Our fast-paced world is literally overwhelming us. This supercharged, everything now, everyone’s connected at all times atmosphere we live in is only partly to blame.
Parents are expected to be everything, to everyone, at all times and without fail. This superhero mentality is both a fallacy and a reality at the same time. The fallacy is that we can reach perfection and spread ourselves so perfectly thin.
Yet, if we don’t check all those obligations on our list–especially if you’re a single parent-who will? It leaves us coming up short no matter where we focus our efforts — day in and day out.
Reducing stress is hardly simple, but it’s certainly worth it. No one needs to be reminded that stress affects our physical and emotional health, relationships, parenting, and the list goes on.
Worse, reading about the damages of stress is often all it takes to– well, stress us out!
Now for some positive news. Just as we have learned to hone in on stress, we can learn to hone in on de-stressing until we no longer use “fight or flight” as our initial reaction to adversity. Can you imagine approaching an overwhelming moment with mindfulness and clarity?
Changing stress levels does require effort. No easy fix here, especially if your reactions have been building for years. But you can stair-step your way to a healthier reaction. While everyone’s situations and solutions are unique, we can all start here.
Merriam-Webster’s Definition of resilient: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. Simply put, those resilient to stress still face it; they simply aren’t overwhelmed by it. Their mind remains focused and ready to problem solve, face the stressor or move beyond it.
Resiliency is not a trait you’re born with (although some people have personalities more prone to resiliency). The key to building resiliency is different for everyone. However, it requires commitment, patience, and effort.
You may find you manage certain stressors extremely well, while others quickly overwhelm you. Many factors can influence resiliency at any time; thus, a stressor you’ve handled well in the past might suddenly cause extreme anxiety. On the flip side, studies show people are often far more resilient than they believe they ever could be when facing extreme adversity such as a catastrophic event.
Just like cleaning out an overflowing garage, the mess gets bigger when you first begin. Soon the garbage is cleared away, and the space is neat, organized, and far more efficient to use.
Life is a challenge, but it’s also an amazing journey if you allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy the ride. This may sound like a trite sound bite, but it’s true.
As noted above, resiliency is not static. Back to that organized garage: the junk will take over again if you don’t maintain a system. Stick with the program, and your resiliency builds over time. Just keep in mind that some circumstances in life, such as a major loss (job, marriage, death, etc.), are naturally overwhelming. The flow of emotions is a significant part of the grieving process.
Again, resiliency is a learned trait, a habit that takes time to build. If you don’t have the energy to put in the required effort–or more importantly, you’re simply not ready, you’re unlikely to surpass the stress. Resiliency often requires change (a change in habits, sometimes even a change in deep-rooted values that no longer serve us). One thing is for certain, most people don’t like change and all the “what ifs” that go with it.
From my experience working with men and women, there’s a lot of talk about overload and stress long before any movement toward change. Ironically, we often find comfort in the discomfort of stress simply because it’s familiar.
Nothing is wrong with this unless you’re truly underwater. Doing nothing about overwhelming stress is doing something–often a big thing. It’s prolonging your situation, creating even more stress. This can lead to mental, emotional, and physical problems, which, in turn, can affect your mood, self-esteem, sleep, energy, etc. The cycle continues from there. Unless you’re able to make peace with your status quo, one of two things is likely to happen: you’ll either exhaust yourself (which slows you down in the long run), or you’ll finally be forced into making that change.
If this resonates with you, but you’re still apprehensive, I recommend starting with the smallest of steps toward resiliency. Set just one or two goals. Simple changes in your thought patterns and habits can be the catalyst toward resiliency. And for those of you ready for change right now, consider this an exciting chapter in your life.
What works for “everyone else” will not necessarily work for you. You must find the path that works for you, or you’ll remain on overload. Worse, you’re more likely to feel defeated, worsening that cycle.
The steps below are based on research, facts, and/or common tactics that have worked for others. For best results, start slowly with the steps that resonant with you, modify them as needed, or add your own.
Research shows implementing these daily habits has a positive impact on resilience:
Studies show that how you view your day from the moment you wake up is how you will live it.
Research proves that the more you focus on the positives of each day, the more you’ll teach your brain to lean toward optimism.
It can be a tough habit to break, but the more you try, the better you’ll become. Use any safe method you can to stop the pattern: focus on a positive quote or mantra, take a deep breath, picture yourself on vacation, or picture a giant stop sign that interrupts the ruminating thoughts. Another option is to journal. Again, be sure to choose the method that fits you personally. Most importantly, don’t beat yourself if you continue to struggle. Just keep trying, and eventually, you’ll get there.
Powerful Positive Parenting Plus may be the course for you if you want to reduce overload and build resilience in your household. This program takes parents through an incredible journey toward a happy, healthy, and enjoyable perspective on life you can model and share with your entire family. Right from the start, you’ll gain powerful tools to help navigate life’s stressors and build that resiliency. Parenting truly can be enjoyable again, even stress-free.
Hey There, I’m Susan!
I’m a Certified Family Life Educator, Parent Coach & Course Creator, wife & mother of 3 incredible humans. I know all about the challenges parents struggle with as we juggle multiple hats and busy lives.
I know because I’ve lived it myself.
You Are Not Alone In Your Parenting Journey.
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