School holidays can be a great time to take time out, reconnect with your family and relax.
But for some parents juggling work and childcare, finding ways to occupy children with limited resources, or dealing with challenging weather, it can create added stress.
Our emotional wellbeing team at Just ‘B’ have provided 10 simple ways you can try and identify or alleviate stress points. Some of these you can do with your children too.
1: Review your sleep routine. Can you go to bed bit earlier, or get up a bit earlier? Is your sleeping space ready to relax in?
2: Take a mindful moment – sit inside or outside, and take some deep breaths. Notice what you can hear, feel, taste, hear and see. Take a deep breath – literally. Breathing techniques can calm you down in a few minutes. Have a look online for lots of simple breathing exercises to tackle stress. This is great to practise with children too.
3: Plant some seeds in a pot – there is nothing more rewarding or calming than to watch seeds grow. If you have children, get them involved too. Perhaps they can decorate the pots or make plant labels? Cress, rocket or lettuce leaves are fast growing, and can be grown on a windowsill.
4: Be strict with your routine – work is work and life is life. Make sure to schedule in time for doing things for yourself and with your family – try to create some boundaries between work and homelife.
5: Keep a mood diary – it can be as detailed or as simple as you like, you could even use emojis. Are there patterns to your moods? Can you identify any triggers to low moods or causes of anxiety? Your children can also join in with this.
6: Have fun! Find something funny to watch or read/play a silly game. You might not feel like smiling but forcing a fake smile actually helps to reduce stress. It can also lower your heart rate and fool your brain into making you feel happier.
7: Get moving – inside or outside. If the weather is not great, put on some tunes guaranteed to make you dance. Not everyone is able to run a marathon, but physical activity produces endorphins — chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers – and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn can reduce stress. There are some great online pre-recorded yoga classes you could do with your children or alone.
9: Focus on positives – Write down 3 positive things that have happened to you today. Doing this every day, can make you realise almost every day has positives.
10: Time to talk? If you’re feeling isolated, low in mood, anxious or stressed, reach out to someone. A friend, a family member? Or remember, we’re Hear to Help on (01423) 856 799, seven days a week from 8am to 8pm.