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7 Ways to Reduce Stress as a Busy Parent

Raising a family is one of the most rewarding things you'll ever do, but it can also be very difficult. If you're exhausted and feeling frustrated, take a deep breath and know you're not alone! These seven tips will help you manage your stress and feel more relaxed as a parent.

7 Ways to Reduce Stress as a Busy Parent — Portland Nutrition Counseling

Some days, parenting can be overwhelming. My child wants this, my partner wants that, and the everlasting task of caring for the home never seems to end. Balancing these responsibilities with other life choices — it's enough to drive anyone over the edge!

Here are some ways to manage stress in a hectic environment:

Focus on what you can control.

It's natural for people to feel shaken up when things don't go their way. One of the most important lessons in life is learning to redirect your focus onto what you can control.

For instance, there will be moments when your kids are at odds with what you expect. Keep in mind you can't control how they behave, but you can influence their decisions and reactions through what kind of examples you set for them and how you respond to their actions.

Prioritize quality time.

You may feel that you don't have enough time with your family, but this doesn't mean you can't take the time where there is some. Make sure the time you do spend with them is quality time. Read books together before bedtime, play video games or other board games, teach them how to cook their favorite meal — these are all great ways of getting close and bonding as a family.


When you feel too much on your plate, breathe deeply. Deep breaths lower your heart rate and slow down the nervous system, which will make it easier for you to think through problems logically. When this happens, take another deep breath; allowing yourself time to focus on your thoughts rather than those around you.

Make your family time count!

What can you do to cut down on those chores, so you'll have more time with the people who matter most? There are many ways to do this; but regardless of what you choose, remember that small changes often produce big differences. Chores will never end, but it's important not to prioritize them over things like spending time with family and friends.

  • Talk it out. When feeling overwhelmed, turn to your partner, family, or friend for help - which might be as simple as listening or taking care of the children for one afternoon.

  • Think about what is most important in your life. Whether it be your kids, work, or hobbies, find out how much importance you actually give these areas.

  • Learn to identify things that are not actually urgent. Sometimes we create urgency in our minds. What things can be set aside for a later time?


It may seem hard to find time for exercise in your busy life but doing so will benefit both your mental and physical health. Get outside, breathe in some fresh air, and clear your head. Exercising does more than rejuvenate your body and boost your mood; it also strengthens bonds within families.

  • Take a walk with your family.

  • Take your kids to the park.

  • Join them at a yoga or dance class.

  • Find an outdoor activity you can do with your entire family, like cycling or hiking.

Identify your triggers.

Sometimes it can be difficult to recognize when an emotion has taken over until it’s too late, but if you can identify what situations tend to trigger certain emotions in you, it becomes easier for you to develop coping mechanisms, or even avoid those situations altogether.

Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and think of what gets under your skin. Make a list of how you might start feeling — like sadness, anger, or anxiety — so you can identify when it happens in the future. Taking notice of the things that make you feel triggered can be the first step towards controlling how you react to them.

Set boundaries.

What are some things that unnecessarily stress you? Is it perhaps when people use the phone during dinner? Or not getting enough time for yourself? Boundaries are a good way to communicate what you need.

The Bottom Line

The demands of parenting can be overwhelming, and it can be easy to feel like you aren’t doing enough, but remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself, so you can take care of your family.

Managing your stress will take time and effort, but it will improve how you live and interact with others. If you're honest about your needs and feelings, then you'll be able to give more to those around you without being overwhelmed yourself.

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