How to deal with stress as a busy parent
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How to deal with stress as a busy parent

View of snowfall out of a window with plants and decorations on the window sill.

How to deal with stress as a busy parent

Here in Portland, OR we are on day seven of being homebound due to snow and ice. Everyone is starting to go a little crazy. In my house, our unexpected 24/7 family time is combined with the stress this storm is placing on our small businesses as well as, though I don’t love to admit it, perhaps a little PMS on my part. It’s too cold and slick to exercise outside and it’s not easy to meet friends for a drink so I have found myself reaching for any and all other stress busters I know. Here a few of my favorites for the busy stressed parent who doesn’t even have the time to go to the bathroom without interruption let alone an hour long acupuncture session or yoga class:

  • Natural Vitality Natural Calm magnesium. This stuff is awesome. It helps to balance magnesium and calcium at the cellular level helping us feel our best. Most of us are deficient in magnesium due to soil degradation and stress can further damage the cal/mag balance. My patients have reported improvements in muscle spasm and tension, insomnia, headaches, energy, anxiety and stress with supplementation.
  • Yogi makes a Kava Stress Relief tea that is super convenient and yummy. All you need is time to steep up a cup! Kava is an herb that is used to calm both body and mind and many people find it very relaxing.
  • Meditation and mindfulness apps are helpful for many folks looking to make the most of the ten minutes their kids are occupied watching PBS before demanding a snack. Many apps these days focus on teaching the techniques in bite size chunks that make it much more accessible and enjoyable. Once learned, meditation and mindfulness are A+ tools for stress reduction. Here are some of the best apps of 2016 to help you get started.
  • Music! Listening to music is an extremely effective stress management tool. Slow and quiet music can help to lower blood pressure, slow the pulse and decrease stress hormones. While this may seem obvious, when folks are highly stressed there is a common tendency to avoid listening to music. In our house, we notice that all four of us – and definitely our two preschool age sons – are happier and more relaxed when music is playing.
  • Fair warning, this isn’t a five minute stress reduction technique but it is pretty awesome. Three times per year Denise Pasquinelli of Seed in Portland, OR offers a ten day guided cleanse. Denise provides a seasonally appropriate rich guide full of recipes, inspiration and support as well as daily emails. The emphasis is on diet while also minimizing unnecessary technology and increasing moment and self care rituals. My partner and I did this cleanse back in the fall and it was just the reset that we needed. Among many benefits, I enjoyed a huge improvement in my mood and reduction in feelings of stress and irritability. You don’t have to be in Portland, OR to participate, Denise can guide you through it anywhere you are!
  • This wouldn’t be a compete list without one of the most obvious but often needed reminders: be present with your kids! Close the computer, forget about the dishes, get down on the ground and play. I can always count on hearing that deep kiddo belly laugh to help boost the love hormones in my body and get me feeling less stress.


Good luck mamas and papas! We are all in this crazy and amazing parenting thing together.