self care parents

Self-care for Parents

Self-care for Parents

What is Self-care?

Self-care is one of the most important factors of our well-being. Our well-being is in our hands and we are responsible for how we maintain our physical and mental wellness. Self-care means taking care of oneself using tools that help to de-stress us so we are able to cope better with daily stressors of life. As a parent, these stressors are higher in number which is why self-care for parents is highly recommended. Now, there are different types of self-care which are:

  1. Physical– Sleeping, Stretching, Walking, Physical activities, Yoga, and Rest.
  2. Emotional– Stress management, Self-compassion, kindness, and empathy.
  3. Social– Having a strong support system like friends and family members and having regular social gatherings to connect and recharge.
  4. Spiritual– Having some time alone to connect with yourself and giving yourself some space. Meditating or going for a walk outdoors and connecting with nature. Have a sacred space to yourself to recharge.

 

Why is it important?

As parents, we are completely responsible for our children. That responsibility tends to take a toll on our health, both physical and mental. Adding to that are other factors like job, social obligations, personal issues, etc. that can make it even more difficult to pay attention to oneself. When we are busy tending to all these areas of life, it is easy to neglect ourselves and as a result, our health takes a backseat. Usually, this results in burnout. Burnout is a very real and threatening phenomenon where mental and physical health is damaged. To avoid burnout, we must get into the habit of having a self-care routine that involves healthy activities that refresh and nourish us.

Warning signs that you need self-care

  1. Mood Swings
  2. Low immunity
  3. Irritation
  4. Lack of motivation
  5. Feeling low

Tips and Strategies

  1. Have a self-care routine

If you get into the habit of starting your day with a self-care activity that you like, it can be easier to follow it. For example, starting your day with yoga or a morning run will instantly make you feel better. You can even end a day by watching something you like or listening to music to relax.

  1. Schedule me-time

Having a ‘me time’ with your friends or just yourself can be a great way to de-stress and quickly recharge for other things. How you spend your ‘me time’ is totally your choice. It can be a spa day or just watching a movie with friends. There is no guilt here. It is absolutely normal to spend some time peacefully from time to time.

  1. Talk it out

If you are having a rough time, don’t feel ashamed to speak to a friend or a professional.  Venting out your frustrations can really help. Sometimes we just need to be heard and other times, we may get a piece of great advice from fellow parents from their experience. You will not regret sharing your worries and struggles. It will also give you a chance to realize that you are not alone.

  1. Rituals of connection

According to John Gottman, a renowned psychologist, having rituals of connection immensely helps parents to reconnect and keep that spark alive in a relationship. Being parents can be challenging for a married couple in many ways. There is hardly any time to connect as a couple which is why having rituals of connection helps in giving each other opportunities in a day to connect. For example, having the morning tea together, going for walks, and having weekly date nights without children. No, there is nothing wrong with dropping off your kids at their friend’s place and then returning the favor for other parents.

  1. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness can be extremely helpful to manage all stressors and still maintain your sanity. With practice, you can make mindfulness a lifestyle. To begin with, you can join mindfulness groups or classes and see what suits you the best. It is also a good way to introduce mindfulness to your children. Mindfulness is more than just meditation and yoga. It can be incorporated in different ways.

  1. Prioritize self-care

There are always important things to attend and we tend to put our needs aside easily. It is time to stop this habit now. Only if you prioritize self-care, will you be able to have healthy wellbeing. Often, we are conditioned to believe that being a parent means being self-sacrificing but that can be very damaging to you and your children as well. Remember, only if you are happy and content will you be able to look after your children and give them a happy environment. Happy parents make happy kids. You cannot pour from an empty cup.

  1. Be a good role model

Having a self-care routine will also help your children in the long run. Kids look up to their parents. They learn from what they see and it can really benefit their mental health if they learn from their parents about the importance of self-care. You can never start early when it comes to ensuring your family’s well-being.

Conclusion

There are no perfect parents or perfect children. Nobody expects you to do it all. There will be moments when you will feel like you have conquered parenting and there will be moments that will feel like a losing battle. It is okay to feel both. What matters at the end of the day is how happy and healthy you are because that’s how happy and healthy your family will be too. If you are a parent feeling tired and drained, go create a self-care routine right now and feel the difference. Remember, you have got this.

Sayee Deshpande
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