Sleep, Wellness, and Stress Relief Tips for Working Parents
This guest blog post was curated for Bucky by Diana Wills.
Few things in life can compare to the joys of parenthood. However, in their aim to be the best parents for their little ones, many parents fall into the trap of trying to be Supermoms or Superdads. And in their efforts to juggle between all the responsibilities on their own, they only increase their stress levels. This negatively reflects on their health and well-being and further exacerbates the problem. Here’s what working parents can do to eliminate stress and improve their overall wellness.
Put some thought into your dietary choices
Your eating habits are directly related to your overall mood and how energetic you feel during the day. When you’re rushing to work and running late, it’s easy to reach for unhealthy foods – we’ve all been there. However, less time shouldn’t translate to less quality food. In fact, with simple planning and organizing, you can break those bad habits and create new, healthy ones that will stick. Start by making breakfast a habit, and swap the donuts and sugar-packed cereals for foods that will kick-start your metabolism (e.g. Greek yogurt with fruits or scrambled eggs with veggies). Consider making a weekly meal plan you can base your grocery shopping trips on and give meal prepping a shot as well – it will save you a lot of time and money. When you lead by example, your children are more likely to develop and stick to those healthy habits throughout their lives, so it’s a win-win situation all around.
Develop an effective morning routine you won’t mind repeating
Routines are there to make things easier for us, yet many parents don’t really realize their benefits. A big part of living a positive lifestyle, a powerful morning routine saves time, which is often the number one priority on most working parents’ lists. They help us be more efficient with those first couple of hours in a day, taking the stress out of the equation and beating the dreaded decision fatigue. Much of the routine consists of preparing everything in advance. From the clothes you’ll wear to the food you’ll eat to the things you need to bring with you that day, everything is pre-planned. That way, you can simply grab those things in the morning without thinking too much, thus starting your day sans stress.
Say "no" to stress by saying "yes" to help
We all have some activities we enjoy, but not all of us have the luxury of time. With more moms entering the workforce, especially in places such as Hong Kong, an increasing number of working parents are relying on childcare so they can continue working. By enrolling their child in a fun playgroup in Hong Kong, they make it possible for their child to learn through play and various interactive learning activities while they’re able to hold down a job and get some time for themselves. This is also a norm in Sweden, where many working parents take advantage of the subsidized daycare facilities, and the situation is similar in places such as France and Denmark. By saying ‘yes’ to help, working parents are able to say ‘no’ to stress and get the support they need without enduring any drastic lifestyle changes.
Find a way to squeeze exercise into your daily schedule
When it comes to fitness, many parents find it difficult to fit in any physical activity into their tight work schedules. However, failing to engage in physical activities for longer periods of time can lead to increased mental and physical tension and result in a range of health issues. On the other hand, making exercise a part of a daily routine, no matter its length or intensity, can reverse those effects and release tension and stress in the body. It can be anything, from going for a quick jog in the morning and exercising on a cardio machine to taking a relaxing walk in the evening and enrolling in a yoga class. There is also a wide range of office-friendly exercises that can be done while at work. It’s a sure way to reduce stress and boost mood even when you’re not at home.
Make a good night’s sleep your top priority
With all the daily stresses and duties constantly on their minds, it’s no wonder many parents struggle to get a good night’s sleep. Their daytime worries often make it difficult for parents to ‘switch off’ and call it a day, which interferes with the way they function on a day-to-day basis. However, sleep deprivation causes a number of health issues, including higher blood pressure, diabetes, and heart diseases. Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for our wellness and ability to function throughout the day, and how well we sleep depends on a number of factors, from room temperature to noise to visual distractions. If you find it difficult to fall asleep despite the ideal sleep environment, try putting your thoughts on paper before you go to bed. You can also try focusing on your breathing and meditation to clear your head from worries and calm down your mind before going to sleep.
Given the many roles parents need to take on, it’s understandable that stress can sometimes get the best of them. However, by introducing positive changes and eliminating negative habits, parents can manage this stress more effectively, thus bringing balance back into their lives.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Diana Wills is a Biochemist and a Blogger based in Sydney. She is a science, health, food and fitness lover, with interests in beauty and fashion. Diana believes her love towards all of these things is so contagious that she just had to start writing about them so she can share it even more. Dina is a contributor to the health and fitness blog ripped.me and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.
*Bucky does not endorse any products or practices suggested by guest bloggers. All ideas and opinions are their own and do not reflect the opinions of Bucky.