach.  Take a look at some of these ideas for stress management.

Exercise For Stress Management

I recently started going to a gym again.  Been a while, but I know I’m not getting any younger.  The inspiration for this post is something the instructor said as we were doing some powerful punching moves in a dance workout class.  She talked about stress and said to “leave it all on the (dance) floor.”  That was great because it really encouraged me to dump my emotional energy right there.

For me and many of you, regular exercise is something that can really help.  Honestly, how much can you ruminate over your taxes or the last fight you had with your kids when you are trying to keep yourself from falling off the treadmill for 45 minutes straight?  It gets your stress relief hormones pumping through your body, it’s a chance for social connection (or isolation if that’s what you prefer), it can be really fun, and more than anything it can provide much needed distraction.

Get Distracted – What?

OK, not all of you are really jazzed about exercise as your main stress relief (even if you do it for health reasons).  Do not underestimate the power of distraction!  As long as you aren’t engaging in something destructive, good old fashioned distraction is a key part of preventing a build up of stress and emotions.  When you worry or stew about something, your thoughts can take over your entire mood.

Just having a break in the momentum can make a huge difference for the rest of your day.  Distraction can be as simple as one really great song, a quick word puzzle, a 5 minute clip of your favorite TV show or movie, writing a loving note to someone you care about…get creative about it.

Leave It All On The Floor

Whatever you do to keep your stress levels low, really “leave it all on the floor.”  Truly get immersed in what you are doing so you can let it go.  When you pick it up again, you may have a little different energy and perspective than when you left it – that’s probably a good thing!  Your kids and family will feel it, too.

Readers, what do you do to “leave it on the floor” with the normal stress that comes with parenthood?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Christine Myaskovsky (chrissymckeen)

Essential Stress Management Plan For Parents

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2011). Essential Stress Management Plan For Parents. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 Apr 2011
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