5 Tips to Combat Parental Stress During the Summer Break
Youngsun Kim

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Parental Stress During the Summer Break


Finally, the summer break is here. The kids are all excited, but what about you, mom? Do you enjoy your children’s summer break as much as they do, or do you feel overwhelmed by dealing with them 24/7? You are not alone. Inquiries from mothers have been on the increase over the last few weeks: since the summer break started, many parents have begun complaining about headaches, muscle tension and/or neck and shoulder pain.

As a parent myself, I’ve come to realize that parenting poses a unique challenge, even from day one. As a father, I’m used to the torments of the night: the word “Daddy” is sometimes repeated several times at various intervals just to wake me up! We love our children and want what’s best for them, but sometimes we need to take care of ourselves in order to give that type of care. Here are some tips to make your summer break more productive and less stressful:

Do Your Best to Spend Quality Time With Your Kids.

Here’s the thing: we all love to hang out with our little ones, but often it’s the type of time we spend with our kids that makes the biggest difference. If we can increase the quality of the time spend with our children, chances are they’ll feel emotionally fulfilled and will sleep better at night – and that means you will, too! Why not ask them out on a little “play date”, that is, do something that THEY love. Walk on the beach, watch a movie, or play a board game. Doing this will build a strong relationship with them and will create great memories. And what’s more, the difference in their emotional well being will directly affect yours for the better!

Don’t Think “Money”, Think “Books”.

We’ve all seen parents forking out hundreds of dollars on a new iPhone or tablet. But, why? Some parents might feel they are educating the child, but the truth is, these types of technology (if used over long periods of time) actually serve to distract/ emotionally distance kids from their family and studies. The best thing you can do to focus your little one’s mind during the vacation (and possibly ensure you get a much needed break) is to give him/her books. Not only will reading stimulate their little minds productively, you’ll be educating your kids even if they aren’t at school.

Start Saying “No”

As a parent, I know that saying ‘no’ can be hard. But remember, your child can only grow into a strong, independent adult if he/she can accept being said ‘no’ to. If you have teenagers, I realize that it is even harder to say ‘no’ to an invitation, a carpool, or even just making dinner for friends. Just remember – you need some time for yourself, and in the long run saying ‘no’ might even be a positive!

Use Breathing Techniques

  • Start by closing your eyes. Sit so that the back of the chair supports your body. Make sure that your feet touch the ground.
  • Breathe in and out. Consciously feel the air move into/out of your body. Feel it entering your nostrils and filling your belly and chest. Be aware of the air as it shifts within you. Understand its rhythm. Be grateful for the life God has given you today.
  • Without altering your breathing, quietly observe the gap between inhalation and exhalation. 
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    Repeat the process until you feel relaxed and aware of your peace of mind returning.

Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep.

Research conducted by the Center of Disease Control (CDC) has proven that 70 million people in America today suffer from a chronic lack of sleep. This is an absolute disaster. Sleep is so important for your wellbeing: I urge you to take control of interrupted/light sleeping habits. Why not try using ‘white noise’ as a way to relax your mind whilst you fall asleep and during sleeping? It helps to sleep deeply without waking up when you get used to it. Alternately, listen to the sound of a fan, ocean waves, or the movement of a water stream.

There are great sound clips to be found on YouTube or iTunes. Furthermore, expose your body to direct sunlight in the morning; try not to use sunglasses. This exposure will help regulate melatonin levels at night, causing you to have a peaceful sleep. Try to avoid any light emitted from screens at least one hour before heading to bed. Light stimulates our minds, so in order to be calm and peaceful before bed it’s best you tuck away that cellphone!

Lastly, why don’t you take advantage of our free ‘discovery’ session? There’s no obligation and no risk. In our clinic we have seen countless parents retrieve their peace of mind, achieve healthy sleeping patterns, and eradicate headaches. This could be you – come visit us today to see how we can help you get rid of your tension related shoulder and/or neck pain. We’ll find AND treat the root cause of the problem so that you can get back to spending a relaxing, enjoyable, quality-filled summer break with your family.

Dr. Youngsun Kim
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