I am sure I am not alone when I say that parenting is quite possibly the toughest job in the world. Okay,
maybe not as tough as a forest logger, oil well driller or skyscraper window cleaner, but it’s way up there!
The daily pressures of family life can consume our peace of mind as easily as they consume our energy.
How can we find serenity amid the chaos and hold onto it for more than a fleeting moment? Here are
some strategies you may find helpful…
Rise Early – Wake up 15 to 20 minutes before your children and take a little retreat. Do a yoga stretch, read something spiritual, and ask yourself, ‘How can I have a more balanced day today?’ Or simply lie in bed and breathe deeply for a few minutes.
Unplug – The average home is a noisy place, thanks to the telephone, television, radio and CD player. When you’re feeling overloaded, try turning down the background noise in your life by “unplugging” some of these electronic taskmasters.
Start Small – You’re tired and just don’t feel like making dinner, but you don’t want to serve fish fingers again. So set a new, much smaller goal: “I will go in the kitchen and make a sandwich,” or even, “I will go into the kitchen.” Such steps may seem ludicrously small, but these “micro-actions” help us to approach seemingly overwhelming tasks.
Be Here Now – Like the child worrying about the exams, our minds constantly bring future worries into the present. The best way to avoid stress is to immerse yourself in the moment and avoid the trap of comparing notes with other parents about how busy you are.
Adapt – Do you fall apart if dinner is not gourmet quality and served at six o’clock sharp? Ease up a bit on the expectations! Don’t be so hard on yourself. Tell yourself that the world will not stop turning if you break routine or run a little late. Things do not have to go exactly as you planned.
Talk It Out – “Self-talk” can help us control our emotions. When things go wrong, it’s not a disaster, it’s an inconvenience. By developing an inner voice that, for example, encourages you to stay in bed when you’re sick and lets your husband clean up the kitchen, you become, in a sense, your own best friend.
Laugh a Little – Laughter re-enchants daily living. A sense of humour really eases the little annoyances we experience every day. Research shows that we experience about 30 “heart hassles” every day, stressing the heart both figuratively and physiologically. Laughter is a healing remedy for life!
Take a Break – Let’s face it: We’re never going to finish everything on our “to do” lists. In fact, studies have shown that the average mother runs 21 minutes short per day. Usually, the first thing to go is relaxation time. You will never have any downtime unless you schedule it. You should do something to relax daily.
Enjoy Nature – Sun, water, wind… the elements feed our senses and lead us toward serenity better than anything. It may mean relaxing in your backyard, drawing a warm bath, or going out for a brisk run. The important thing is to figure out what soothes you and then where to find it.
Just Let Go – We have to recognize that chaos is a part of life. Then we must recognize our own contribution to it. That’s the only part we can control. The irony is that by taking steps that seem to signify giving up control, like “outsourcing” certain household jobs, you will actually be gaining more freedom to enjoy your family life.