Parenting is a stressful job. To be a calm, loving, empathetic parent, you need to make time to take good care of yourself. Recharging your emotional battery is required when your job includes broken sleep patterns and tests of patience.

If you keep going without a break, you can end up feeling chronically stressed and in a bad mood. Your feelings then have a trickle-down effect on your children, who will feel stressed by your stress. Often when kids feel stress, they respond with out-of-balance behavior. You can help everyone feel more balanced by recognizing and responding to the signs of stress and irritability in yourself.

If you find yourself becoming increasingly irritable and short-tempered, losing sight of the delightful aspects of parenting, it is time for a break. If you take some time off to read a book, go for a walk, or relax in a warm bath, you will be boosting the mood-stabilizing chemicals and reducing the stress chemicals in your brain. You can also find an emotional boost by spending some quality time with your partner or some supportive friends.

How to find time? Schedules and circumstances differ for each person and each family. The answer may take some time and experimentation. Here are some thoughts to get you started:

  • Are you a morning person? If so, think about getting up fifteen minutes earlier to have some time to feel calm and centered before the day starts.
  • Are you a night person? Then consider saving fifteen minutes after the kids go to bed that will be sacred time for you.
  • Is lunchtime or naptime an opportunity to engage in a recharging activity?
  • Do you have a partner, family member, friend, or neighbor who can watch your little bundle of love for fifteen to thirty minutes?

Emotionally recharging is a necessary part of parenting. Give yourself permission to take some time for you.

More to consider: Activities that recharge . . .

Research has shown that meditation, acupuncture, massage or physical affection, yoga, a warm bath, and spending time in the light all stimulate oxytocin, an antistress chemical.