Parenting is stressful no matter who you are. Being a parent means giving, giving, giving — love, attention, resources,
time. It’s very easy to forget to take care of yourself.
During the holidays, stress can get worse. It’s surprising — “the happiest time of the year” is not always happy.
Seeing family and friends can make you unhappy if they aren’t kind to you. Buying your children Christmas gifts is hard if you don’t have much money. The sun — which helps us stay in a good mood — goes away, and the dark, rainy days can be depressing, day after day.
How can you cope with stress during the winter months?
- Keep a journal or diary. Take notes each day about what caused you stress, how you felt, how you acted when you were stressed out, and what you did to make yourself feel better.
- Identify the situations or people that stress you out, then avoid them (or accept them!) if you can.
- Avoid drugs, alcohol & sweets — which make your life more difficult in the long-term.
- Get sleep and exercise. It’s amazing how much better you feel when you get enough sleep and make a regular time to walk, run, dance, or do yoga!
Your stress affects your child. Your child is learning from you every day. If you respond to your child, another person, or a situation using a sharp tone or even violence, your child will learn to do the same. But if you learn to cope with stress in good ways, they will learn that too.
Read more in the St. Johns Village Project November 2012 newsletter.