12 Effective Ways to Handle Stress When Parenting Gets Tough
Autism is hard on everyone: those living with the condition, their friends, and their family — especially parents. Having a child on the spectrum, while rewarding in so many ways, poses its own unique challenges to parents and can be particularly trying. Fortunately, when things get bad, there are things you can do to help manage your level of stress. Here are a few stress-handling tips to try in those moments when you need a little extra support.
12. Practice Breathing Exercises
Before your patience runs out, take a breath. Practice deep (or abdominal) breathing. As you breathe in deeply and slowly through the nose, make sure your abdomen rises further than your chest. Hold the breath for seven seconds, then exhale through the mouth. Do this several times before returning to what you were doing.
11. Engage in Meditation
Take a quiet moment for yourself every day, and meditate. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and concentrate on your breathing. It might help to remember a favorite place or make up a retreat just for your mind. This daily meditation can help keep you centered throughout your day, which can prove valuable for those more difficult days.
10. Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Relax your body and your mind using progressive muscle relaxation. This is a process where you flex and relax every muscle in your body one by one. Your body will thank you, especially after being bent over, kneeling down, and strung out from a long day picking up children and toys.
Stress is both emotional and biological, so handling it requires both mental exercise as well as physical exercise. There are various ways you can get moving — whether it’s dancing, doing yoga, running, or walking. Exercise raises your dopamine levels, and this in turn lightens your mood and reduces anxiety.
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