Find calm in chaos: 5 coping mechanisms for stressed parents

Kinderling News & Features

We’ve all had one of those days. You haven’t had much sleep, you’re running late, there’s some kind of milk stain on every shirt you own and you’ve asked your child to put on their shoes 100 times. Everyone is screaming, rushing and stressing.  

As a parent, chaos is never far away so it’s important that we can learn to overcome it. Life coach and meditation teacher Amy Taylor-Kabbaz shares her top tips for coping when the pressure is on. 

Understand where strains comes from 

Sometimes when we feel internally out of control, we manifest this in our physical surroundings. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes it’s important to keep tabs on yourself and recognise where your stress is really coming from. When it comes to our homes, the smallest thing can set us off. Like mess, for example.

“When I’m not doing well inside myself, inside my head, I feel like I’m behind on a deadline or I’m overwhelmed with something that’s happening in my world, then suddenly the kids’ toy corner is the bane of my life,” Amy explains. 

Listen to Amy on Kinderling Conversation:

“That sense of tidiness is a way to control a world that is out of control. [I find] I need my house clean when I am feeling really overwhelmed and chaotic. I obsess about my house more than usual, and I bet you that you start recognising that you’ll see the same thing.” 

Tune into your physical stress 

When we are stressed and angry, our bodies reflect this. Gaining control of the situation can be a lot easier if you take the time to tune in and attempt to relax. 

“The way we live our lives now we bring that sense of danger to the fact that we’re not going to get out of the door in time, to the fact that we’re running late or we can’t find a shoe,” Amy says.

Switch off that noise by taking deep breaths into your belly to switch off the fight or flight response. 

Amy and her kids

Focus on one body part 

If you struggle with tuning into your body in general, sometimes it’s easier to pick a specific body part to focus and hone in on. Amy recommends relaxing your tongue to aid relaxation in your mouth, jaw and shoulders. 

“The majority of us are unaware of how much stress we hold in our tongue. Relax your tongue for a moment. You can feel your jaw relaxes, your throat and your shoulders relax. We hold a lot of stress in our tongues especially if we are trying not to yell." 

Choose an empowering mantra 

Sometimes it’s important to stop writing that internal to do list, focus on one thing, and use words to aid you in this.

“[Say to yourself] ‘Only this in this moment!’ Give yourself a mantra. We need to stop doing seven things at once,” Amy suggests. “The brain loves repetition, it loves hearing the same thing over and over. A mantra creates that sense of calm in the chaos.”

Invest in your own needs 

As parents we spend the entirety of our days giving to others, but how do you give out of what you don’t have? It’s important to remember you as a parent can’t run on empty and that being hard or critical of yourself is not going to help that nourishment. 

“The first thing we need to do is understand that we are all human beings,” Amy says. “When we do have unexpected circumstances thrown on us, we have no resilience left, the cup is empty. We need to be filling our cup in different ways, either through meditation, sitting outside, turning our phones off, but also being compassionate towards ourselves.

“We do get those points where it is too much, the world expects too much and I think if we can be compassionate to ourselves in that moment we accept what is and behave differently.”