5 Practical Ways To Care For Yourself as a Parent
As the years go by and your kids begin to grow, it can get hard to remember who you were before you started having children.
Being a parent is both all-enveloping and often times different and unconversant. It can be hard to figure out how to find a balance.
The first step is knowing that taking time out to figure out and cater for your needs is not selfish.
It’s like the flight attendant says before take-off: Place the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping small children.
So also, you approach self care as a parent, without any sense of guilt.
Remind yourself that you’re doing something to strengthen your family — if you’re happier and healthier, then you can be a happier, more attentive parent. “Instead of running on stress fumes and being ill tempered, you’ll have more energy to take your kids on outings and do other fun things that they like to do.
5 ways to practice self-care as a parent
Because taking care of yourself is key to rediscovering your sense of self, it is recommended that your practice these five parent self-care tips:
Celebrate Thanksgiving every day. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, try to think about the good things in your life. It may sound cliché, but being thankful helps you focus on the present instead of on potential future anxieties. If things are spiraling out of control, focus on positive self-talk, such as, ‘I have these three beautiful and healthy children who are flourishing.
Exploit your inner yogi. Breathing deep from your diaphragm creates a relaxation response throughout your body. There are no special equipment required, and no one has to know you’re doing it. You can do it whenever, wherever. For example, during a visit from your mother-in-law or when you walk in your children being disastrous and misplacing all the household decorations. Deep breathing helps take the edge off, which means less yelling and guilt and more feelings that you’re rocking parenting.
Create schedules. Take time out for yourself, whether it’s for running or dinner with friends or simply sitting down to read. “If you have a partner, create a schedule together that involves alone time. If you want to go to that Saturday morning dance class, ring that out loud so your partner knows they’ve got the kids then.
Keep fueling your relationship. As parents, it’s easy to forget that your relationship needs some attention, too. Get a babysitter and prioritize date nights or outings where it’s just you and your significant other. It’s great for communication. It also helps re-establish what brought you together in the first place.
Revisit your old life. Revisit the things you enjoyed before driving your kids to school took over your life. Or find a new hobby to indulge. You need an outlet to reset and reflect without the constant din of “mommy” or “daddy” in your ear. Socializing with friends or even exercise can do the trick. “Exercise benefits you physically and mentally – the release of endorphins alone provides a boost. Exercise can also help you focus on personal achievements. For instance, if you set a goal of running a half mile and then you achieve it, it helps you feel good about yourself.