What is the worst thing someone can say to you when you have reached your “parental peak?” Back up, can you envision what I mean by “parental peak?” The feelings of one more thing and the volcano is going to blow. I feel quite strongly that when reaching the top of the parental peak and someone (probably a spouse or child) says to “just relax,” it is not going to help. After reading this, you will be able to see the “just relaxers” are trying to help you back away from the eruption. They just don’t know how to effectively do it. Here are the skills to help you, you just need to be self-aware enough to implement them when it is time. It might even feel good to thank the person helping you realize you were getting to the peak.
How to Relax in 10 seconds
That is right! 10 seconds and you can be climbing down the mountain. The more you practice this, the more effective it will be. Here is how: close your eyes and count to ten. How to do this: Try counting 20 to 30, or 100 to 110. (Change it up and make it fun.) This quick 10 second count is enough to block the distractions and change your brain wave patterns and get you back in action. (If counting is not your thing, try thinking about your favorite place, this is called guided imagery.)
Stretching to Relieve Stress
Some parents keep their stress in their shoulders, back, and other muscles. Some of us are not even aware that we do this. By stretching, we can release some of this muscle tension. Sitting poorly on the couch or slumping in the chair can also cause this. How to do this: Start by shrugging your shoulders, then turn your head slowly from the right to left and front to back. Reach up to the ceiling feeling your whole body stretch. Lastly, stretch your arms out as far as you can reach and move your fingers up and down. This can also be a fun activity for your children to do if it finds that it helps you. I will encourage you to get yourself grounded before organizing a household quarantine stretch. (It might get noisy.)
Take a Deep Breath
Lastly, here is the million-dollar solver of all problems. Just take a deep breath. I am sure you have heard it before, or even tried it. Here is how it works, when you are upset and in a “fight or flight” response, meaning you are stressed out and your body is taking over, you will breath mainly from your chest and very quickly. This can increase the feelings of distress. Which will only make the problem worse. By doing a deep breathing exercises, you can slow your breathing, which will lead to helping you relax. How to do this: Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. Breathe deeply and try to feel your hand on your stomach move more than the hand on your chest. Now slow down the breaths. This is going to take practice, as everything else! Who knew breathing could be so hard! When practicing, you can do it laying down, standing up, or sitting down. When you inhale, think of words that calm YOU down. Relax, calm, or easy, are suggested words, but you might have others you prefer. You may also want to practice this before you need it. When you find yourself at a quiet moment in the house, practice. You might get dizzy at first, just take a break before you continue!