How Habits and Routines Can Help With Your Parenting Anxiety
As I sit here dreaming of escaping the humdrum of life, I remind myself how routines actually suit me really well. As a mom of two, I love to maximize my time, be efficient, and organize my schedule in advance. Understanding where I am with things and knowing what to expect helps me to feel grounded, calm, and useful. The lure of the procrastination cave defeats me some days, but then I end up getting behind and giving myself a hard time. Not fun! So, routines and I go together. This makes me a better parent (sometimes!) To make sure I don’t get stuck in the monotony of things I also invite spontaneity and remember to be flexible when things don’t go to plan.
Creating habits and routines can be an amazing way of helping reduce anxiety and providing a focus for parents. What kind of routines are you used to? Perhaps your days look similar or very different. I’m not here to tell you how best to run things but if you’re looking for tips, here are three simple everyday routines you can hook into to help with anxiety.
Habits and routines that can help with parenting anxiety
What sets off your stress levels? Basic mindfulness practice can make all the difference to anxiety. Try taking a few minutes to ground yourself at the beginning of the day before the kids wake up and chaos resumes. If this isn’t possible any time works for mindful minutes. Five minutes can work wonders. Try this:
- First of all, think about what you are grateful for. It’s a new day with new beautiful moments and new challenges- how amazing! Who and what do you utterly appreciate today.
- Then simply observe your body for a few minutes. Notice where you feel any tension and where it feels good. Check-in with yourself and make friends with your body without judgment.
- Do some belly breathing. Simply allow your tummy to expand as you breathe in and allow your stomach to fall back as you breathe out. Notice the little gaps at the end of the in-breath and the end of the out-breath.
At some point during the day- at lunchtime, before the school run, on the train home from work, or in the evening when the house is quiet- take thirty minutes to do something entirely for yourself! Savor a warm drink, journal your thoughts, listen to your favorite podcast, read a book, share your day with a friend, or do anything that fills your emotional cup. This is great for self-esteem as you are absolutely worthy of this time and it’s ok to put yourself at the top of the pile. You matter so make time for the things that matter to you.
Create a schedule
Write down what needs to be done that day- pay a bill, attend a meeting, do some kid admin, carry out a household chore, there are many, right?! This can help you focus and keep on top of things. Worrying about what needs to be done is half the problem for us parents who have lots of tabs open at all times. So creating a habit of working out what needs to be completed can free up the mind. Starting with the highest priority task is best.
You could always create some family routines too like enjoying dinner together. According to the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, family routines moderates the relationship between impulsiveness and ODD symptoms in children. So the whole family can really benefit from some structure. Go ahead and get those routines pinned down!