As if raising children to make good choices and be kind to those around them wasn’t always hard, more parenting boulders have recently tumbled toward us. From managing screen time to finding child care providers we trust, being a parent isn’t exactly easy. Add in—well, the last year and a half—and it’s no wonder the mental toll that parenting takes on us has been exacerbated. So, who’s up for some relief from that stress and anxiety? (All hands go up).

Dive in and discover seven things you can do to relieve the mental load of parenting:

1. Create A Masterpiece Through Art Therapy

If you want to get lost in an activity and allow your mind to rest, art therapy is a great choice. There are endless options such as grabbing those newly sharpened pencils and an adult coloring book. Or, get out of the house and attend a class at a craft store. Actually doing something other than work, chores, or errands will help you breathe a sigh of relief while also having a piece of art to show for it.

2. Find A Coach to Guide You Through Tough Times

Sometimes you just need to talk about your current situation with someone that’s not a family member or friend. Did you know there are all kinds of professionals out there to help you deal with the mental load of parenting? Life coaches, mindset coaches, and parenting coaches are all equipped to assist you in sorting out everything life throws at you. Do some research to find a coach (or therapist) that feels right for you. And if you’re unsure, ask for references.

3. Delegate That To-Do List

The to-do list for parents is neverending. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, permission slips, homework, carpool to activities, etc. can easily take on a life of their own. You’re left feeling as if you can’t get ahead. The year is 2021 and it’s time for some help. There’s nothing as therapeutic as crossing things off your list, but it’s even better when someone else does it for you. Try getting help with your search for child care, grocery shopping, and meal services to start.

4. Move Your Body

While exercise is probably not what you wanted to see on the list, there’s no denying the facts. Moving your body is one of the best ways to relieve stress—especially if you’re having fun while exercising. If you’re not exercising regularly already start by walking outside or trying a free yoga class online or find a program that can help to keep you accountable.

5. Attend Brunch With Friends

Make it a date! Schedule time to meet up with friends for a good meal and a lot of laughs. Challenge yourself not to make your kids the focus of the conversation. Remember, you have hopes and dreams, too—and if you don’t, that’s priority number one—so, why not discuss those with your biggest cheerleaders. Even better, try combining time with friends with art therapy by booking a session at a local painting studio.

6. Write in a Journal

When life has taken its toll, thoughts tend to recirculate through your mind until you’re finally able to release them. One simple way to let those thoughts go is to journal. The best thing about this practice is that there aren’t any rules. Whether you want to do a brain dump or use journal prompts, getting those negative thoughts on paper will help you feel better fast.

7. Take a Day Off

Do you remember the days of playing hookey to head to a ballgame or shopping with a friend? It’s probably been a long time since you even considered taking a day off from work and your family for some much deserved “me time”. Take a mental health day and don’t think twice about it. Having an afternoon without responsibilities (see ya, email) is well worth it to do something fun and adventurous. Or, take the relaxation route and head to a spa for a treatment.

 

It’s absolutely okay to need a break from parenting every once in a while. Although raising kids is the greatest job on earth, there’s no denying the responsibility weighs heavy on moms and dads everywhere. Pick one of these seven ideas, give it a try, and see how you feel. Then, start a tradition with yourself. Each month commit to one activity you can do to relieve the stress and anxiety you’ve felt as a parent.

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