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Grandparents Raising Grandchildren-How to Take Care of Yourself

grandfather and teen

Are you a grandparent raising grandchildren? If you are or know someone who fits this description, then you are aware of the stress associated with change and being a second-time-around parent. It's not the grandchildren who are causing the stress, because you know what a blessing it is to have them around. Stress comes from changes in your financial status, changes in the family structure and schedules, and the reasons you needed to take in your grandchildren. Any time you experience sudden or drastic change in your life, you experience stress.

Stress can cause some very common health-related problems including fatigue, insomnia, high blood pressure, cancer, stroke, heart attacks and other illnesses. Unless you take control and learn how to manage the stress, it may lead to chronic illness. Your grandchildren need you, so it's important to take care of yourself.

These 6 steps of stress relief can help you gain control of and lead a more peaceful life.

Relax. It's easier said than done. With a few quick strategies during the day, you will start feeling more relaxed. Start by writing down your stressors; then, write down possible solutions. Sometimes writing can inspire solutions.

Keep a gratitude journal. Daily gratitude will help keep you focused on the positives. When you focus on what you are grateful for, it's easier to feel peaceful and accepting of your life.

Eat right and exercise. Diet has a profound effect on our attitude and well-being. Eating healthy foods will help you feel better, have more energy and reduce the stress that accompanies poor eating habits.

Exercise is a proven stress reliever. Involve your grandchildren in some healthy activities and start them on an active and healthy path also!

Exercising your mind can also reduce stress. Books, puzzles, brain teasers and games are tools to keep your brain active. Incorporate some of these fun pastimes into time with your grandchildren.

Have fun. Enjoy the special moments with your grandchildren. Playing games, baking cookies, having a tea party or watching funny movies together will help build that special bond between you and your grandchildren while helping you relieve your stress.

Work on inner peace. Inner peace can be found through meditation, faith and spirituality. Find what works for you. Whatever method you choose, be consistent and make it an integral part of your life.

Create a healthy environment. Additional family members living in your home can lead to clutter and limited space. Making room for your grandchildren so that they have a place to store their toys, clothes and personal possessions, can help you all feel more relaxed. If space is an issue, consider getting rid of things in your home that you do not need any longer.

Maintain a support system. Your grandchildren are true blessings. Building communication with them, involving them in conversations and sharing experiences are excellent ways of building a bond and reducing stress. Other family members, whether inside or outside the home, or close friends can be a source of comfort during stressful times.

If stress becomes too overwhelming, and you do not have people close for a source of support, you may want to consider seeing a counselor or finding a support group.

To begin your stress relief journey, make a list of the strategies that you will implement, and put them into action. By doing so, you are inviting gratitude, balance and tranquility into your life.