Posted by: Cathi Brese Doebler | June 11, 2009

Stressed out?

One of the classes I teach when I’m doing supervisory skills training includes information on stress management. When I teach the class, I usually angle the information more toward a work/business setting.

However, the last time I was teaching the class I kept thinking about how the ideas on how to better manage stress can really help moms and dads in their home environments.

The first concept that I really thought applied well to home environments was the idea that some stress is actually good. Typically, when someone hears the word “stress”, bad images come to their mind; images of people rushing from one place to another, people speaking impatiently with others, or people crying uncontrollably. These are images where people are experiencing “distress”, the negative type of stress.

But there is also a good kind of stress, “eustress”. This healthy type of stress is the kind that helps us to make quick decisions, motivates us to work hard on a project, or gets us to safety in a dangerous situation.

So, the first concept that I thought applied well to parents, and the daily stresses they feel, is that it is okay to have some stress in your life. It helps you to get projects started and keep them going. It helps you to learn new things and get better at them over time. And it helps you to avoid laziness and give your family what they need.

The key here is that not all stress is bad, and getting your mind around that concept can be the first step to managing the stress in your life more effectively.

The second concept that I felt applied well for parents is to be aware that not everyone handles stress the same way, and not everyone has the same threshold for stress.

A person who requires a higher level of stress will become bored easily if they are not experiencing some positive stress, and they need to do things that use that positive energy that they want to spend. However, other people need their levels of stress to be much lower. What might be great fun to one person (experiencing positive feelings, or “eustress”) can be overwhelming (experiencing negative, or “distress”) to another.

As a parent, it is great to look to books, websites, the bible, devotions, and other parents for ideas and insights. However, we need to temper that with an understanding that our level of comfort with stress will be different from other parents.

You don’t want to compare yourself to other parents, because they are not the same. You are God’s own special child, and He gave you your own unique gifts. The gifts you have can be used to help you be a better parent.

I’ll continue with ideas for managing stress in the next post.



  1. Great article!

    One of the things I find helpful to keep in mind is that stress is not what happens to you. Stress is your REACTION to what happens to you. For me, keeping that in mind helps me to recognize that it’s my reaction that’s causing the stress — me — not the circumstances.

    • Right on JV!

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