No words can really prepare parents for the job of parenting; you really have to do it to understand what the responsibility for a totally dependent ‘other’ involves, 24 hours a day.
It is not just the physical commitment; it’s also the shift in already established relationships, the role changes, emotions and sleep disruptions that can become stressful at times.
Some parents, despite being totally exhausted, have trouble sleeping, experience reduced appetite, increased anxiety and may even begin to experience a sense of isolation. All of which are indicators that these adults are beginning to exhibit signs of stress that needs management.
For some, stress management can be as simple as taking a moment to breathe deeply and rhythmically, to give your mind a moment to regain balance. Never underestimate the power of stopping and focussing on your breathing, to stop the ‘flurry’ of what is happening in your head. Breath control can physiologically change a body response to stress. So too can positive self-talk to convert negative thought to a glimmer of positive, even this small shift can calm internal stress.
As a baby sleep specialist I see the physical and emotional impact of ongoing sleep disruption on parents It can be difficult for a tired parent to see the need for self care, as all they can think of is “WHEN WOULD I DO THAT?”. So brief and powerful moments of stopping, are more realistically achievable as a starting point.
There are, of course, more involved stress regulators, such as parent support groups or counselling, or just a really really big sleep, but these simple, DIYs tools are always at hand for a one of ‘those moments’ when a parent finds themselves a little overwhelmed.
For more information visit www.safesleepspace.com.au