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Stress at home: how to cope

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Life itself can be stressful and if you throw into the mix working as well as being a parent, then these two full time jobs can take their toll and cause parents to become very stressed while at home. Stress can have a tremendous impact on both the person who is experiencing it and the families of those surrounding them, so if you or a partner is feeling the pressure, then it’s important to address the issue for the benefit of all the family.

Recognise and manage your triggers

A bad day at work followed by your child spilling their drink on the sofa can often result in you losing your temper and lashing out at everyone around. Feelings of love and pride can quickly turn to anger and frustration and every parent should recognise these negative feelings are normal and most other parents will feel exactly the same from time to time. What’s important is that you recognise when you’re beginning to experience these thoughts and mange them effectively.

Stressed dad

When children get angry or frustrated they often find it difficult to express their emotions in a calm and rational way, they may lash out and snap and parents that are suffering from stress may also react in the same way. If your child is misbehaving then it’s important that you don’t react out of anger or loss of control. A stressed parent is more likely to lash out with physical discipline rather than dealing with the situation in a controlled manner. This can become particularly dangerous as adults might not realise their own strength and cause a child pain and injury. Reacting with physical violence will also teach your child that it’s acceptable to hit out when frustrated and that smacking or hitting is a way of dealing with a problem instead of resolving the conflict in other ways.

If you can begin to recognise the triggers that may cause you to become more stressed at home, then there are some short term solutions you may find useful. If your child is the cause of the incident, or you have them around at a particularly stressful moment, then put them in a safe place and leave the room for a moment.

Take yourself away from the stressful situation

Go outside for some fresh air or walk around the house. Practice breathing techniques to help calm you down; deep inhales and slow exhales at a steady pace can help you regain focus and deal with the matter in hand. You might even count to ten to focus your concentration. Be conscious of your body language and posture and make a concerted effort to relax your arms and shoulders and release tension inside that is causing you to become wound up.

Try and relax with a warm drink or phone up a friend to unload and ask for advice. Listening to your favourite music can instantly change your mood and if you need to, get rid of pent up stress with physical activity; sprinting up and down the garden, punching a pillow or running up and down the stairs will help reduce stress levels.

stress

While short term solutions may help, if you find you’re continually stressed then you need to address this with more long term practical changes. If you have a partner, make the effort to spend some quality time with them, even if it’s dinner alone every week. Speak to them about how you’re feeling and if there are any ways in which they can help. Get the support of your family and friends and don’t try and deal with stress alone. If someone close to you knows what pressure you’re under they may be willing to help you out. It might be picking the kids up from school a couple of nights a week, babysitting more, helping with the house work or just as an ear to listen. The moral support of those around you in invaluable so don’t suffer in silence.

Treat yourself

Reward yourself regularly, whether is just spending half an hour reading a book alone every day, having lunch with a friend every week or booking in a massage every month. It will give you something to look forward to and focus your attention away from the stress. Try and figure out the root causes of your stress and look into addressing those. Is it work pressure, financial difficulties, a relationship in turmoil? Once you figure out what is causing the problem you can begin to address that separately – don’t bury your head in the sand and hope it will go away, like a weed, you need to kill the root before the rest of it will die.

You might find you’re snapping at your children more, if so, then try and learn more about child development and behaviour to help you understand why they may be behaving the way they are and how children may react to a parent that is stressed. If you have a better understanding of their emotions, you’ll be more likely to deal with any behaviour or situations that would trigger your own stress.

Stressed at home ironing

Get help if you are struggling with stress

If you’re still struggling to deal with stress at home then you should contact your local GP. It’s an extremely common condition and they’re used to dealing with people suffering from differing levels of stress. There may be medication or alternative therapy such as counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy that will help you. Remember, it’s OK to ask for help and you shouldn’t feel guilty or ashamed if you’re struggling to deal with stress, there are many out there in exactly the same position as you.

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About Rebecca Robinson

About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

Website: Rebecca Robinson

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