As a parent looking after yourself can often slide right to the bottom of your list. You are too busy, too tired, have too much to do, to even consider doing something for yourself. This is particularly the case when your children are very young and demanding constant attention, however it is a dangerous habit to get into. If you are frazzled and stressed, everything feels so much worse than and more difficult to cope with. By taking some time to care for yourself each week, you remind yourself that your health is important. and put yourself in a better place to care for others .
What to do
Ensure you set aside some time in your weekly routine for a self-care activity, whether it is 10 minutes per day or 30 minutes a week. Vary your self-care activities, if something isn’t doable due to time constraints, try a shorter activity. Ask for help, it is very unlikely you need to do everything on your own, ask family, from friend and organisations to help you get the time off from your caring responsibilities to recharge. Enforce boundaries, on yourself and those around you. Other people demand a lot of us, make sure you know where your lines are, and ensure you stick to them! This is vital to avoid burnout. Be aware of how you are feeling. If you find your body is tense and stressed, consider what you could do to relax yourself. If you have had a bad week, notice how that makes you feel and make some time for yourself.
Some Self Care Ideas
Taking up a relaxing hobby that can easily be started or stopped, how about knitting or something else creative?
Go for a walk without a destination
Meditate for 15 minutes
Enjoy a takeaway
Start that book you’ve been meaning to read for ages
Go for a drive with out a destination
Bake some bread (kneading dough is a great way to get out some frustration!)
Enjoy a hot drink without any interruptions
Put on a face mask
What not to do
Give yourself a hard time if you didn’t manage any self-care this week, maybe thing got on top of you and the week whizzed by? That is ok, bear it in mind and try again next.
Pass over your own needs but make time for others.
Mistake self-care for selfishness, carving out time in your busy life to look after yourself is not selfish, it is sensible! Do consider self-care an investment for the week ahead of you.
By modelling good self-care and emotional awareness you are not only in a good frame of mind to take care of your children, you are teaching them to take care of themselves!