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We often talk about infant, children and teen health at the clinic, being as our focus is health throughout one’s life and that begins when we are born. However, what about the parents?

There is no manual on how to parent, but all parents will tell you that raising a child takes time and can be stressful. So, how best can you manage stress?  Below are three tips to help de-stress before the school year begins.  Please be aware that there are many ways to de-stress, and a list of three things is not all-encompassing. My hope is that these ideas will inspire you to learn and research more about what you can do for yourself.

  1. Breathe!

Breathing is so important! I cannot ‘stress’ – ha ha ha – that’s a pun, how important breathing is for one’s health.  When you feel tense, or over-whelmed because there are a ga-zillion things on your ‘TO DO’ list, take a moment.  Seriously, take 30 seconds and breathe in through your nose for three counts and exhale for five counts.  Counting on odd numbers will take focus and that will center you to relax while you breathe for half a minute.  Taking that small bit of time will be well worth it.  You can center yourself and move on with your priorities.

  1. Prioritize!

What really has to get done? What can you delegate to other family members?  You do not have to do it all.  That is exhausting and depletes your energy.  Look at your schedule – if you do not have a schedule, then we need to learn time management – and prioritize what needs to get done immediately before the school year begins. 

  1. Move your body!

If you want to stay healthy, and manage stress, another important thing to do is to move your incredible body! If you only have a few seconds in a busy day or week, let us go back to number two, and prioritize! You have nothing to give to others if you are tired and over-worked.  Movement helps to reduce tension and can improve posture.  Better posture means better physiology, and that means you are in a better mental state to get things done! This is especially important when getting the kids ready to go back to school.

If you are limited on time, you can implement any kind of extension stretches throughout the day to keep your body more limber.  These can be neck extension, chest expansion or lower back extension stretches.  Hold the pose for five to ten seconds and then repeat each pose three to four times.  It takes a minute to do it.  I know you can find one minute in your day.

Another suggestion I often talk to patients about is waking early and giving yourself even five to ten minutes to stretch or meditate. This can make a world of difference in managing stress and adapting to what life throws at you because you are taking a few minutes to yourself. You deserve this time to yourself. I encourage you to try it.