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Chill Out, Dads! 3 Stress-Busting Tips to Keep Happiness, Health in Check

Today’s dads often try to fill the role of “super dad.” You may feel like your life is on overload because you have seemingly never-ending demands at both work and home. There are times when you may find that you are working extremely hard to provide for your family, then you shift gears and strive to fulfill your obligations at home. You have more to do than you can handle between time spent at work and with your kids, doing chores around the house and in the yard, and taking care of the cars. It’s hard to even know what your priorities ought to be.

Men in general and dads in particular don’t like to admit that they are feeling stressed. But stress is a part of life that can quickly get out of control if you don’t learn how to cope with it. When you feel like a firecracker about to explode, it’s time to do something about your ability to cope with stress. If you don’t, the consequences can be severe.

Slow Down the Pace

Constant stress can lead to serious problems. When you are feeling perpetually stressed, you may try to cope in inappropriate ways. For example, you may eat fast food on the run or rely on a few drinks to calm down. You may smoke or deprive yourself of sleep. You may even rely on substances including prescription drugs or street drugs. Stress-related habits such as these can lead to a huge variety of health problems, including anxiety, ulcers, headaches, hypertension, frequent infections, obesity and possibly alcoholism or drug addiction.

Slow down! It’s time to recognize that you can’t be all things to all people. Learn to take life at a different pace. Relax with your spouse or children by watching the sun set or a family movie. Put your watch away and stop worrying about the time. Does that sound like it’s easier said than done? It may seem that way at first, but it will get easier if you make a conscious effort to do it. Keep reminding yourself that all the energy you’re putting into worrying is wasted energy. Learning to quiet your mind can be a huge help for stressed out dads. 

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Taking care of your physical health can help you to have both a healthy body and a healthy mind. Remember that if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else. Take the time to think about what you’re eating. Fast food is high in calories and low in nutrition. Reach for water instead of soda or alcohol and fresh fruits and vegetables instead of a candy bar. A diet full of junk food can lead to irritability and lethargy, and empty calories can make it harder for you to cope with day-to-day stress.

Increasing your physical activity is a natural way to make stress much more manageable. Exercise can also lift your mood. When you are feeling stressed, jump on your bike or walk around the neighborhood instead of simply allowing your anxiety to increase.

Time for Family, Time for You

Don’t let your responsibilities consume your life and take you away from your family. Make it a point to have some time each week to enjoy the company of your family. If you are married, make time for you and your spouse to be together without the kids. Even though your to-do list is extremely long, your family needs you to spend some of your time sharing your life with them. It’s also important to carve out time for yourself, just to relax and unwind. Figure out what you like to do and give yourself permission to do that, whether it’s bowling, fishing or golf.

Besides damaging your health, not handling stress well can hurt everyone around you. Dads who are anxious and overwhelmed don’t make good role models for their children, and when you’re stressed out, you may lash out at those you love the most. Life can be challenging, but you can learn to cope with stress, for your sake and the sake of those you love.

Posted on June 16th, 2015

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