A stressed mother with tired eyes covers her mouth while sitting on the couch with her baby on her lap

The Working Parent’s Guide to Destressing

When you’re on maternity or paternity leave, the last thing you want to think about is work. But the fact is, sooner or later you’ll have to come back. What you’ll soon find out firsthand is that being a working parent is no easy feat. Not only do you have to juggle work and personal life, but you also have to make sure your family is taken care of while you’re away. It’s no wonder that so many working parents feel stressed out! But there are ways to destress and make the transition back to work after parental leave a little easier. Here are some tips:

1. Schedule some “me” time

Once you’re back at work, it’s important to schedule some time for yourself. Whether it’s going for a walk during your lunch break or taking a yoga class after work, make sure you’re carving out some time to do things that make you happy and help you relax.

Here are some activities you can do to relax:

  • Taking a long, luxurious bath can be a great way to destress. Add some candles and bath salts or bath bombs for an even more relaxing experience.
  • Get out into nature. Take an hour or two to hike an easy trail where you can feel relaxed. You can bring along your baby on a sling, too! Just make sure they’re old enough to handle it.
  • Go for a day at the beach. Make it a family day so that you can all have fun. Remember to take pictures!

How you deal with stress is an important part of being a parent, and not only for the sake of your mental health. There is evidence that the way parents deal with stress is a huge factor in how children learn to deal with their own stress, as well as the development of mental disorders.

If you really need some time for yourself, look for someone to take care of your child for a couple of hours. The usual candidates are usually your spouse, sibling, or parents, but if for some reason you do not think they are the best candidates around, you can look for a babysitter or professional child care services. Some daycares even offer enriching classes. On the other hand, babysitters can take care of your baby right at your home. Regardless of which one you choose, just do your research before sealing the deal.

2. Connect with other parents

It can be helpful to connect with other parents who are going through the same thing as you. Whether it’s joining a support group or simply chatting with friends who are also working parents, it can be comforting to know that you’re not alone in this journey. Apart from sharing your experiences and having people to vent to, you can also learn a lot of things from them. Experience is the best teacher, but an experienced friend is the next best thing. Who knows, maybe you can help each other take care of each others’ kids, too!

3. Get organized

One of the best ways to de-stress is to get organized. This means creating a schedule for yourself and your family and making sure everyone knows what their responsibilities are. Split the load with your spouse so that you can maximize your personal time. Make your personal times part of your schedule, too!

Yes, creating a plan and a schedule looks like more work, especially if you don’t like making plans. Surely more work can’t reduce your stress! However, think of it as an investment; taking a couple of hours to set up a plan (that you can modify really quickly for any changes later on) will save you a lot more time and energy down the road. Having a plan will also help you feel more in control and less stressed out—after all, nothing is more stressful than being caught by a real emergency and not having any idea what to do.

A mother, father, and their two kids are playing at the beach at sunset

4. Spend time with your baby

You spent the last week or months with your baby, and you may have thought it was tiring—that’s completely normal. Raising a human is nothing if not tiring. However, now that you’re back at work, you probably realize just how much you miss your baby. That’s why you should spend as much time as you can with them. Not only is bonding with your baby great for their social skills and their future mental health, but you will definitely miss how cute and lovable they are as an infant once they grow older. Millions of parents can attest to this.

Almost everyone wishes for their kid to grow up quickly so that they can get back to sleeping normally at night and not having to deal with smelly diapers, but once they’re able to run around the house and raise hell, you’ll definitely miss that small, smelly bundle of joy. You’ll probably think the same thing once that toddler turns into an angst-driven, frown-sporting teenager, too!

Besides, nothing melts stress faster than a baby’s laugh. It’s also a great opportunity to remind yourself why you’re driving yourself to keep working despite how hard everything is—you’re doing it for that adorable little baby.

Final Thoughts

Working parents have a lot to juggle, and one of the most important things to remember is that taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your family. Whether it’s by taking some time for yourself each day to relax or by making sure you’re getting enough sleep, it’s crucial that you find ways to destress so that you can keep going. These four different ways help working parents reduce stress. We hope that at least one of these tips will help you manage your stress levels better and make life a little easier.

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