Seems like everyone is stressed out lately. Whether it is work, home, kids, traffic, politics or the constantly growing piles of bills. There seems like there is always something triggering our stress on a day-to-day basis. For parents who have children with special needs, the never-ending balancing act of work and caregiving can be overwhelming. In addition, finding ways to reduce stress can be elusive and time consuming. Here is a quick list of ways that you can reduce stress in your life even if it is just for a few minutes a day.
- Try progressive relaxation. To to get those muscles to relax all the way from your fingers to toes. First tense each set of muscles then relax them.
- Practice deep breathing exercises. This has been shown to lower cortisol levels, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. Studies suggest deep breathing can also cause a temporary drop in blood pressure.
- Practice doing daily exercise even if it is only a quick walk around the block or yoga stretches in your bedroom.
- Cut down on caffeine and alcohol. These may make you depressed or on edge.
- Pet your dog or cat. Dog owners have been shown to be less stressed out—most likely thanks to having a buddy to cuddle.
- Take a power nap. Even ten or fifteen minutes can help reduce your cortisol level and help you focus. Sleep deprivation can only heighten your stress.
- Do something you love whether it is gardening, art, writing, drawing or shopping. Treat yourself to something that brings you joy. Can’t find the time? Try visualizing it until you can do it.
- Laugh often. Parents who are stressed often find stress reduction in talking and laughing with other parents who are in the same boat.
- Physical touch can help. Stress can be reduced when you hug, hold hands, snuggle or kiss.
- Listen to music. While it doesn’t need to be classical it should be music that is calming and allows you to get your mind off the stressor for a moment.
If you are having difficulty reducing the stress in your life – talk to your friends, relatives or even a therapist to find ways to cut back on stress and anxiety in your life.