According to a 2020 study by the American Psychological Association, the average parent ranked their stress levels at 6.7/10. With the average adult coming in at 5.4/10, it’s clear that parenting can add additional stress to day-to-day life. From working a full-time job, to taking care of kids, to managing a house, the added stress doesn’t come as a surprise. In order to keep your stress managed to prevent it from bleeding into your family life, it’s important to reflect on it and find ways to cope.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can deal with stress and handle your parenting responsibilities at the same time. Below, we’ve listed a few relaxation techniques for stress you can do with the family.
Have a Storytime Session
Storytime sessions can be a great relaxation technique for kids. Through storytime sessions, everybody can get out of their own heads and exercise their imaginative sides. If your kids are visual learners, try to exercise your creativity and support your story with props. Younger children may find some entertainment in seeing their Warmies play hero and villain in a makeshift puppet show. Or, you can read immersive picture books alongside them to entertain them and improve their reading skills at the same time.
Journaling refers to the simple act of putting your thoughts to paper. By doing so, you become better able to understand your situation and your feelings more clearly. That understanding alone can help to ease stress for all involved.
Additionally, SymptomFind’s feature on teaching empathy notes that when children write about their feelings, they grow up with a better ability to express themselves in healthy ways. That's certainly an added bonus, and one more reason to embrace journaling as a family. So give it a shot! Buy everyone in the family a personal journal (yourself included), and encourage regular writing.
Do Yoga as a Family
Studies have shown that doing yoga can help individuals decrease their bodies' levels of cortisol –– the hormone associated with stress. And in addition to reducing mental tension in this way, we know that yoga also helps to build physical strength, improve balance, and increase focus. Best of all, yoga’s easy for kids to learn, too!
To start a yoga session as a family, you can look to kid-friendly yoga apps for guidance. Online, there are entire libraries of video tutorials available that you can access for free. Once you learn the basic poses, you can include yoga as a regular part of your afternoon routine. Then, heat up your kids Warmies to relax their muscles and help them unwind after each session. You can even heat up some Warmies Neck Wraps for you and your partner.
Whatever the specific tools or programs you and your family employ though, yoga will surely help to reduce collective stress levels.
Start an Art Project Together
Another great way for the family to reduce stress is to encourage activities related to arts and crafts. Just like yoga, creating art can significantly reduce the body’s levels of cortisol, as explained in The Conversation’s article on mental health’s connection with art. Creating art also encourages a stress-relieving state called mindfulness, which is a state of consciousness that allows people to observe their thoughts without judgment.
Encourage your children to connect with their feelings by setting aside time for arts and crafts making. And if you want to reap the benefits of making art, you can include yourself in the fun and start a family art project. Try filling in a coloring book together. Or, collaborate on a painting, drawing, or DIY project.
No matter what your specific family dynamic may be, balancing your responsibilities as a parent can be a stressful endeavor. Luckily, there are many relaxation techniques that allow you to simultaneously ease your stress levels and strengthen family bonds.
Article exclusively written for warmies.com
By Ashley Camden