Ten Tricks to Increase Your Distress Tolerance

Last time, I mentioned that parents of a fussy baby (which really means any baby, sooner or later) would do well to increase their distress tolerance. I mentioned having a glass of wine, taking a bubble bath, and watch a favorite TV show. Here’s a list of ten other ideas to help you calm down and repair your frayed nerves after a long, stressful bout of dealing with your wonderful child. By the way, as with the above examples, these assume you can get at least a few minutes to yourself. So, depending upon how many children you have and what all else is going on, you may need to wait until they’re all safely asleep. Or in college.

Go take a ten minute walk or bike ride. Heck, even get in the car and drive, just as long as you get out of the house for a few minutes. [The Wife: Driving and talking on the phone with all rodeo participants strapped down in their carseats i.e. safe from each other can be a good workaround.]

Listen to some relaxing music (can be combined with the above suggestion). Note that “relaxing” doesn’t necessarily mean those “Gentle Sounds of Nature” CDs they play in the background at the massage place. If you find speed metal soothing, by all means put some on.

Go to your Happy Place. Preferably during its Happy Hour.  [The Wife: If you frequently choose this as your go to destressor please look into other options.] [The Dad: I was thinking of Sonic. You know, sometimes you just need a half-price shake.]

Exercise. Personally, I find exercise to be like physical labor that doesn’t result in any sort of finished product, but it releases endorphins — those chemicals in your brain that make you feel good — and can even help you live longer and healthier. Or so I’m told. [The Wife- A gym membership with childcare included can really incentivize working out.]

Go to the field out behind your house and shoot up a bunch of glass bottles. If you want to plan ahead and be classy, use molds to make targets out of ice — it shatters just as satisfyingly but the pieces melt rather than clogging up your lawn mower. [The Wife- Check your local gun laws please.]

Light stuff on fire. [The Wife- Sorry to be Debbie Downer again but, uh, check your local arson laws please.]

Run around screaming. Try it, it works! Especially if you windmill your arms around.  [The Wife- Not in front of the children dear!]

Engage the analytical part of your brain by doing a puzzle or other fun intellectual challenge.

Try counting or doing math in your head — stuff like long division or counting down from 100 by threes. An additional benefit to this is that if you get good enough, you can shield your thoughts from Jedi telepathy. Unfortunately, it makes you more predictable to everyone else.

Have sex. Since this involves another participant, it can be an efficient way to de-stress both parents. Be sure to get spousal approval before you start, and be aware that this can lead to needing to de-stress over another crying infant about 40 weeks down the road. [The Wife- No comment.]