Thursday, April 15, 2010

Parenting - Surviving the Toughest Job You'll Ever Love

Are you a stressed out parent? Has your daily "to-do" list gotten so long that it no longer fits on a single piece of paper? Or are you so busy that you don't even have time to make a to-do list? You're not alone.

Parents today are working longer hours and commuting longer distances to and from work. Their days don't slow down when they get home. Kids' after-school schedules can be jam packed with homework, sports and other activities, making life busy, and often stressful, for parents. Being a parent isn't easy. The additional stress of caring for children can, at times, make parents feel angry, anxious, or just plain "stressed-out". These tensions are a normal, inevitable part of family life.

Juggling all of the the demands of being a parent can be stressful but there are some simple and practical solutions to help lessen parental stress. Here are a few resources to help you learn how to recognize, understand, and cope with parental stress. These resources can get you started in helping you handle the stress that comes with being a parent so you can be the best parent you can be!

Child Development Institute
Understanding and coping with parent, family and child stress - Parents Under Stress - Stress Management Tools for Parents

Family Guide
SAMSHA guide for families

Family health; parenting and managing stress
Parenting advice and tips for all stages of raising a child, plus you can connect with other parents

Families On The Go Magazine
Interactive and informative family magazine for the Tampa Bay Area

Remember, you can always call 2-1-1 for more information on local organizations that can assist with parent and family support.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Put Play in your Day and Reduce Stress!

Exercise and play is a great way to reduce stress! Enjoy fun and relaxing active family time by visiting your local Y on Saturday, April 17 for YMCA Healthy Kids® Day. The nation’s largest health day for children and families, YMCA Healthy Kids Day offers families a chance to play together and learn more about ways that can prolong wellness and healthier living. YMCA Healthy Kids Day events are free and open to all.

YMCA Healthy Kids Day will be celebrated across the country at more than 1,700 YMCAs.

Last year, more than 700,000 people participated in YMCA Healthy Kids Day events nationwide, enjoying games, demonstrations, arts and crafts, educational resources, healthy treats, giveaways and more.

Some simple ways to put more play in kids’ day, and to get the family moving more, too!

  1. Make physical activity a regular part of family play time – the more active kids are the more likely they are to continue being physically active later in life.
  2. Allow kids to have unstructured playtime. All play is not created equal – kids need different types of play, including indoor and outdoor, active and inactive.
  3. Reintroduce your kid to the basics of active play: play hopscotch or basketball, jump rope, or enjoy games such as “Red Light, Green Light” and “Simon Says”.
  4. Limit screen time and use of electronic media to allow more time for play.
2-1-1 is fortunate to have these 2 YMCA's as partners! Please click on the following links to visit their websites and find out more about their services not only on Saturday April 17th but throughout the entire year!

YMCA of the Suncoast

YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tips & Resources on Managing Your Stress

Stress comes in all shapes and sizes, and it has become so universal that it seems to affect everything and everyone. Levels of stress, both physical and mental, and the ability to cope with it are different for everyone. You can learn how to utilize and transform stress so that it will make you more productive and less self-destructive.

All stress isn't bad. Stress can initiate change, help us focus on the task at hand, and in some cases even save our lives. Yet, when stress builds up, it can result in the opposites and cause us to spin our wheels, keep us from concentrating, and cause injury or even loss of life.

The first tip in managing stress is to recognize your stressors. The next step is to put each of them in their place. While there's a wealth of information about the effects of stress, it can be stressful trying to wade through it all! Here are a few resources to get you started in learning about the effects of stress that can go a long way in helping you understand stress and its role in your life. This can help you quickly and easily learn more about the effects of stress and find some effective stress management techniques that will work for you and you can incorporate into you life right now.

Discovery Health
Stress Management Center

American Institute of Stress
A non-profit organization providing information on all stress-related subjects.

Reducing stress, stress symptoms, causes, treatments and relief
Understanding stress: stress basics, causes of stress and research
How to reduce, prevent and cope with stress

A complete overview of stress, history of stress, side effects of stress and managing stress

There is also a free, ten-week e-course that will help you examine the role of stress in your life, and learn stress management techniques to transform your life from a source of stress to a source of joy and vitality.
Course: Living a Low-Stress Lifestyle

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stressed Blogger

Americans are stressed. We stress about work, the economy, school, love, weight, even stress itself. Well, April happens to be National Stress Awareness Month. April 16th is Stress Awareness Day so take this day to relax. Right now, take just a moment to think about stress and its affects on your life.

The behavioral effects of an over-stressed lifestyle are easy to explain. When under pressure, some people are more likely to drink heavily or smoke, as a way of getting immediate chemical relief from stress. Others may have so much work to do that they do not exercise or eat properly. They may cut down on sleep, or may worry so much that they sleep badly. They may get so carried away with work and meeting daily pressures that they do not take time to see the doctor or dentist when they need to. All of these are likely to harm health.

Stress hormones accelerate the heart to increase the blood supply to muscles; however, blood vessels in the heart may have become so narrow that not enough blood reaches the heart to meet these demands. This can cause a heart attack. Stress has been also been found to damage the immune system, which explains why we catch more colds when we are stressed. It may intensify symptoms in diseases that have an autoimmune component. Stress is also associated with mental health problems and, in particular, anxiety and depression. Here the relationship is fairly clear: the negative thinking that is associated with stress also contributes to these.

To relieve stress, Americans try numerous things to a fight, prevent, and recover from stress:

  • Stress Balls, Relaxation Tapes, and other stress-fighting products and services account for $14 BILLION of spending in the U.S. EACH YEAR.

  • Globally, more than three out of five doctor visits are STRESS RELATED. In the U.S. alone, more than $22.8 BILLION is spent on anxiety-related health care each year.

  • Each year, more than 275,000,000 working days are lost in the U.S. because of absenteeism resulting from stress. One in four Americans admits to having taken a "mental-health day" to cope with stress. This costs employers $602 per worker per year.

Regular exercise can reduce your physiological reaction to stress. It also strengthens your heart and increases the blood supply to it, directly affecting your vulnerability to heart disease. If you suspect that you are prone to stress-related illness, or if you are in any doubt about the state of your health, you should consult appropriate medical advice immediately. Keep in mind that stress management is only part of any solution to stress-related illness.

Stress and Your Health:
National Stress Awareness Month, By the Numbers: