These are stressful times. Juggling responsibilities to work (or being unemployed or working from home) and family can sometimes make parents feel a little overwhelmed. Add to that the current situation where parents are also managing their child’s day-to-day education. That feeling of being stretched thin can contribute to stress, which many parents acknowledge is part of their daily lives.
Stress isn’t always caused by life-changing events. It has been a part of parenting all along. Data from a 2015 Pew Research Study indicates 15 percent of American parents say their job as a parent is tiring all the time, while an additional 18 percent say parenting is tiring most of the time. Ten percent indicated being a parent is stressful all of the time, while 15 percent said it is most of the time. The younger the age of the children at home, the more stress many parents say they face.
It is well documented that stress can have various negative physical and psychological symptoms, which put stress sufferers’ overall health at risk. Parents can curtail stress by instituting some lifestyle changes and employing other management techniques.
Don’t take work stress home. It’s easy enough to bring home work-related problems, and when you are working from home, it can be hard to separate the two. Try to diffuse tricky situations before your workday is over.
Increase quality family time. Take a break from obsessing over the news or staring at your screen, and the other tasks that pull families in different directions. Slow down and schedule fun activities that foster parent-child relationships, such as game nights or family movie nights.
Seek professional help. Parents who are having difficulty coping can enlist the services of trained mental health professionals. These therapists can offer helpful strategies for coping with life’s challenges. Many providers are available via telemedicine. The New York State Office Mental Health has an Emotional Support Line at (844) 863-9314 to provide free and confidential support, helping callers experiencing increased anxiety due to the coronavirus emergency. The help line is staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals, who have received training in crisis counseling.
Stick to a routine. Keeping kids on routine schedules enables parents to know which moments of the day they can get a break to rest and recharge.
Ask for help. Do not be a martyr or attempt to be a superhero. Parents who need help should reach out for assistance, especially if it’s to tame stress. Doing so is in the best interest of the entire family.