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I don’t have to look at the clock… I know what time it is. At about 4:00 every day, my kids lose their minds. They whine, yell, fight with one another, and when that’s not happening, they’re running back and forth between the kitchen and living room.

This is my sensitive time. I’ve given so much throughout the day that by 4 pm, I’m feeling a bit empty. The task of preparing dinner and getting the house in order makes it challenging for me to stay in a calm frame of mind. I’m usually on edge, and if I don’t attend to my rising frustration, I will lose my cool with my kids.

The past three weeks, I’ve worked hard to stop raising my voice with my children. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve messed up a few times but overall I feel like I’ve made tremendous progress. However, much of this success has come from having strategies to calm down before I blow up.

Check out these 10 simple strategies to calm down before you blow up. #parentingtips Click To Tweet

Seek solitude.

Remember when you had your first baby and everyone’s advice was to nap when the baby naps? Remember how maybe you hated this advice because that was the only time you could get stuff done? My advice to seek solitude may be just as unnerving, but it is one of the most proactive things you can do to maintain your sense of calm.

Every afternoon my girls have an hour-long “rest time”. They watch a few episodes of Mr. Rogers or Paw Patrol while I have some time to myself. In the past, the second the TV went on, I would race to my computer and start working on blog tasks. It took a while to realize that this was depleting me. I needed a rest as well.

So, every afternoon, I seek solitude in my bedroom. I set the alarm on my phone for 20 minutes, and I read my Bible, pray, meditate, and sometimes, I may even dose off! This time of solitude nourishes me so much that I can often push through the rest of the day with a smile on my face.

Do what you can to seek some solitude time for you!

Go outside.

Nature inspires and invigorates me. Regardless of the season and the temperature, step outside onto your deck or porch… even if it’s for five minutes. Feel the sunshine on your face, the wind in your hair, the rain on your fingertips, or the icy chill of the winter air in your lungs. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds of nature.

Take a deep breath.

We take breath for granted, but it can work wonders for our mental and emotional well-being.

I once attended a yoga class in which the instructor told us to breathe in positive feelings and to exhale negative feelings. Despite this session being over four years ago, this lesson has resurfaced lately.

When I am feeling my anger rising, I practice:

Inhaling (joy)… Exhaling (anger)

Inhaling (peace)… Exhaling (fear)

Inhaling (serenity)… Exhaling (frustration)

Inhaling (love)… Exhaling (anxiety)

I visualize the words entering and exiting my nose through which I take my breaths. A few rounds of this type of breathing, and I’m usually calm and relaxed.

Do less.

My number one reason for losing my cool is because I have too much going on all at once. I’m over-committed, over-extended, and exhausted.

Try to minimize what you take on and allow for more margin time in your days.

Eat & drink enough.

Not too long ago, I got quickly swept up in my day. My youngest daughter woke up early, I started a load of laundry, and then the dog got sick, my oldest woke up, and I had to get breakfast ready for her, then the dog had to pee, my youngest decided that she wanted to take a bath, and all of this happened between 6 and 8 in the morning!

As I sat down to start teaching my daughter at 8:30, I was irritable, and I had a headache. That’s when I realized I hadn’t eaten breakfast, had my glass of lemon water OR my morning coffee!

Make sure that throughout the day you are eating and drinking enough.

Be grateful.

When my children are frustrating me, or their behaviours are pushing my buttons, I find that one of the best ways to remain calm is to look at them and be thankful for them. I get close, and I admire my youngest daughter’s wispy hair and her button nose, or I may look at my oldest daughter’s large eyes and round cheeks. As I do this, I reflect on how blessed I am. I give thanks for their unique personalities and their good health. I find I can easily be calm when I’m thankful.

Laugh a little.

I have no idea what happened to me when I became a parent. I suddenly got so serious because this was “my job” and I had to “do my best”. The pressure I put on myself and the feelings of not being enough robbed me of joy and my sense of humour.

I marvel at how my husband can easily take a tense situation and within a minute, have all of us laughing. Laughter helps release those negative feelings and restores joy and calm.

Dance, be silly, put on a funny hat, and laugh! Having troubles laughing, cue up a video! This is my favourite… I dare you to keep a straight face… especially at the 1:01 minute mark.

Walk away.

Sometimes the best choice may be to walk away from the issue… even if it’s for a few minutes. If nothing life-threatening is happening, why not take a few minutes to regain calm instead of diving into chaos?

Feeling like you're going to blow up? Walk away to regain calm instead of diving into chaos. Click To Tweet

Think beyond the now.

Will the fact that my daughter has coloured the walls actually matter in ten years time? No.

Will me freaking out about it matter in ten years time? It just might.

Whenever possible, I try to think beyond the here and now, this will often put things into a clearer perspective.

Show some affection.

I can never stay frustrated or lose my cool when my daughter is snuggled in my arms. I often find that our “off” days are the ones when we’ve had the least contact with one another. So if feelings are getting intense, maybe it’s time for a big snuggle.

What do you do to calm down before you blow up?

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Jennifer Bly
Jennifer Bly
Author of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to Homeschool, creator of The Deliberate Mom, Deliberate Homeschooling and regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Jennifer writes about parenting, her faith, and life with her husband and two girls. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care.

Jennifer Bly is the creator of Becoming a Deliberate Mom: A Reflective Parenting Workbook. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram for parenting updates and inspiration.

Every mom needs this parenting workbook! Buy once, use always!

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