Emotional wellness is a key part of mental health, and our mental health steers a lot of the day as a stay-at-home or work-at-home parent. We are consciously or subconsciously dealing with our own emotions whatever they may be and the emotions of those that are in our care.
Along with being the carrier of everyone’s baggage, we are also the bearer of a multitude of physical responsibilities. This can definitely become overwhelming at times!
It’s so important to be able to manage that weight healthily.
Being aware of our emotional health and identifying what aids in reducing our stress levels are two major ways we can be proactive in lessening the overwhelm. And lessening the overwhelm creates a better day for all of us!
Creating Emotional Awareness
Check in with yourself at the beginning and/or end of the day. Take stock of how you’re feeling, train yourself to be aware of what’s going on behind the scenes of you and look for ways you can help your day go smoother.
Giving time to yourself in this sense helps to avoid being hijacked by some of the more inconvenient emotions that might pop up throughout the rest of the day. Simultaneously, we learn to be more present in the rest of the everyday moments, even the hard ones.
It’s a win-win in a lot of ways.
As a work-at-home and homeschooling parent, when I need to take stock of my emotional and mental state, going for a walk in the early morning, journaling, sometimes doing yoga, or riding on the stationary bike helps me to zone in on my current state and zone out of everything else temporarily.
I know yoga and journaling might be entirely cliche right now, but they’ve sincerely been two of the biggest emotional awareness motivators in my life. There are so many ways we can work to slow our minds down for a bit, though, so explore what works for you (and ask around too)!
Identifying Stress Reducers.
The less stress we feel, the more likely we are going to be able to manage our emotions in a healthy way. The thing is, however, stress is inevitable. We absolutely cannot avoid it. So what do we do?
We get creative.
We may inevitably face stress in our lives but we can also reduce the tension and unease it produces.
A great example for stay-at-home parents is when chaos ensues in your house. The washer is going, the kids are playing/maybe arguing, the dog is barking, you know you have a huge to-do list, work is waiting on you, etc.
In comes frustration and overstimulation.
How do we reduce the stress?
Take a break and take as many as you need….and then get back to it. Accepting it’s okay to take breaks is a big stress reducer when it comes to frustration as a stay-at-home parent.
When things start to hit the fan at my house, we like to drop what we can and go outside and play or go for a walk or turn on some music and dance crazy for a little bit, letting go of the tension. Then we return to the tasks at hand.
Then there are the moments when I can’t take a break right away, when the dishes are just too high and the laundry is atrocious, and the kids are still loud and wild.
So, for this, a helpful tip I found is to pop in some headphones (or just one if you need an ear open), listen to a funny podcast or old music you love, or a book you’ve read a thousand times and get to taking care of business. Or you can just pop them in and listen to nothing, whatever works for you.
Figuring out our stress reducers and creating emotional awareness isn’t something that happens in a moment of time but it does happen with intention and persistence. We can do this.
Take some time and brainstorm a few different ideas for decompressing and creating awarenesss that could work for you.
Join me next week as we explore another area we can use to grow in our understanding of emotional wellness…learning with our kids as they navigate their emotions. It’s gonna be a fun one (maybe)!
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More resources you might like:
Comfort & Anxiety Journal from Sweatpants & Coffee
Emotional Wellness Toolkit from National Institutes of Health (NIH)