As a parent, do you ever feel like your life is devoted to others and that there is little time for you to do anything you find enjoyable? Are you constantly pulled in different directions? Parents are expected to manage work, children, a spouse, extracurricular activities, doctor appointments, grocery shopping, cleaning and much more. The stress of juggling so many things can reach seemingly unsurmountable levels.
Managing this stress requires organization, planning and not forgetting to take care of yourself. Here is a 5-part strategy to help you manage the stress of being a parent and caretaker:
First, think about each day individually. Rather than look at what needs to get accomplished in a week, consider what needs to get accomplished by the end of the day. Daily tasks that are absolutely necessary should be your primary focus.
Second, physically write out a list of your tasks and scratch off each task as it is completed. There is something fulfilling about physically crossing off the tasks that were completed. It can empower you to be more productive.
Third, prioritize and start with the task on the list that is the most burdensome to you. It will make the rest of your day less stressful.
Fourth, after completing several tasks, it’s time for a reward. Listen to your favorite music, read for pleasure, exercise, take a yoga class or plan a massage. Choose something that you find enjoyable and fit it in your daily schedule.
Fifth, don’t neglect your own needs. Go to your doctor’s appointment, get your flu shots and make sure that you are healthy. In order to take care of others you need to take care of yourself.
Ultimately, your daily organization, planning and self-care will help you both manage your own stress and be a better caretaker to those who depend on you.