Note to Readers: Today’s new breed of Dads amaze me. The first generation of men to change diapers, take their daughters to dance class, and cook dinner. Most without having witnessed their own fathers being so hands on. I applaud the Dads I meet everyday…on Twitter, Facebook, and at the park. Their minds and hearts are open and like many moms… they are stressed out. I am thankful to Michael for sharing his stress relievers for men.
by Michael Lawrience
As men when stressed, we tend to run away from our feelings, push them into our unconscious, or when pushed beyond our limits blow up in a rage. Men, in general, seek the company of other men in some activity like golf or watching a football game to escape their stress and get relief.
Parents also have stress filled lives, including dads and stay-at-home dads (SAHD). Dads who work in companies or own them have the stress of work responsibilities, as well as even the well-being of employees.
SAHD have a variety of other stresses different than men and dads such as cleaning, cooking, child care, laundry and even home schooling.
One major stressor for stay-at-home dads revolves around frustration with the cleanliness of the house. Their wives feel that the home isn’t being cleaned to their standards.
I experience stress in my life as a husband and a lot of stress at work where I supervise and interact with 70 teenage girls at a Therapeutic Boarding School. At the school, I monitor and assist, doing part of some jobs such as cleaning dorms, classrooms, dining hall dish cleanup and floors, and washing vans. I am also most of all responsible for the safety of the girls at all times. This includes stopping physical or verbal violence or harm to themselves or others. Sometimes girls need to be driven to the hospital for emergency visits. At the end of a shift I am stressed out, sometimes more on some days than others.
So I can relate somewhat to stay-at-home dads even though at the end of the day I can go home.
Regardless of our type of work, everyone needs stress relief, including men. I will share some top stress relievers for men and include how they apply to stay-at-home-dads.
Stress Management Tips for Men:
1. Exercising– As men we rid ourselves of stress through exercise. It increases our heart rate and blood flow, as well as adrenaline. Pumping iron at the gym, playing basketball, golfing, hiking, jogging, and even walking, whether with other men or by ourselves all help. Regular exercise remains the key to long term stress relief and better health.
Various martial arts also provide an excellent way to release stress by kicking and punching. I felt the best ever when I practiced karate for one year.
Yoga serves as another means to relax both the mind and body. I have practiced some form of yoga since my mid 20’s with great results for staying limber and relieving stress.
Some stay-at-home dads like endurance sports like biking, jogging, or swimming. After a day of screaming kids jogging releases endorphins resulting in a feeling of euphoria. Years ago when I worked at a group home for days at a time, I chose jogging when I came home as my #1 stress reliever.
2. Hanging Out With the Guys – Team sports, like football, hockey, softball, or volleyball or even just watching sporting events assists us to escape and unwind from our stress. Being outdoors and golfing also help.
Some stay-at-home dads may want guy companionship because of their limited male interaction or they may want alone time since they have so little of it. I know a seminar leader who after spending three intense days involved with teaching groups of people just wants to go home and be alone for a while to unwind rather then more interaction with his wife and five kids.
3. Spending Time Alone– When we distress it can also be in solitude like hiking or hobbies like photography or fishing.
Most of my stress relief methods involve solitude. I unplug from doing and working all the time by sometimes playing fantasy video games for a few hours.
Some stay-at-home dads may want their wives to take the kids out at least once a week so they can sit in the sun or by a fire and read a book for even a half an hour to relax.
4. Building Relationships – As men, like women, it is important to build positive friendships. Then we have people, whether they are men or women who we can turn in times of stress because we trust and feel safe with them. I always felt happier when I had a least one close male friend that I could talk to about anything and help me deal with challenges and stress.
For stay-at-home dads it’s a greater challenge to build relationships. They have less of a support system. Their wife works. The other people they meet, mostly females, accept them less whether dropping kids off at school or other functions simply because a male caregiver tends to be less prevalent in Western society.
Stay-at-home dads, however, can receive support through online articles and forums for SAHD.
5. Learning to Nurture Ourselves – Even as men we need to learn how to nurture and re-energize ourselves just as women do, even though if may be more of a challenge. We probably would not take a hot bubble bath, yet we can find hobbies which interest, energize, and distress us. Nurturing can also come from hanging out with the guys or some solitary pursuit like reading or listening to or playing music.
Stay-at-home dads without much time can always find time for a 5 minute stress reliever, even when engaged in house chores or interaction with the children.
Breathe deeply into your abdomen and then out your nose, with your feet firmly on the floor. Breathe out twice as long as you breathe in. For example, breathe in for 4 breaths and out for 8. Do this for at least 5 minutes.
Deep breaths stretch the muscles in your chest and signal your mind for the body to relax.
Many other ways assist as stress relievers. Stress, regardless of the source, has similar remedies for men, dads, and stay-at-home dads.
I have used various stress relief methods throughout my life. Now I take a short nap before work or early afternoon to refresh. I also do yoga on a regular basis, even if it’s only for 10 or 20 minutes. When I am really fatigued in the evening I sometimes take a hot bath with Epsom salts and essence oils for 20 minutes. Last of all, when I come home totally stressed from being eight hours with 25 – 30 teenage girls involved in ongoing emotional drama and crisis, my wife, an energy healer, releases the stress from my body and energy field.
What’s your way of stress management and setting regular times for stress relief?
Check out Michael’s softcover book Emotional Health: The Secret for Freedom from Drama, Trauma, and Pain on Amazon for an owner’s manual describing practical methods to release your physical and emotional chronic pain, suffering, and emotional stress.
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(Indigo Dreams: Adult Relaxation by Lori Lite can help reduce stress and anger….even for the tough guys.)