Our children are under a great deal of stress. Some would say more than when we were kids; some would say less. I say that is not the point. The point is that they are under stress. It is our job as parents to teach them how to cope with stress because they will be experiencing stress for the rest of their lives.
However, we can only teach what we know. So ask yourself: how good are your stress management skills? DO you have a variety of options, depending on the situation? Let’s go over some really good stress management skills. You will notice that eating, buying things or using drugs are not amongst the list. These are not healthy options and definitely not useful to teach our children.
One of the most important things is to get a good night’s sleep. Surprising perhaps, but our stress coping skills go rapidly downhill when we are lacking sleep. Another important skill is exercise. We need to get rid of that excess stress energy. Working out is a great way to do so. Meditation is an amazing way to get centered. As is any type of spiritual practice. Being in nature can help us to remember what is important. Listening to a child laugh. Writing in your journal can release a great deal of stress. Punching a bed or ripping a phone book. Gardening is a wonderful way to get grounded. Taking a bath. Reading a book. For some people, cleaning is a stress reliever. Taking three deep, slow breaths. Perhaps getting a manicure. Hanging out with friends. Yelling in the shower. Listening to music. Dancing. Taking a hike. Sitting quietly. Making a list of tasks and prioritizing them. And so many others.
Here is the bottom line. There are lots of ways to manage our stress. And what works for everyone is as unique as they are. Make a list of ten stress relievers. Have your children make a list of theur ten. Post the lists. Remind your child to use hers. Have your child remind you to use yours. Then find a good book or fun movie, and curl up together and enjoy family time!