According to pediatrician and parenting expert Dr. Alison Escalante, parenting is harder now than ever before. “Mothers have always been stressed, but now we are drowning in it. Fathers who try to engage often find themselves dismissed as incompetent to care for children, or ignored even as they stay at home to be the primary caregiver,” as she wrote in Pyschology Today.
If you’re struggling with parenting stress, this might sound more than a little familiar. So what can you do to ease that stress and make life at home a little easier for you and your family? Research shows that CBD could help.
Scientists have been studying the effects of CBD on a variety of anxiety disorders, from mild to severe, and their findings suggest that, when delivered at the proper dosages via the proper methods, CBD can significantly reduce the physical and mental symptoms of stress that accompany modern parenting.
It’s little wonder, then, that as today’s parents wrestle with how to talk to their kids about cannabis, they’re also asking questions of themselves, like, “Could CBD help take the edge off my anxiety? Can anything, for that matter?”
Many parents who use CBD to manage their stress opt for products that are discreet, easy to use, and fast-acting, such as tinctures (bonus points if they’re lab-tested and certified organic, though that’s an awfully short list).
But what do those products actually do? Here’s a quick, non-exhaustive list:
According to a 2018 review in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, CBD can make your brain more responsive to serotonin (sometimes known as a “happiness hormone,” though this is a bit of an oversimplification). While CBD won’t actually make your brain produce more serotonin, it can help you get the most of what’s already there.
Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine states that “even partial sleep deprivation has a significant effect on mood,” as any parent who’s been up all night with a fussy child knows all too well. Studies show CBD can regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle, making it easier to get a good night’s rest — and to have the energy to deal with the next day’s challenges.
The American Psychological Association (APA) says that “[muscle] tension is almost a reflex reaction to stress,” which will be familiar if you’ve ever felt a shooting pain in your neck after your kid brought home a bad report card. By activating the body’s CB2 receptors, CBD can help reduce this reaction.
Having said that, CBD isn’t the only way to tone down the stress that’s inherent to parenting. If you’re interested in exploring all your options, here are some ideas for where to start:
Strava Escape Decaf Coffee from Strava Craft Coffee ($30)
CBD coffee has gotten popular (it might even be coming to Starbucks before long) for a simple reason: it’s not as likely to give you the jitters. With this decaf blend, there’s even less of a chance your favorite beverage will keep you up all night, and since it’s made with full spectrum CBD, it could actually help you sleep better.
Cowin E7 Pro Active Noise Cancelling Headphones from Cowin ($90)
One of the most popular noise cancelling headphones on the market today, this Bluetooth-enabled device can last 30 hours on a single charge — and its sturdy, over-the-ear design means it can give you a respite from even the loudest tantrums.
DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor from Infant Optics ($166)
If you’re a new parent who’s terrified of leaving your baby alone for a moment, this is for you. The winner of Popular Mechanics’ “Best Baby Monitor” award in 2018, the DXR-8 features customizable lenses and impressive digital security, since no video or sound is transmitted via the internet.
Weighted Blanket from YnM ($55)
There’s a reason your kid has a favorite blanket — sometimes we all just want to wrap ourselves up and forget about the outside world. Available in weights from 5-30 pounds, these bestselling blankets are billed as offering “the gentle sensation of being held,” which is something most parents would appreciate sometimes, too.
The Original White Noise Machine from Marpac ($44)
Putting your kids to bed is usually always a challenge, but getting them to stay there can be even tougher. Your odds of avoiding a multi-hour ordeal will be better if you can make going to bed, or just going down for a nap, something to look forward to rather than dread, and this classic product (it’s been around since 1962) has been proven to be unusually effective.
Anti-Anxiety Fidget Spinner from Duomishu ($17)
Fidget spinners have gotten a bad reputation as cheap, pointless toys, but this stainless steel model is a cut above. Featuring a double pendulum and a sturdy design, it was inspired by the Chaos Theory and claims to deliver completely random motions with every spin (which are deeply satisfying for reasons too complex to explain here). It also comes with a no-questions-asked, full-money refund.
Harry Potter Coding Kit from Kano ($55)
Sometimes, the best way to destress is to just get your kid out of your hair for a few hours. This “Build a Wand” kit, which was named one of TIME’s “Best Inventions of 2018” and a Toy of the Year in 2019, will both keep your kid busy and teach them a new skill, both of which are likely to do wonders for your blood pressure.
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