Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Get Happy!

Finding your Joy

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article


STRESS! STRESS! AND MORE STRESS! Is this your life? Do you feel over whelmed? Never enough time in the day to get everything done? When was the last time you laughed? I don’t mean smiled or giggled at a joke or comedy, I mean laughed so hard your stomach hurts. When was the last time you had so much fun that the memory will stick with you for life? If you can’t remember or it’s been a long time, KEEP READING! If there is not enough of those moments, you need this too.

Many people follow a high pace lifestyle and/or have high stressed lives. It has become the norm in our society. Most families have 2 working parents, add sports, clubs or activities for the children and grab something quick for supper, homework and off to bed to do it all over again the next day. Sound familiar?

Do you get sick a lot? Seem to catch every bug that goes around? Stress is partially to blame for that also. Stress causes inflammation. The body sees inflammation and wants to help heal itself. Then your bodies defense mechanism (your immune system) is not at full strength. Guess what, you caught the latest flu, cold whatever.

So what do you do about it? You can’t quit your job or take your kids out of sports. You cannot pay your bills. I suppose you can but that will just cause more stress. What if I told you what you really needed was a pen and paper (or computer) and you being honest with yourself.

Take a piece a paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side title it Things that stress me out. The other column things that bring me joy. Stop take a breath and right down everything that stresses you out in the first column. I mean everything. The in-laws, the boss yelling at me at work - keep going. Be as specific as you can. Need more paper, flip it over or grab another. When you are done with all the things that stress you out, stop and breath. Take a few breaths, doesn’t it feel good just to get it all out?

Your next step is to honestly look at all the things that bring stress into your life. What do you have absolutely no control over? You can’t control a relative having cancer or running over a nail in the road and getting a flat tire. The things you have no control over, RELEASE! Surrender them to your Higher Power or just simply say “I cannot control this situation, I release it.” Now let’s look at what you can control. Say you always feel rushed in the morning. You are yelling at the kids to hurry up. Everyone is stressed and it starts the day bad. What can you do to make the morning go smoother? Do you pack lunches the day before? Is breakfast something simple? Do you and the kids pick out your clothes the night before? Could you get up earlier? You get the idea. Let’s try something harder. You have a child with autism. When he gets stressed he has a meltdown. Your world stops until you can calm him down. You might be thinking that is out of my control. Yes, and No. Is there a pattern to when they get upset? Are others in the home stressed out before it happens they are reacting to? Do you have a plan anyone can use to help them? My son has severe autism and he is non-verbal. We have essential oils we use, bring his hands under our armpit and hug. I hum a song and within a minute or two he is better. We do the under the armpits to keep him from biting or pinching himself. We slowly release and if he starts returning to self-injury behavior we simply tuck them back under. Another thing you can control is your perception of things. If you stopped and looked at things from the other person’s perspective, would it be so stressful? You walk into work and your boss immediately starts jumping down your throat. What was his morning like? Did someone yell at him? Is he sick? Is his mom sick? It may not excuse his behavior but may make it less stressful for you if you think of it that way. The things you can control, find a less stressful way to deal with them and release the things you can’t.

Now to the fun side of the paper. What brings you joy, happiness and laughter? List everything even if you haven’t done it in years. Maybe you like jumping off an airplane, maybe you can’t remember the last time you pushed your daughter on a swing and heard her scream “Higher, mommy, higher!”. What puts a smile on your face. Now I ask you to make a commitment to yourself. I want you to schedule at least 3 of these activities to do in the next 7 days. Happiness doesn’t have to cost money, so no excuses! Schedule it in your calendar, TODAY! Treat it like it’s your child’s doctor’s appointments. I bet you don’t cancel those, do you? When our life’s get so busy we forget to have fun. Have a water fight, go to the park, take a stay vacation. If you have the money take a vacation. And lastly don’t forget to take time for yourself. Like a stewardess would tell you, put your oxygen mask on first or you can’t help your children. If you don’t take care of yourself in your everyday life, who is going to take care of your children?

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.