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Cleaning, laundry, play dates, homeschool, extracurricular activities, emails, conference calls and the list goes on and on. On most days that list feels never-ending and on most days getting through it all would be a miracle. The importance of self care is something many parents don’t even pause to think about. They just know that the world is not going to stop rotating, so they need to keep moving along with it. But what would happen if every parent took the time to indulge in themselves and feel more human again?
Self care is anything that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. This might seem like such a simple task, right? Well sure, if every hour of every day wasn’t spent taking care of someone or something else. Doing one thing for yourself each day, each week or each month is up to you. In order to avoid parenting burnout here are 5 simple ways to carve out time for a little TLC and start understanding why the importance of self care goes beyond taking care of your physical self.
The Importance Of Self Care
Let’s real talk for a minute, doing something for yourself might make you feel guilty or seem selfish. Understanding the importance of self care is not selfish, it is one of the best things you can do for you and your family. If you broke your arm, or suddenly came down with flu-like symptoms you would see a doctor. Your emotional and mental health is no different than your physical health. These three are connected and impact one another more than you might think. All deserve to be cared for and all are our responsibility to ensure they are getting that care.
The importance of self care needs to start becoming a mindset and not an afterthought when you have your next meltdown. Don’t let yourself get to the point of sheer exhaustion before throwing up your white flag and saying “I am done”. A simple re-charge is what can give you exactly what you need in order to get back to being a parent at full capacity. A little “me” time will provide you mental and emotional clarity and also give your body a physical break. Find your happy place and carve out time to visit it often.
Teaching The Importance Of Self Care To Your Child(ren)
Remember the good ‘ol days when you could have fun, relax and get in some downtime? That shouldn’t be a memory but a reality built into your day-to-day activities. Your child(ren) are seeing and feeling your stress even when you think they can’t hear you crying in the bathroom because your boss just laid into your team’s presentation you stayed up half the night completing or see the madness in your eyes when you just snapped because Lucy sat in the dog’s water bowl for the 3rd time today. Teaching your child about the importance of self care can also teach them how to react to challenging situations.
Defining the importance of self care and practicing healthy self care techniques such as eating a balanced diet, moving your body and getting enough sleep not only have an effect on your physical health but mental health as well. Your children are constantly watching and whether you want to admit it or not they pick up on your mannerisms, the way you talk, walk and chew gum. Practicing healthy ways to treat your body both physically and mentally is a great way to teach them what a balanced life can look like. There is a phrase that needs to be part of your parenting mantra, “It is not selfish, it is self care”. Start using it often.
5 Ways To Practice Self Care
As a parent, there is a need to be the stability and consistency in the home even while other things may be a little out of control. But what if as a parent you are contributing to this frenzy? The importance of self care needs to be as important as is learning what is needed to stay centered. Here are 5 simple ways to take care of yourself so you can continue taking care of everyone else.
1. Take a day off. This might sound a little odd to ask for a day off from parenting, but seriously do it! Coordinate with your partner to where each of you gets time to spend the day how you would like. Whether it is once a month or once every three months, spend the day making plans for just yourself or don’t make any at all and see where the day takes you. Taking the day off shouldn’t be stressful, it should be a day that helps restore your mind and body. This day is meant to give you the time to recharge, reboot and just feel human again.
2. Carve Out Alone Time. If taking a whole day off sounds too radical for you, then try carving out just “me” time. This could be an hour a day or a small block of time when you can relax and not think about all the things you could accomplish without a mini me shadow in toe. “Me” day does not equal errand day. Take a bath with a glass of wine and book, get in a good workout to get your blood pumping, or even drive to a local park and have a picnic. Turning your parent brain off, sitting in solitude, and understanding the importance of self care is going to make you a new person.
3. Spend Time Outside. Being outdoors and one with nature has been shown to improve your psychological well-being. Breathing in the fresh air, smelling freshly cut grass, hiking through a local park or spending time in your garden can all be ways to enjoy being outdoors. Depending on where you live this might not always be available so find the time when it can be available and soak up that vitamin D, clear blue skies and all that mother nature has to offer. It can feel truly invigorating just to take some time and breathe.
4. Maintain Social Connections. The chaos of parenting doesn’t always leave space for long phone calls with family or friends, happy hours or even just nights away for a quick dinner. This is space you are going to need to create and define when considering the importance of self care needs. Having these connections are what get us through all seasons of life and are extremely important to have and maintain. Scheduling your social connections can give you something to look forward to which is a good self-care strategy in itself and also encompass that much deserved “me” time.
5. Spend Money On Yourself. It is very easy to neglect your basic needs as a parent such as buying new clothes. You might go into the store with great intentions on buying things for you then get side tracked because you remember that Hank needs a farm-themed outfit for school Tuesday. So basically your shopping day just got thrown out of the window. That is totally ok, but then give yourself time and permission to buy that new pair of jeans you have been wanting or heck that sexy black dress to wear out for your next date night. Treat yourself. It is good for your child(ren) to see you value yourself too.
Pouring as much time into your self as you do your child(ren) is not selfish but great self-care. Learning and understanding the importance of self care is only half of the battle. The second half is actually following through with ensuring that your emotional and mental health are in lock step with your physical being. Self-care will give you the time and space you need to help to reset your mind and feel the energy you need to take care of everyone and everything around you. Don’t let taking care of yourself slide because those are the moments you probably need it the most. Cheers to a new way of parenting and taking care of YOU.
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