Summer is the time of year many of us look forward to. From summer camps and sports tournaments to long bike rides and playdates, kids seem to be busier than ever. But what about you? What are YOU doing this summer (and coordinating calendars doesn’t count!!)? While raising kids can be rewarding and wonderful, it can also start to consume your life. Consider this blog your parental PSA on self-care and how it can make you a better parent.
This week marks the first week of July, meaning that school has been out and summer is in serious session. As the school year ended, you may have been filled with excitement. Perhaps you’ve planned an incredible vacation or have a summer bucket list just itching to be checked off. Maybe you idealized bright sunny days in the back yard, at the pool, or the park. But like clockwork, the magic of summer evaporates as you find yourself rushing around, making sure everyone and everything is taken care of. Summer stress is enough to make any parent feel anxious and overwhelmed. Here are some mindfulness techniques to help the next time you feel you’re going to snap this summer.
It’s only the beginning of summer, but it seems like some people have already been enjoying the heck out of this onset of nice weather. If you’re like the rest of us, summertime is the worst time to be on social media. The pool parties and vacations. The incredible food and cute summer fashion. Not to mention it seems like everyone you know is either getting engaged, married, having a kid or “changing their lifestyle.” Instagram is now the second most popular social media platform. But it was ranked worst in the mental health category.
Resentment is often described as anger stemming from something “unfair”. With resentment often come other emotions such as annoyance or shame. Holding onto that resentment and pushing it down over a long period of time is what some mental health professionals refer to as bitterness. And they believe it to be one of the most toxic and destructive of human emotions. Holding onto feelings of prolonged hostility is bad for not just our mental but also physical and spiritual health. Friedrich Nietzsche once noted, “nothing consumes a man more quickly than the emotion of resentment.” So, it should be no surprise that a number of mental disorders stem from these emotions of anger, resentment, hostility, and bitterness.
Let’s be honest. Life can be disappointing. And for some people, that disappointment or frustration can push a person to try harder to achieve their dreams. But for some parents, they deal with those life disappointments by living vicariously through their children. We’re sure you’ve seen it; overbearing “wanna-be coach” dads and overdramatic stage moms. In 2013, a study was done to provide evidence that vicarious living both exists and has effects. Researchers found that parents can feel pride in their children’s achievements and even heal old wounds. When taken to extremes, however, living vicariously through a child can damage both the child and the parent.
There are a lot of nerves that can build when you are about to or have recently become a new mother. The postpartum phase is not the same for all moms. But most of the time, intense feelings of love can drive a new mom into her new role without much thought or effort. That is, until the exhaustion hits. Between lack of sleep and residual pain to new responsibilities and feeling overwhelmed, it’s hard to find time for yourself once baby arrives. How can you take care of both yourself and your child, while tackling all the other responsibilities of your life?
A few weeks ago, we published a blog about the stress levels of teens. And while teens today are seriously stressed, many seem to forget that their parents are just as stressed. In 2014, the American Psychological Association ran a survey entitled Stress in America. This study found that parents who have a child under 18 at home reported higher stress levels than other adults, and they report doing less to manage their stress. Many parents are laser-focused on helping their kids create the best path they can in order to succeed in the future. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Not to mention easy to lose sight of who you are as an independent adult. It’s common to hear about parental self-care in regard to new parents. But teen parents also need to practice parental self-care.
If you type “anxiety” into the Amazon search bar, you are met with seven pages of search results. From stress balls, aromatherapy mists, and gummy “calm” vitamins to audio books, teas, and weighted blankets, there are no shortages of possible anxiety relief solutions. In a culture where therapy is still stigmatized and access to healthcare isn’t easy, we are choosing to buy our way out with products rather than sit down and truly reflect. While we believe there are some great anxiety products on the market, nothing can replace positive coping mechanisms and lifestyle choices. Let’s dive into a few of the most popular results, and also discuss how pairing those products with lifestyle choices can truly help you cope with anxiety.
The Gottman Method. Relationships are difficult. We all have our own experiences in life that have shaped us into who we are. We have our own opinions and worldviews. And they don’t always coincide with the way others feel. And that is especially true with romantic partners. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean the relationship is safe and good to go. The greatest relationships have been through struggle. The members of those relationships continue to choose to fight for those relationships every single day. These relationships take a lot of effort, time, communication, and compromise. And we have to remember that a relationship isn’t failing because two people are having a hard time connecting. It just means two humans are having difficulty understanding one another – which is a totally normal thing!
Stress has always been a part of the human experience. Our ancestors stressed about hunting and gathering enough food. They stressed about weather phenomena, empires collapsing, and wars. Today, we are faced with stress in almost every part of our physical and now, digital, lives. We are actually faced with so many different stressors, that sometimes, we don’t even realize we’re stressed out! Think about that. Some of us are already so chronically stressed that we don’t know what being calm even feels like. So before you add another worry to your plate, take a second to reflect. And ask yourself this question, “Am I stressed out?” Read more