Nicole Andrews
The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program
nandrews@cridge.org

 

It’s an ugly word. It causes blood pressure to go up and makes your palms sweaty. It can disrupt your day, week or months of your life. It takes energy away from other parts of your life and focus away from other issues that you may be facing. But it’s actually a natural condition. Your body produces cortisol, a biological chemical released under times of stress. It’s even, dare I say it, a healthy response to our circumstances in life at any given time. Life is fluid, always moving and changing. It’s part of our human experience. Stress helps to keep us safe. It releases other hormones too, to keep us focused and moving forward.

Sometimes it can be overwhelming too. When the demands exceed our capabilities we get stressed. We all have coping mechanisms that we have learned from very early on to deal with stress. Are you a fighter? Are you a runner? Are you a procrastinator? Are you an avoider? These are some of the human personality traits that we have developed in response to stress.

There is no right way or wrong way to cope with stress that you have. You do the best you can with the biology and skills that you have. But, there are ways of making stress more manageable.

Diet. I know we can’t get away from that word but it actually means what we eat, not reducing what we eat. So making healthy choices. Grabbing a piece of fruit or a dinner with salad and protein. Not the burger and fries. A healthy diet can vastly improve our ability to cope. Giving your body good fuel to run on helps the body as a whole – physically, emotionally and mentally.

Exercise. I know we all agree that with little ones running around and our daily living we get some exercise. But to really exercise means 30 minutes of raising your heart rate, fresh air, and sweat. Moving your body and clearing your mind will help you feel better, live longer and be healthier.

Sleep. Ahh the great unattainable 8 hours a night of uninterrupted sleep with little ones that wake up throughout the night and break us of our sleep patterns. Try to get the best sleep each and every night you can. Some nights are hard but if you can try to head to bed just fifteen minutes earlier you may reap the physical benefits of thirty minutes or more. Take a nap when little ones sleep if you can, and listen to your body. When you are tired in the evening don’t try to push through one more episode of your favorite show. That’s when your body kicks in its second wind and you find yourself recharged in the late evening hours and decide to go for another few hours.

Help. This is the hard one. Asking for help when you need it can seem hard for some, silly for others and is actually stressful on its own for others. As humans we are meant to be in community with each other, allowing others to support us and for us to fall back on their strength, wisdom and knowledge. We need to have others with the skills and experience to encourage and to help work though a stress and come out the other side.

That’s what our program is all about. The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program is portable and practical support for young families and their children. Having a coffee and a friendly ear to listen can reduce stress. A ride to the doctor’s office or to see the lawyers can be a load off a young parent’s mind as they juggle their other responsibilities. We provide support in finding quality childcare, affordable housing or a program offered in the community. Sharing some of the burden with another about life changes, parenting issues, school work and the social scene can make a situation that looks overwhelming, stressful and exhausting seem just a little easier to tackle when you know that you aren’t alone.

So if you’ve found us, then you are in the right place. If you know of someone else that you think might benefit from our program, tell him or her. We are here for you!

 

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