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6 Things Parents Can Do Right Now to Stop Feeling Like Crap

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Photograph by Twenty20

Let's face it, there are days when being a parent is almost overwhelming. It can seem like we have a handle on every other aspect of our life, but the parent thing—whether it's getting the baby to eat anything other than applesauce or getting the toddler to stay in bed at bedtime or simply not losing our shit when no one is listening to anything we are saying—can break us down like nothing else.

There are plenty of articles to tell you how to pamper yourself when you’re away from the kids, but when time (and money) are as short as your temper, you need something that will turn things around ASAP. Ready to boost your mood? Try one of these quick fixes:

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1. See the future

Go to your bedroom, your closet, your bathroom—anywhere you can get five or ten minutes alone. Close your eyes and take several deep breaths. Visualize the future five or ten years down the road when today’s struggles will be far behind you. See yourself, and your kids, happy and laughing. Keep breathing, deep breaths in and deep breaths out. Feel that knot of frustration loosen.

Feeling cooped up and claustrophobic will take its toll on your attitude.

2. Scream out loud

Quiet meditative thought not working? Park the kids in front of the TV or put them down for a nap and go sit in your car (preferably with the windows up.) Then blast your favorite bad-ass song, the one that makes you think you can do anything, and scream the lyrics as loudly as you can. Let it all out, all of the aggravation and weariness you’re feeling. Scream that song like you need to be heard—because you do.

3. Dance it off

When you literally can’t walk away from the children for even five minutes of breathing or screaming, then have a dance party. Forget the kid music, put the radio on your favorite station and tell them you’re having a dance competition. Then ignore their antics and just dance until you’re breathless. Just doing something physical will help shake your lousy mood.

4. Get out

Feeling cooped up and claustrophobic will take its toll on your attitude. If the walls are closing in, it’s time to get outside. Yeah, it may be cold, but you can do it. Get the kids and yourself bundled up and go for a brisk walk. If the little ones can’t keep up with you, throw them in a stroller or wagon and then walk as fast as you can for as long as you can.

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5. Make your bed

Don’t roll your eyes. If being alone isn’t possible and getting outside isn’t practical, something as simple as tidying your bedroom can help alter your mood. A freshly made bed with clean sheets and pillows will put a smile on your face even if you won’t be able to lie down for several more hours. Seriously, try it.

6. Laugh

If you’re snapping at everyone and nothing seems to be working, try a little laughter. Jump start your good mood with a movie or show that makes you laugh. The humor too mature for the kids? Put them down for a nap or let them watch a little TV while you watch something on your phone or tablet, earbuds in place to drown out "Curious George."

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