[W]hen we’re busy taking care of others, one of the very first things we neglect is taking care of ourselves. For many singe dads, this can lead to single parent burnout. To avoid this, take some time today to do something just for you. It doesn’t have to require a babysitter, and it doesn’t have to take up much of your time. The simple act of practicing intentional self-care can prevent burnout, help you feel stronger, restore your sense of peace, and fill you with hope for what lies ahead.

We have talked before in Divorce Stress, Consider a Health Change for the Better, about making big changes to reduce stress. Now let’s examine small simplistic ways to reduce stress for parents.

30 Simplistic Ways to Reduce Stress for Parents

1. Take a long walk or go for a run. Nothing clears your head like a great jog.
2. Add yoga to your workout routine. A break in your routine that frees your mind of stress.
3. Read a book from your favorite author. I still love the Harry Potter series.
4. Write your life story or blog. This blog was started for therapeutic reasons, then grew.
5. Get a massage.
6. Enjoy an evening meal featuring a new dish you’ve prepared for your kids.
7. Enjoy a night out—what you do doesn’t really matter.
8. Write a letter to a friend you haven’t talked with in a while.
9. Smile.
10. Start your day with 10-15 minutes of quiet time. For me, I love to read my Bible.
11. Read a magazine.
12. Clean your house, tool shed, or your office.
13. Sit outside and breathe fresh air.
14. Get up fifteen minutes early so you can linger over a cup of coffee. I occasionally hang out at Starbucks with a book or a laptop.
15. Start or continue a new hobby.
16. Learn to bake your favorite dessert or try a new dish on the grill. Cooking is not my forte but many dads love it!
17. Re-read an inspirational/motivational book.
18. Write in a journal. I write notes, goals, and thoughts down weekly.
19. Go to a park and actually play with your kids. Swing with your kids or chase them around the monkey bars. Really play.
20. Go to bed an hour early.
21. Watch the sunset.
22. Listen to soothing music.
23. Grow a plant or start a garden.
24. Sit with a cup of hot chocolate or some hot tea.
25. Surround yourself with pictures of good friends/good times.
26. Say “No” to a request you don’t have time for or doesn’t interest you.
27. Accept that challenge you’ve been putting off.
28. Express your creativity through writing, painting or learning to play a musical instrument.
29. Lend a hand, or get a volunteer job at your kids’ school.
[tweet “30. Hug your kids.”]

What ever you do, make time to deal with your stress and reflect. Sometimes the littlest activities make all the difference.

What activities do you engage in to reduce parental stress?

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