Balancing your work and home life, especially when you have kids, can be stressful. You may be stressing over hours getting cut, making ends meet, or various other things. Finding ways to manage stress is beneficial not only for your mental well-being, but your physical as well. Chronic stress can kill! Daily stress can elevate blood pressure and cholesterol as well as your heart rate. Take a seat, dad, and learn how to manage stress before it consumes you!
Exercise seems to be the answer to a lot of problems. Need to lose weight? Exercise. Want to improve your mental health? Exercise can help. Are you stressed? Exercise!
Endorphins are molecules in our bodies that provide a calming sensation. Do you want to know what helps increase the endorphins in our blood? You guessed it…exercise. Exercise helps treat stress you’re currently feeling but it can also help prevent it by wiring your brain to be more effective against stressful situations. Studies have shown that exercise can create brain cells better fit for handling stress and anxiety later.
We we mention exercising, we don’t mean you have to spend hours in the gym every single day. Just get your body moving and start slow (if you’re living a sedentary lifestyle). Additionally, get your kids involved early! Try some of these: go for an evening walk with the family, ride bikes together, go hiking, do baby squats (like regular squats but while holding your baby), or just do some push-ups in the morning and evening. To get the point across more directly–just get moving!
Get out of the house and into nature! A 20-minute hike can significantly reduce cholesterol, heart rate, and blood pressure. Forget spending your Saturdays in front of the TV. Take a walk in nature and take a few deep breaths to help manage your stress.
Fishing can also help with stress. You don’t need to spend hours out on a boat with fancy equipment (although, that’s cool too). Grab a cheap pole (or borrow one), and head to a retention pond or State Park with a lake. Not only can fishing give you time to relax, think logically about life, but it can also be extremely rewarding. The shot of adrenaline and dopamine your body gets when you land a new personal best is worth all of the patience you exhibited to get the fish to shore.
Make a List
Create a list of the things that are stressing you out now. Sometimes just getting those things out, even if it’s just onto paper, can give you a breath of relief, at least for the moment. Once you have your list, sit down and make a call to action for each thing stressing you out, so you can work on knocking out the stressors in your life.
Next step–do them! I know…it’s sometimes easier said than done, but you’ve got to take action. Pick an easy thing on the list and get it done. The sense of accomplishment can help create momentum into the rest of the list.
You know the ol’ saying, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”? Well…you’ll die a lot earlier and with more stress if you don’t get enough sleep.
Getting adequate rest will not only improve your mental wellbeing, but your physical wellbeing too. Our bodies need sleep to help deal with stress, as do our minds. Stress may make it difficult to sleep though, so you may need some help getting a good night’s sleep. Try playing white noise in the background or meditate before you lay down, clearing your head of the day and what it brought. Melatonin is naturally produced in the body, but when we are watching TV or on our phones before bed, the light from the screens decreases the body’s production of it, making it more difficult for us to fall asleep and stay asleep. Turn off your TV, laptop, and phone an hour before you plan on laying down and just spend some time unwinding in a quiet room.
If you’re really having troubles (but not ready to see a doctor about it), go camping! Camping naturally resets our internal clock and allows us to go to sleep naturally much easier. In a study done through the University Of Colorado, they found that camping helps regulate our natural melatonin levels (they also found that most of us are behind over 2 hours in our natural ability to fall asleep).
Plan the Week
Feeling pressed for time can sure bring on the stress! If you’re not one to plan your day, you may want to start trying. Make note of appointments and deadlines for the week so you won’t over-schedule on days you’re going to be busy. This will also help you keep up with important dates. Knowing what’s coming for the week can help you plan so you can prepare for whatever is going on.
Stress is like a pest that just won’t go away. While minimal stress isn’t going to give you any long-term problems, consistent stress can affect your health both physically and mentally. Learning how to manage stress is beneficial and will get you on the road to feeling better. On a particularly stressful day, you can head to the gym or exercise at home, whichever you prefer.
Exercise helps our bodies produce endorphins which release a calming pleasure. Taking a walk in nature a few times a week can also help you manage stress, since spending time in nature lowers heart rate and blood pressure. Outside of those options, try planning your week so you don’t overload yourself with work or other activities and you can plan for each day accordingly. Creating a list of your stressors and then making a call to action for each item will also help you cope with stress. Most importantly, make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep. If you find it difficult to sleep, there are options to make it easier for you. Try some white noise and limit screen time before bed so your body can prepare itself for the night.