Taking care of children is incredibly rewarding, but it comes with its own challenges. Stress, sleeplessness, fatigue and sometimes illness are the consequence of juggling parenting with other responsibilities. It’s important that every parent spends time attending to their own health and well-being. Because parenting is a full-time job, you need to do what you can to stay energized, rested, and in the right state-of-mind. Self-care is essential for all caregivers.
Many parents/caregivers feel guilty about participating in any activity that’s not related to the care of their loved ones. For others, the desire may exist, but there is little or no time. Your body and mind are the only ones you get, so you need to ensure that you’re taken care of, too!
Here are some tips to squeeze in a few moments of self-care.
When your kid wakes up at the crack of dawn, it’s hard to imagine having any kind of downtime, right?
If you’re not a morning person, you could implement a routine that allows for a few minutes of peace and quiet.
As soon as you wake up, take 5 minutes of Quiet Time. Do not read emails, check text messages, or review your schedule on your smartphone until five minutes of quiet have passed.
On weekends and holidays, try to have a full ten minutes of solitude. It’s important that all family members understand your new personal time rule. Your children will learn patience, and you’ll get a few precious minutes where you don’t have a child crawling up your leg or calling for you.
Another strategy is to download or save three to five “theme songs” that you can play when you need a boost. If you have the chance to be alone (or you aren’t shy), sing the songs out loud!
Once the kids are asleep or at school, you can take little moments of downtime as the night or day goes on. Instead of sweeping while the clothes are in the wash, sit down with a good book or play a quick game on your phone. Top it off with hot cocoa or tea.
Get active! Yoga, meditation, and simply walking are great additions to these routines.
Don’t like exercise? Play that “theme music” and start dancing!
It’s also important that you get enough sleep every night—between 6 and 8 hours. I know that sounds like a lot, but you will feel so much more rested when your little one decides you need to get up at sunrise.
Other stress-relievers include (but are certainly not limited to) a hot bath, a massage, cuddling, sleeping, and spending time with your adult friends.
It’s vital that you make time for yourself—hire a babysitter if you have to. A happy, healthy parent can foster a happy, healthy family.