21 Free Ways for Parents to Destress

The school year has started back up and the stress of the new year is starting to ramp up. Granted, it may be stressful for the kiddos, but let’s focus on the parents right now – let the Captain guide you. Here is a quick, easy list for you to follow for free ways to destress in a stressful time.

1. Sip a cup of tea*. I have read in a number of places that tea has a calming effect on the nerves. I’m not sure that this qualifies, or works, when you have siblings arguing, dishes piling up, and pets making a mockery of your carpet – but it’s worth a try. *If you need to substitute for a different beverage, then feel free.

2. Text a friend. Sometimes the best comic relief comes from your inner circle of friends. Send a text. Ask for a joke or a funny story. Feel free to lean on a friend – assuming they answer your text.

3. Listen to a comedy station. I have always used Pandora for music, but I didn’t realize (until a neighbor told me) that you can actually select comedy stations on Pandora. Hilarity ensues. Type in your favorite funny person and discover other comedians with similar styles.

4. Watch a comedy show on Netflix. Same as above, but with a visual – just make sure the kids are asleep in case there is questionable language. And in case you are wondering – it is okay to laugh alone.

5. Listen to a musical score from an action movie. Sometimes the dishes can’t wait. Sometimes you have to do the laundry. Sometimes you have to vacuum the floor. Why not have a musical score that matches your feats as a domestic superhero? My two favorites are the 1989 Batman soundtrack and Braveheart. All I need is a cape to complete my persona – if only I had something in my utility belt to combat the grease on dishes.

6. Origami. Nevermind, origami is too stressful.

7. Draw. Check out some Bob Ross videos and sketch, draw, paint. Kudos if you make a mess. Double kudos if you aren’t any good and you laugh at your own artistic inability.

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8. Go for a bike ride. Feel the wind, feel the road, enjoy the solitude. Exercise may be the best answer to stress.

9. Go to your happy place. For me, I re-watch Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. I love how that story ends…
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10. Look at pictures from vacation. I have found it helpful to pick a picture from vacation to use as my wallpaper on my computer, or I print one out and hang it up. Take a deep breath and remember a time that you once were relaxed (of course, if you are a parent, the relaxation may not have occurred until after the vacation…)

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11. Yoga, meditation, pilates how about a bowl of hot buttered popcorn and a fitness informercial?

12. Plan your dream vacation…that you may never be able to go enjoy.

13. Build with Legos.

14. Destroy the Legos. Pretend you are Godzilla and destroy whatever Lego monstrosity you have built. (Don’t step on the Legos though, even that would make Godzilla cry.)

15. Clean. Make the kids pick up Legos and eat the remaining hot, buttered popcorn whilst they work. If they refuse, make the Godzilla noise.

16. Text your friend from #2 (note: that means from suggestion #2 not while you are going #2 – unless that’s your thing.)

17. TP your kids’ rooms.

18. Clean. Make your kids clean up the TP. If they complain, remind them that you had to change their diapers – at least this TP is clean.

19. Car karaoke. Everyone sounds good with the wind in their hair/scalp, the radio blaring, and the open road beckoning. Unleash your inner diva.

20. You are not alone. Instead of flipping through Pinterest – google pintrest fails. You will immediately feel better about your fallibility. You are not alone.

21. Tomorrow. If all else fails, watch the sunset and know tomorrow will be another day. Hang up your hat, call it a night, and go get ’em tomorrow.

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