Tips For Managing Parenting Stress

Stress is a common issue that many people have to deal with nowadays. Parents are often faced with the complicated challenge of managing a busy work schedule that includes a stressful job, countless household chores and raising children. All of these demands result in parenting stress, which could trigger unwanted illnesses and afflictions.

Parenting stress - mother spoonfeeding her baby

Photo by Tanaphong Toochinda on Unsplash

According to studies, parents who report higher levels of stress tend to be harsher and more negative with the rest of the family. Moreover, a high level of parenting stress decreases the bond between the parent and the child.

Avoid parenting stress

First of all, as a parent, you need to learn how to take good care of yourself. This experience is emotionally and physically draining. As there is no paid time off, you need to make sure that you look after yourself each day.

The following tips show you how to do that without making drastic changes in your life.

Get Your Rest

Being a parent is complicated as you need to look after your kids 24/7 while also juggling work or household chores. However, getting proper rest is just as important. When you are getting as much sleep as possible, you are able to cope with stress more easily.

A simple way of doing that is by creating a family schedule. Don’t let your kids create their own sleeping pattern. Even if you prefer going later to bed, that does not mean that they can do the same. Moreover, take advantage of your kid’s naps and take a short nap if possible. If not, ask your partner to watch the kids while you get some rest.

Have a Laugh

Nothing works more effectively when you’re feeling stressed than a good laughter session with someone close. It could be a mummy friend or just a random neighbour. Find someone who can provide a supportive ear and talk to them as often as possible. It is good to know that someone is in the same boat as you.

If you can’t find any support when you need it, watch a short funny video online. If none of these work, it might be time to get professional help. You should not be embarrassed by talking about your feelings with a therapist.

Take Time for Yourself

Another guaranteed way of reducing some stress is by taking time for you. This often depends on your current situation. Whether you are a single parent or a home-based parent, you can still find a few moments where you can put yourself first.

Make a habit of starting your days before your kids and use those moments to stretch, meditate or look after your skin and hair. Unfortunately, stress can lead to hair loss problems and premature ageing.

Live in the Moment

Being a parent involves a lot of stress, especially when it comes about the future. For that matter, you need to make an effort and stop worrying so much about the future. Instead, make the most of every second of your life and find a way to celebrate little victories. No matter how tempting it might be to think about college when your kids are still in diapers, you can save yourself from some stress by concentrating on the present.

These are a few simple ways of eliminating some stress from parent’s life. Although it takes some time and getting used to, they are truly effective.

Can You Reverse The Damage Stress Has Done To Your Skin?

It’s easy to under-estimate the toll that stress can take on our skin and kid ourselves that a haphazard skincare routine and poor lifestyle choices won’t eventually catch up with us.

Here’s an explanation of how stress can affect our skin from a medical point of view from Dr Ernst Eiselen, MBChB, FRACGP – and no, we won’t get away with it!

Dr. Eiselen says:

The skin and the brain develop from the same layer of cells in the human embryo; they are intimately linked throughout life. Healthy skin is, therefore, a product of not only a skincare routine but a stress-free state of mind.

Stress is an engineering term which refers to the application of different forces to materials, usually used to test their strength or their breaking point. The concept is no different in humans. The types of forces applied are not those used in engineering, but the effects are much the same. Conscious and subconscious parts of the brain are both involved in the production of stress. As a consequence of brain activity, the endocrine systems become involved at all levels.

Skin is influenced by the brain through its varied and wide-reaching system of connections to the skin. Hormones produced by the different parts of the endocrine system have profound, direct and indirect effects on the skin. From this concise explanation of the structural and functional intimacy of the different organ systems, it is easy to appreciate that skin will not escape the eroding effects of pervasive stress.

The quality, comfort and appearance of healthy skin depend on a fine and happy balance of the influences mentioned above. The blood flow through the skin of a stressed person is not at its optimal level, thus disrupting the oxygen and nutrient supply to the skin. Like any starving or suffocating organ, ageing and decay are sped up over time. Persistent stress starts to automate the nerve impulse pathways as our brains learn the patterns that are most often repeated. Combine this with a lethal mix of constantly-raised stress hormones and cell receptors are reprogrammed into ‘survival mode’.

Cells focused on survival are not attuned to thrive, divide efficiently or produce highly specialised, robust and vital units required for youthful, zesty skin. Skin can become stress-damaged over protracted periods. However, due to genetic and other differences, the complexity of all the involved elements and effects variable to the passage of time make it impossible to quantify the effects of stress on the skin in any individual.

The logical question follows: Is it possible to reverse or correct this situation?

Fortunately, the answer is yes on two different levels. Firstly, there is a need to recognise the elements of stress in one’s life and find a means of managing it in a positive manner. Sometimes, this may be small and simple lifestyle changes to make, but at other times it may require life-altering moves to get rid of the excessive stress. For most people cultivating a simple habit of regular exercise, improved periods of rest and reflection will help to de-stress and balance the hormones responsible for the negative changes. Specific exercises where attention is focused on breathing, stretching and toning go a long way to defuse stress-hormone storms.

On the level of the skin itself, the aim is to alter the skin cell behaviour that focuses on surviving to cells that are able to thrive. We are starting to understand how to create cells which are able to maximise their full potential in function, structure and beauty. Environ’s advanced vitamin skin therapy addresses the backbone processes with which man has evolved over the last two hundred thousand years. Keeping enough of the crucially important molecules like vitamin A, C and E within the cells simply mean that cells are better able to withstand the onslaught of stress hormones and the altered patterns of stimulation brought about by the stress. This does not in any way reduce the need of the other forms of general stress reduction mentioned above, yet it goes a long way to slow down the negative influences.

Speed in everything appears to have become an essential ingredient with companies competing to design electronic instruments which will perform faster with larger amounts of information. At the same time, those who are lucky enough to be in affluent societies are living longer, which simply means that the skin cells will be subjected to this battering of the senses for more and more years. Neither our cells nor psyches are geared to deal with these circumstances. Change at such a pace leaves no room for the evolution of systems which were shaped by completely different survival stresses over hundreds of thousands of years.

The only possible counter-approach to this frenetic race is to understand the importance of relaxation and spontaneous, quiet contemplation for the body and mind. The skin should also be allowed to rest from the stress and physical environmental challenges. Providing real nutrition to skin cells based on sound scientific principles enables repair mechanisms to deal with the cumulative DNA damage, whilst coaxing cells to specialise to their natural potential.

It is therefore important to see the skin as an integral part of a total system which needs de-stressing on a total body level. In this new age, the mind-body balance and macro and micro nutrition will be key to the optimal function of all body parts into a healthy old age. Not least of all will be the need to do this for healthy skin.

Dr Ernst Eiselen, MBChB, FRACGP.

It’s pretty clear that getting to grips with our stress is vital to ensure a glowing complexion, as well as a healthier mind and body.  How well do you cope with stress?