In today’s world it is difficult to meet both ends meet without both the parents going for a job and the to-do list of such parents are an ever-growing endless one-preparing the child for the upcoming math test, scheduling meeting with the team for the latest updates, getting your groceries refilled, paying bills, giving candidate interview feedback to the manager and the list goes on and on-it is no wonder that working parents are stressed, drained out of energy and tired.
Even if you are the kind of person who is hardworking, responsible and tactful about getting things done, your daily routines of reorganizing your task items in your smartphone, refreshing items in your to-do outlook menu and working fervently over emails deleting or responding to mails appropriately will pave way for more sleepless or sleep-deprived nights. Despite such efforts, you still have the feeling that you don’t give your 100% effort both at office or at home! Wake up man! Realize that it is not possible to be 100% present in two places at a time unless you are a genie. The problem is not with the work structure or your family demands. It is dependent on how the human brains are wired. A sense of overwhelm is the normal feeling when there is so much to do, and you have restricted time to get all things done.
You do have certain things that can help working parents feel less stressed, less overwhelmed, calm and in control of the situation.
Toil Over Long-term Goals: Big companies have goals, long-term visions and revenue targets that they work through with efficient managers who work zealously to hit the bull’s eye. Such managers have booming confidence and self-motivation to work passionately towards such goals. Do we parents have such goals? We simply work hard to get through the day and finish off with the task list. We become slaves to the task list instead of doing it the other way around. If your goal in life is to become an entrepreneur while raising your kids to be healthy, self-sufficient and highly smart individuals, this provides the first step to focus your energy towards tasks that help you progress in your goal. Every single day you know that you are working towards your planned goal and become happy when you get there.
Each individual’s goals are different and important. Becoming financially independent to buy an own house is as important as another person’s goal of becoming a company’s CEO. By identifying goals that are personal and future-bases, you become detached from being overwhelmed and psychologically occupy the driver’s seat.
Time allocation matters a lot: Working parents who have a defined set of goals invest their time and energy towards accomplishing such goals. If you wish to become a board member in your organization and raise your kids with religious beliefs, then you must invest extra effort at office work and take your kid to Sunday school. Instead, attending international conferences or taking your child to every single quiz or sports event is not going to fulfill your goals in life.
Try allocating 10 minutes every weekend to go through your next weeks’ goals, identifying ones that don’t fit your long-term goals and taking the pain to say ‘no’ to at least 5% of them. This helps to garner ample more time for other things and increase your satisfaction levels too.
Maintain a ‘Done’ List: People focus on unfinished tasks at hand and ignore the ones that have been completed. TV shows usually use this tactic to end every episode with some suspense so that people keep thinking over it again and again and see it every day until the tangle is resolved.
Any unresolved problem or task keeps our mind going over it until it gets done and we remain anxious throughout the process. While task list is essential to complete chores, it also depends on how you maintain it and stay away from stress. If not, it is only going to add more fuel to your already stressed life. Maintain a separate list of completed tasks and go over it to remind yourself of your achievements. This helps a person to feel less stressed, overwhelmed and anxious. It makes him/her feel like a winner.
Spend some time doing nothing productive: Working parents don’t have any holidays as they are either busy at office or at home, but you can decide to take breaks occasionally for a short period. Every day set aside ’20 minutes’ doing nothing productive and utilize this time to enjoy a family dinner with your loved ones, playing a board of chess with your kid or dancing to funny tunes with your toddler. In this short timeframe you would realize your stress levels going down and your sense of family accomplishments rising up. Stress is a silent health killer and coping with stress requires a skillful approach which is explained in simple and practical ways at www.firsteatright.com. This is one reason why highly successful people take time off their work for a vacation regularly. When we shut off our thoughts from work perspective and spend quality ‘me’ time, it makes us more resilient and productive.
Working parents are great copers of everyday stress, targets and challenges as it requires one person to do two challenging jobs successfully. Fatigue, stress and a sense of overwhelming is inevitable, and these can be curbed to an extent by making rightful decisions, being confident in your performance and enjoying your everyday role, your career and precious time with your loving family.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.