The Awesome Hamper Company team collaborated with a private practice psychotherapist and a parenting expert to discuss relaxation advice, with specific insight and tips for parents.
Common stressors for parents
Parenting expert Simone Machell explained that, from her work with parents: “Some of the biggest stresses I see depend on the age and phase of developing their children are in. Parents with children at a younger age will struggle with the amount of attention their young children require. Sleepless nights, weaning, and potty training are all stressful periods.”
“However, I feel that big stress for parents is when their children are in the age 11–16 bracket, or the tween and teen phase. This is such a big transition period for the children and the parents. At this time, the relationship dynamics are changing, and the parents are beginning to see a change, which often feels like a distancing of the relationship between themselves and their child(ren)”.
Simone continued to say: “Parents can often feel at a loss of how to engage with their child as their children’s priority becomes more focused on their relationships with their friends. Parents can feel they don’t know what is happening anymore in their children’s lives and often worry about their decisions and their path.”
“Parents will often struggle with this change in the relationship and long for the time when their child depended on them fully, even with the stresses that brought to them at that point. Often, it will feel like their children have stopped listening to them completely, and the only time they communicate is when they are arguing, which can lead to a vicious cycle of guilt and miscommunication.”
Simone also shared ways to help relieve this stress: “Firstly, self-care; you can not show up as the best version of you or the best parent if you are not taking care of yourself. I always encourage parents to introduce a morning routine whenever they can.”
“Even if it’s only 5–10 minutes at the start of the day where they think of themselves. Parents can often forget about their needs and want, and this can lead to stress and burnout. If you are a parent, taking time for yourself is important”.
What to incorporate into this will be different for everyone as it should be things you enjoy, but some things to consider would be.
- Meditation – there are lots of free meditations available online
- Gratitude – List at least three things you are grateful for before you get out of bed
- Journaling – Ask yourself how you are feeling and set an intention for how you want the day to go
- Movement – This can be as simple as dancing to a favourite song to put you into high vibrational energy, or it can be a run or a gym workout
Private practice psychotherapist Quint Boa explained: “The brain is “plastic”, so it’s best to build in a time to relax at a set time every day. This means that when it’s my time to relax, you can get into it quicker. Things like meditation are easier to get into and get “better” because ‘the brain’ is expecting it as they are practised regularly.”
“Psychologically, a lot of stress is built up through ‘spotlight’ focused thinking (e.g. life’s never-ending to-do lists, and of course social media), so it can help to adopt “floodlight” thinking. Step away from the day-to-day and look at life as the big picture (e.g. hug a newborn baby, or write a gratitude list).”
“This is a huge physical component, so exercise is important. The adrenaline built up because of flight/fight/freeze of stress can’t leave the body unless it’s metabolised. As a first step, getting your heart rate up for twenty minutes is important to flush out the hormones. And ideally, do this four times a week.”
Quint said: “The really important thing is not to relax through alcohol or ‘eat your feelings’ through unhealthy food. While the short-term benefits may work out, it’s not a long-term solution.”
UK’s top-rated spas/relaxation hotspots
The Awesome Hamper Company analysed TripAdvisor data to determine the best-rated spas in the UK to discover which locations in the UK are “relaxation hotspots”.
Of the 100 venues analysed in the research, 20 had the highest average rating of 5 stars.
With 697 of its reviews being 5 stars (94.8%, out of 735 total reviews), The Youth Sanctuary in Manchester took the top spot. The Spa at The Athenaeum in London took second place, with 423 five-star reviews (also 94.8%).
VJW Holistic Therapies (Huddersfield), The Lorrens Ladies Spa (Torquay), and Alexandra House Holistic Health & Wellbeing Spa (Huddersfield) made up the remainder of the top 5. Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre (London), Oceana Day Spa (Bournemouth), My Little Farm Spa (Liversedge), Devona Spa (Aberdeen, Scotland), and The Spa Dunamoy (Ballyclare, Northern Ireland) rounded off the top 10.
The other 10 spas which secured the top average rating of 5 stars included Beautissimo Spa (Elland), Bodhi Tree Spa (Chalfont St Peter), Sheldon Spa (Sheldwich), Westfield Day Spa (Mauchline, Scotland), The Grange Spa (Pointon), The Spa at Breedon Priory (Wilson), Beauty Cocktail Spa (Horsham), Vita Skin Spa (Winchester), Wood Fen Lodge Spa (Little Downham), and The Spa at Mandarin Oriental (Hyde Park).
Alex Gill, director of The Awesome Hamper Company, commented: “Everyone needs a bit of pampering occasionally. Our range of pamper hampers is the perfect option to create your spa day experience from the comfort of your home.”