24/7: A Resource For Working Parents


Ten Stressbusters for Working Parents 

Stress is a fact of life, especially when we are juggling big responsibilities like parenting and paid work. But too much stress can make it harder to enjoy both your parenting and your job. Not only that, multiple studies have show that there is a proven link between chronic, unrelieved stress and various mental and physical health conditions, including depression, overeating, sleep problems and even heart disease. In other words, understanding and dealing with excess stress is a core part of a healthy lifestyle. Here are ten stress management tips for working parents.

1. Take care of your physical well-being. This improves your ability to cope with and recover from stress. Don’t forget the basics: a good diet, reducing caffeine and alcohol and getting enough exercise and rest. Physical activity is nature’s gift for stress management. Getting enough sleep (7-8 hours a night) helps our brains and bodies recharge, which leaves us better equipped to deal with stress.

2. Use your vacation. A surprising number of Canadians don’t take all of their vacation time. Everyone needs vacation time to decompress and recover from stress. If you can’t get away, consider having a “staycation,” doing fun and relaxing activities in your community. If you do go away, try coming back a day early so you have time to get organized and unpacked before returning to work.


Also Recommended:   Workplace Balance Booklets: Struggle to Juggle and Workplace Resiliency  


3. If you’re sick, stay home and “work” on getting better. Sound obvious? Maybe, but people often feel pressure to show up at work even when we’re fighting an illness. Try asking yourselves these questions. Is being sick my body’s way of telling me I’m overstressed and need to take it easy, so I can come back to work with my energy tank full. Will going to work when I’m sick increase my stress levels? Might I pass on my illness and thereby create stress and reduce productivity for my co-workers?

4. Plan ahead. Better organization can ease those daily small stresses. What would make things run more smoothly for you? It could be planning your dinner menu for the week, keeping a better record of family activities and to-dos, or setting out the kids’ clothes the night before.

5. Set boundaries between your work and non-work. Take a break from your devices when you get home. Can that work e-mail wait until tomorrow morning. If your employer insists on communication outside work hours, might you be able to negotiate at least some boundaries that protect your family time?

6. Make time for “we time” with your kids. Good times with your children help you maintain the positive relationships that are the foundation of good parenting. It also generates positive emotions and memories that help us recover from the stresses of family life.

7. Watch for overscheduling. Time pressures are the most common stressor identified by moms and dads in the Psychology Foundation of Canada’s Working Parents Survey. If time is a big stressor for you, take a look at your daily and weekly schedule, and your family schedules. What are the top priorities? Could some activities or commitments be eliminated?

8. “Me time” is also important. TakIng time to do things you enjoy may feel like “stealing” from your precious time with the kids. But “me time” can recharge your energy and help you be at your best for your kids.

9. Connect with other parents. One of our most important stress management strategies is spending time with and getting support from people we enjoy and who make us feel good about ourselves. When you’re a parent, hanging out with other parents and kids helps you feel less isolated.

10. Develop the habit of gratitude. Remembering to be thankful about the good things in your life generates positive emotions that can reduce stress. Try this as an exercise. For the next week, write down three things you are thankful for each day. Does this change your perspective on your life?

Thank you to Workplace Strategies for Mental Health for their support of 24/7: A resource for working parents.