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How Dealing with Stress Can Benefit Your Kids

November 5, 2012

With stress being prevalent in the lives of so many parents, especially ones who also work full time, it’s hard to imagine how it wouldn’t affect the health of their children.

A recent study reveals that kids with parents who are stressed-out are more likely to eat fast food and be overweight. This news comes shortly after another study showed a link between childhood obesity and BPA consumption, a chemical often found in processed food packaging. 

While there are many contributing factors to childhood obesity, parents remain the most influential in their children’s adoption of healthy habits such as being physically active and eating wholesome foods.

Despite the challenges of limited time, financial strain, and single parenthood, there are many ways that even the busiest parents can be positive role models when it comes to health and happiness.

Here are a few healthful ways to juggle a busy lifestyle:

Reduce stress. Even if all you can manage is 5 minutes of relaxation a day, or 20 minutes once a week, create that time for yourself in your busy schedule. Regular stress-lowering activities such as taking a bath or jogging will help keep you balanced throughout the entire week and give you something to look forward to in the midst of a hectic day. It will also improve your mood and ability to easily handle future stress without overreacting.

Prioritize. Sometimes we feel that we have to accomplish a multitude of tasks simultaneously or… something bad will happen! But oftentimes it’s OK to postpone the non-urgent in order to create a little extra space for what matters most, like family time. When you’re feeling stressed, take a moment to breathe, take a break, and try to simplify what you’re doing.

Shop, and cook, wisely. One of the best ways to avoid the temptation of unhealthy food is to simply not buy it. Shopping once or twice a week for healthy essentials will ensure that you always have healthy snacks like apples or nuts, and can create a simple meal with fresh veggies. Cooking large portions to ensure leftovers is also a great way to reduce the frequency of having to cook. Just add a fresh salad to yesterday’s quinoa and beans and you’ve got a healthy meal in just a few minutes! 

Ask for help. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a little help now and then. Whether it’s for a deadline extension at work, or babysitting help from your relatives, simply asking can often get you the support you need and reduce the pressure to do it all on your own.

Stay involved. Despite your efforts with kids at home, they could be accessing junk food elsewhere and turning to it for comfort amidst stress in their own lives. Spend quality time together, know their school environment and their friends, and let them how important health is for their future.

What are your favorite ways to bust stress?