University of Illinois Extension

Stress Busters: For Your Health

Molly Hofer, Family Life Educator

Do you find yourself devoting all your time to the grandchildren? Are you finding less and less time for yourself? If you're like most grandparents who are parenting again, you probably feel like your life is more stressful. Maybe it's because of the financial costs involved in providing for your grandchildren. Or maybe your grandkids are "high risk" due to drug exposure, child abuse, or health problems.

Whatever your situation is, you need to keep stress under control - for yourself and for the children. Try these stress busters to help keep a positive, healthy attitude.

  • Take care of your health with regular check-ups, healthy meals, and plenty of sleep.
  • To reduce physical tension, take a daily walk or do some other exercise for 20 minutes at least three times a week.
  • When possible, say "no" to other requests for your time.
  • Set a regular quiet time for yourself. The kids can take a nap, play quietly in their rooms, read a book, or listen to music through earphones.
  • Find activities that the children can enjoy apart from you. Check out the offerings from your park district, YMCA, or U of I Extension.
  • Set limits for the children and stick to them.
  • Focus on the positive and keep your sense of humor.
  • Don't give in to hurtful thoughts and self-pity. Negative emotions only drag you down.
  • Join a support group. It's a great place to get advice, new ideas, and emotional support.
  • Maintain a relationship with your friends - even if it's only by phone for now.
  • Reward yourself regularly to help keep a positive outlook.