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The Voice of the Black Community

Health

No time for fatigue? How to reduce stress, feel your best
Tips for busy parents juggling family and work
 
Published Thursday, January 31, 2013 11:30 am
by Brandpoint

Few Americans are more time-strapped than parents. From the moment the alarm chimes, it can feel like a race to get through the day.

From packing lunches, to helping with homework and running to after-school activities, there’s hardly a moment to spare. Add to that the demands of a fulltime career, and it’s easy to understand why so many parents are stressed out.

Dr. Keri Marshall, a licensed naturopathic doctor who specializes in pediatrics, women’s medicine and chronic disease management, understands the high demands of modern parenting.

She offers these important tips to help parents reduce stress and improve overall health and wellbeing:

1. Time management

“Time management is key for reducing stress and helping busy parents keep their sanity,” said Marshall. “The problem is that time management is a skill that must be learned, not something we’re born with.”

Whether it’s a traditional calendar on the wall, making lists, or a new smartphone app, organize your week and share your schedule with all family members. Remember to manage priorities — grocery shopping may need to be pushed back a day or two in order to make a child’s band concert or big game.

Marshall also suggests building a few moments of downtime into your schedule. “Just five or 10 minutes here and there can give you the pause you need to stay calm and collected.”

2. Nourish your body

What you put into your body makes a huge difference in how you feel. Some foods can even help reduce stress and boost your immunity so you don’t wind up sick, something busy parents simply don’t have time for.

“Being stressed causes the body’s cortisol levels to rise,” explains Marshall. “This stress hormone can cause you to crave unhealthy foods, so resist temptation, and eat foods that help calm the body and balance hormones and blood sugar. Foods high in vitamin C, like berries and other bright-colored fruit, are great for boosting the immune system and balancing cortisol levels.”

Another simple thing you can do every day to help reduce stress and stay healthy is to take a fish oil supplement, which, according to Marshall, can improve heart, joint and brain health, plus increase immunity.

“Another unique benefit of fish oil is it can help to boost mood as well,” Marshall said. “A growing body of research has demonstrated that omega-3s can help promote a positive mood and well-being, which is critically important for people battling stress.”

3. Prioritize sleep

“Physical stress can make it difficult to sleep,” said Marshall. “People stay up later trying to get things done, and then when they do go to bed, they have trouble turning their brain off at the end of the day.”

However, quality sleep each night helps keep your body healthy and increases productivity levels at work and at home. By making sleep a priority, you’ll help ensure that you make the most of every hour in every day. While the National Sleep Foundation notes that the amount of sleep needed varies from person to person, generally seven to nine hours is considered optimal to maintain health.

4. Share the workload

You know the adage: It takes a village to raise a child? Well, today’s parents are busier than ever, and often they think they need to do it all themselves. Leaning on friends and relatives to help out when needed can dramatically reduce your stress. Plus, it can be a fun change of pace for kids.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” said Marshall. “Raising children is one of life’s greatest adventures, but no one can do it all. There’s no shame in asking Grandma to run the kids to soccer or having a friend watch the kids for a few hours because you have a work deadline. Plus, it is great bonding time for your children and the loved ones in their life.”

 

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