(English translation available after the Chinese article)
- Me time 私人專屬時間
Tips for Working Parents to Reduce Stress
During the day, parents go to work and after work have to take care of the kids so it’s almost like having two full-time jobs and the combined stress is tremendous. With children sometimes acting out for no reason, they don’t want to eat, they don’t want to do their homework or refuse to sleep, parents are pushed to their limits. Parents really need to relieve their stress as parenting is a long-term journey.
- Take good care of yourself
Only when parents are healthy, can they take care of their kids so parents should first take care of themselves.
Healthy Diet: Choose nutritious food like fruits and vegetables and less trans-fat in your diet. Parents may be busy at work and don’t have much time to cook at home so would eat out or buy takeaway meals but try to remember to choose healthier food choices.
Exercise Moderately: Parents may not have the time to exercise but sitting for a long time in the office affects the health of their spine and this leads to obesity and even cardiovascular disease. Therefore, it is recommended for parents to get up and walk around once every hour to get a drink or go to the restroom to help relieve muscle and bone aches. Of course, it is best to exercise before or after work.
Adequate Sleep: Parents may wish to make use of the time when their kids are asleep to do things they enjoy, such as playing on their phone or watching television, however adequate sleep is very important to a parent’s health. Try to reduce screen time before bed and instead choose activities to soothe the body and mind such as reading, taking a warm bath, or even exercising can help with falling asleep and can provide a good night’s sleep so that the next day, you have energy for work.
- Me Time
Parents devote most of their time to work and family, while personal time (me time) is for parents to do activities that they enjoy such as eating out, shopping, taking a health class, hiking, etc. as long it is something you enjoy doing and want to do. The parents should really take advantage and enjoy this personal time.
No need to feel guilty or be afraid of others calling you selfish to drop your family to have fun. We should all enjoy some me time to recharge and relax in order to have more energy for work and to take care of family.
- Set Boundaries
Parents play different roles every day: As children of our own parents, husband or wife to our partner, parents to our children, employees of our company, etc. with different responsibilities in each role. If we agree to do what everyone asks us, our responsibilities will ever increase and so will our stress levels.
Setting the boundaries for ourselves in our various roles we hold, we can delegate the work if it is too much. If you find you are assigned work outside of your scope or a colleague asks for your help in which your schedule cannot accommodate, then you would need to reject them.
- Ask for Help
Working parents, especially mothers, really want to be the perfect mother and would easily take on all the responsibilities. They want to be a competent employee at work and after work, work hard on household chores. They want to take care of the child through helping them with their homework thinking that only by doing everything themselves then they are considered a good mother. As a result, they give themselves too much pressure and fill themselves with stress.
Working parents need to practice letting go and asking for help. If they are financially able to, hire additional help for household chores. Those needing “me time” can also ask family to help take care of the kids. When life is less hectic, the stress will naturally lower and we are able to better control our emotions.
- Create a Support Network Group
Working parents sometimes feel lonely. When you encounter issues, when your children are emotional, and when the family encounter difficulties, it helps to have those with similar background to talk to. This group are those that parents can have fun with, to discuss concerns together, support each other, encourage each other and to give constructive opinions to each other. When parents feel stress, they will also have the power of support from this group.
Those with similar background as you could be your colleagues, your friend, or your kid’s classmates’ parents. They could even be friends from internet groups to new friends you’ve met from different parents and kids’ events or volunteering work. If you feel that your network is too small, you can also participate in school events or some non-governmental organization (NGO) kids’ events to meet other parents and be able to mutually share and support each other.
Please remember, happy parents are needed for happy kids so reducing your stress as a parent is also an expression of love for our kids.
All the contents published in this article are personal opinions and do not represent the opinions and views of Little Monkey Hong Kong.
About the Author
Scarlett is a working mom with a 4-year-old son, who knows the challenges encountered by working parents. She would like to share some thoughts on parenthood that may serve as support and encouragement for moms and dads.