6 Practical Tips to Help Cope With Parenting Stress and Anxiety
© Yan Krukov
A new baby represents a huge change in anyone’s life. Even when it’s not your first child, a newborn can still be a difficult adjustment for any parent. Raising another human being is an incredibly demanding job that comes with a unique set of challenges, and feelings of stress and anxiety are entirely normal during this period.
However, these emotions could have quite a detrimental effect on your health and wellbeing, and consequently your child’s health as well. For this reason, managing parenting stress and anxiety is imperative. Here are some simple ways you could do just that:
1. Always accept help when offered
It really does take a village, and dealing with higher parenting stress levels is the perfect time for accepting help in all possible forms. This doesn’t only mean asking your parents to babysit so you could take a break, but also accepting a neighbor’s offer when they suggest dropping off some food, for example.
You could also ask your partner for help in a clear and specific way, as most partners would like to help, but are afraid of overreaching or doing something wrong. In case you don’t feel quite comfortable receiving help, try to think of it as assisting your baby by maintaining your own mental health and balance.
2. Invest more time in pampering and self-care
If you are experiencing feelings of depression or you’re just dealing with stress and exhaustion, focusing on self-care is always a brilliant idea. Your child might be your priority, but your own needs should never take a backseat. So, try to take care of them by pampering yourself and doing the things you truly enjoy, whether that means taking a long bath, reading a good book, listening to your favorite music, or meditating each day. When you spend time doing what you love and what really makes you happy, your anxieties will quickly go away.
3. Try to prioritize quality sleep
In many cases, stress and pregnancy are closely connected, making this period the time when we focus on our mental and physical health the most. Once the baby comes, they suddenly become the center of attention, and their needs are now a priority. While this is a natural aspect of motherhood, it’s still necessary to fulfill your needs in order to be able to take care of another person.
Sleep is one of the most important things to prioritize, as it allows you to rest, recharge, and reduce some built-up stress. As sleeping with a newborn could often be challenging, consider using some popular tactics such as sleeping when the baby sleeps or alternating nights sleeping in the baby’s room with your partner.
4. Monitor postpartum depression symptoms
Postpartum depression could happen to anyone. Familiarizing yourself with the common signs like feeling desperate or excessive crying is crucial for all new parents. If you notice any of these emotions, don’t be afraid to call your doctor for help. Another issue you might encounter are negative postpartum anxiety symptoms as well. This form of anxiety comes with similar emotions and disruptive thoughts that could also raise levels of parenthood stress, thus making proper knowledge and support absolutely essential in these instances.
5. Attempt to exercise regularly and eat well
Just like light exercise and yoga during pregnancy might have helped to alleviate some unwanted symptoms, physical activity can do wonders for your health after delivery as well. Regular exercise can help to lower your stress levels, lift your mood, and give you the necessary energy to conquer the day. A good diet can have quite a similar effect, so attempt to eat at least three healthy and balanced meals a day.
Although incorporating these aspects into your busy schedule might be difficult, especially with a newborn, it’s truly essential for reducing common parenting stress and anxiety.
6. Spend more time with family and friends
Whenever you get some free time, try to catch up with your friends and dear family members by calling or texting, grabbing a cup of coffee, or going to the movies. It can be easy to overlook the importance of friends and family when we become parents, but they are truly indispensable people in our lives. They love and care about us, they are our biggest support group, and they know exactly how to cheer us up. Try to socialize with your friends and family as often as possible, and see how much calmer and happier you feel once you spend some quality time together.
Parenting is never easy, and certain levels of stress and anxiety are to be expected in this period. However, you can’t let these emotions take over. Focus on your physical and mental health using the tips above and enjoy this new chapter of your life.