|A-Z Stress Busters
64 Proven Stress Reducers for Parents
Stress-Relief for Stressed-Out Parents--
Have you had trouble sleeping lately? Suffer from headaches, stomachaches, or
heartburn? Or do you seem to develop one cold after another? Perhaps that's
your body's way of reacting to too much stress.
Stress is a normal part of life, but working parents with out-of-control teenagers
have more than their share. You need to be sure that the stress in your life
doesn't adversely affect your health. If you can't fight or flee, learn how to flow.
1. Accept differences and things you cannot change—Some problems simply cannot be solved or else
the solution is way down the road. Don't let it bother you if coworkers do things differently from the way
you do. Relax, there's more than one way to reach a goal. Cooperation is always better than
2. Add an ounce of love to everything you do.
3. Allow 15 minutes of extra time to get to appointments. Plan to arrive at an airport one hour
before domestic departures.
4. Allow yourself time-everyday-for privacy, quiet, and introspection.
5. Always set up contingency plans, "just in case." ("If for some reason either of us is delayed, here’s
what we’ll do." Or, "If we get split up in the shopping center, here’s where we’ll meet.")
6. Aromatherapy—Use highly concentrated oils from plants and herbs
to relax, recharge, and increase your sense of well being. They are also good
for dealing with environmental stress caused by loud noises and bright lights;
physical stress from repetitive-strain syndrome, muscular fatigue, and
backaches; mental stress created by financial and job concerns; and chemical
stress caused by consuming too much junk food and coffee, or breathing
polluted air in your office or factory. You can purchase essential oils in health,
beauty, herb, and natural-food stores. Use these oils in your place of
employment simply by placing a few drops of oil on your wrist or earlobe, in small humidifiers, light
bulbs, spray atomizer, room diffusers, or in water bowls.
7. Ask questions. Taking a few moments to repeat back directions, what someone expects of you,
etc., can save hours. (The old "the hurrieder I go, the behinder I get," idea).
8. Avoid the source of stress—Don't make major changes in your life until after your baby is born.
Beware of the holiday season; let someone else do the work this year. Clean up the clutter on your desk.
Give up stressful volunteer tasks.
9. Be prepared to wait. A paperback can make a wait in a post office line almost pleasant.
10. Become more flexible. Some things are worth not doing perfectly and some issues are well to
11. Create order out of chaos. Organize your home and workspace so that you always know exactly
where things are. Put things away where they belong and you won’t have to go through the stress of
12. Do one thing at a time. When you are with someone, be with that person and with no one or
anything else. When you are busy with a project, concentrate on doing that project and forget about
everything else you have to do.
13. Do something for somebody else. Make a meal for someone who is in need.
14. Do something that will improve your appearance. Looking better can help you feel better.
15. Doing nothing which, after being done, leads you to tell a lie.
16. Don’t forget to take a lunch break. Try to get away from your desk or work area in body and
mind, even if it’s just for 15 or 20 minutes.
17. Don’t put up with something that doesn't work right. If your alarm clock, wallet, shoe laces,
windshield wipers, whatever are a constant aggravation, get them fixed or get new ones.
18. Don’t rely on your memory. Write down appointment times, when to pick up the laundry, when
library books are due, etc. ("The palest ink is better than the most retentive memory."-Old Chinese
19. Don't hold back the tears—Crying is a healthy way to relieve anxiety. Of course, there are times
when it wouldn't be appropriate: in front of a client, for instance.
20. Eliminate (or restrict) the amount of caffeine in your diet.
21. Eliminate destructive self-talk; "I’m too old to...," "I’m too fat to...," etc.
22. Every day, do something you really enjoy.
23. Focus on understanding rather than on being understood; on loving rather than on being loved.
24. Forget about counting to 10. Count to 1,000 before doing something or saying anything that
could make matters worse.
25. Get enough sleep. If necessary, use an alarm clock to remind you to go to bed.
26. Get up and stretch periodically if your job requires that you sit for extended periods.
27. Get up fifteen minutes earlier in the morning. The inevitable morning mishaps will be less
28. Have a forgiving view of events and people. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world.
29. Have an optimistic view of the world. Believe that most people are doing the best they can.
30. If an especially unpleasant task faces you, do it early in the day and get it over with. Then, the
rest of your day will be free of anxiety.
31. Inoculate yourself against a feared event. For example, before speaking in
public, take time to go over every part of the experience in your mind. Imagine
what you’ll wear, what the audience will look like, how you will present your talk,
what the questions will be and how you will answer them, etc. Visualize the
experience the way you would have it be. You’ll likely find that when the time
comes to make the actual presentation, it will be "old hat' and much of your
anxiety will have fled.
32. Keep up a social life—Visit friends,take a colleague to a play, go out to dinner with another
couple. Make time for fun. Allow time in your busy week for your favorite recreation and watch how the
33. Learn to delegate responsibility to capable others.
34. Learn to live one day at a time.
35. Make duplicates of all keys. Bury a house key in a secret spot in the garden and carry a
duplicate car key in your wallet, apart from your key ring.
36. Make friends with non-worriers. Nothing can get you into the habit or worrying faster than
associating with chronic worrywarts.
37. One of the most obvious ways to avoid unnecessary stress is to select an environment (work,
home, leisure), which is in line with your personal needs and desires. If you hate desk jobs, don’t accept
a job, which requires that you sit at a desk all day. If you hate to talk politics, don’t associate with people
who love to talk politics, etc.
38. Organize your workload—Tasks are more manageable if you deal with them one at a time. When
you have too many things to do at work, draw up a plan of attack in order of priority. Complete the
tasks one after the other and soon you'll find the weight lifting from your shoulders.
39. Plan ahead. Don’t let the gas tank get below one-quarter full. Keep a well-stocked emergency
shelf of home staples. Don’t wait until you’re down to your last bus token or postage stamp to buy
40. Pollyanna-Power! For every one thing that goes wrong, there are probably 10 or 50 or 100
41. Practice preventive maintenance. Your car, appliances, home and relationships will be less likely
to break down/fall apart "at the worst possible moment."
42. Prepare for the morning the evening before. Set the breakfast table, make lunches, put out the
clothes you plan to wear, etc.
43. Procrastination is stressful Whatever you want to do tomorrow, do today; whatever you want to
do today, do it now.
44. Relax your standards. The world will not end if the grass doesn’t get mowed this weekend.
45. Return stress to its rightful owner—Some of the aggravation you feel is really someone else's
problem. Tell your mate that he'll have to entertain his clients himself; tell a coworker to learn the
system instead of always asking you. Start saying no to the other people who lean on you. Explain that
you have more than enough to do, and suggest that they should do it themselves.
46. Say "No!" Saying "no" to extra projects, social activities, and invitations you know you don’t
have the time or energy for takes practice, self-respect, and a belief that everyone, everyday, needs
quiet time to relax and be alone.
47. Schedule a realistic day. Avoid the tendency to schedule back-to-back appointments. Allow time
between appointments for a breathing spell.
48. Simplify, simplify, simplify...
49. Take a hot bath or shower (or a cool one in the summertime) to relieve tension.
50. Talk about it—Share your concerns with a coworker or a friend. It may or may not lead to a
solution, but you'll feel much better after unburdening yourself. If sharing with a friend doesn't seem to
help, be sensible and seek the counsel of a professional.
51. Talk it out. Discussing your problems with a trusted friend can help clear your mind of confusion
so you can concentrate on problem solving.
52. Thought Stoppers—If you're worried about the meeting tomorrow or how you'll be able to pay
for future day care, slowly pass the word "stop" through your mind. Replay the letters S-T-O-P over
and over. Or count backward from five to zero. Imagine each letter or number in vivid color.
53. Try physical activity—Exercise, yoga, or perhaps a stroll around your workplace during the day
is a wonderful stress reliever. Even cleaning your work space in your first trimester can relax you.
54. Try the following yoga technique whenever you feel the need to relax. Inhale deeply through
your nose to the count of eight. Then with lips puckered, exhale very slowly through your mouth to the
count of 15 or for as long as you can. Concentrate on the long sighing sound and feel the tension
dissolve. Repeat 10 times.
55. Turn needs into preferences. Our basic physical needs translate into food, water, and keeping
warm. Everything else is a preference. Don’t get attached to preferences.
56. Unplug your phone. Want to take a long bath, meditate, sleep, or read without interruption?
Drum up the courage to temporarily disconnect. (The possibility of there being a terrible emergency in
the next hour or so is almost nil). Or use an answering machine.
57. Use your weekend time for a change of pace. If your work-week is slow and patterned, make
sure there is action and time for spontaneity built into your weekends. If your work-week is fast-paced
and full of people and deadlines, seek peace and solitude during your days off. Feel as if you are not
accomplishing anything at work? Tackle a job on the weekend, which you can finish to your satisfaction.
58. Wear earplugs. If you need to find quiet at home, pop in some earplugs.
59. When feeling stressed, most people tend to breathe in short, shallow breaths. When you
breathe like this, stale air is not expelled, oxidation of the tissues is incomplete and muscle tension
frequently results. Check your breathing throughout the day and before, during and after high-
pressure situations. If you find your stomach muscles are knotted and your breathing is shallow, relax
all your muscles and take several deep, slow breaths. Note how, when you’re relaxed, both your
abdomen and chest expand when you breathe.
60. When the stress of having to get a job done gets in the way of getting the job done, diversion (a
voluntary change in activity and/or environment) may be just what you need.
61. Worry about the pennies and the dollars will take of themselves. That’s another way of saying:
take care of the todays as best you can and the yesterdays and the tomorrows will take care of
62. Worry Time—When you start to stress about something, set it aside in your mind (or write it
down) and then go back to your work. Set aside a few minutes every day to deal with your worries in a
more productive way.
63. Writing your thoughts and feelings down (in a journal, or a paper to be thrown away) can help
you clarify things and can give you a renewed perspective.
64. Zzzzz’s – Get plenty of quality sleep!!!
Parents with out-of-control teenagers simply must take care of themselves in ways they
wouldn't have to if their kids were not so intense and demanding.