Who has time for self-care as a parent?
It’s a fair question and one that many parents probably have, but spending time to take care of yourself puts you in a better position to take care of your children.
How can you set an example for your children on how to achieve balance as an adult if you can’t do it yourself?
Ahead, we’ll take a look at five self-care tips for parents that can improve your life and help you avoid the feeling of burnout so many parents experience.
1. Schedule Some “Me” Time
This is one of the self-care tips for parents that might elicit the reaction, ‘Easier said than done.’
Between taking care of your kids and going to work, scheduling time for yourself is almost impossible. Still, it’s an important step to take if you don’t want to be a frazzled mess on a weekly basis.
‘Me’ time can be anything from watching a corny TV show after your kids are in bed to going for an hour walk down the road. It’s something that you do for yourself, not for someone else.
Start by attempting to schedule half an hour of ‘me’ time every day, even early in the morning or late at night. Be firm with yourself, and don’t put it off in favour of something else.
2. Look Forward to Something
Always keep something in your mind that you’re looking forward to. This practice can make mundane and frustrating easier to bear, because you know something good is coming.
The daily grind of waking up, caring for the kids, working, making dinner, and going to sleep—just to repeat it all the next day—can be draining. Inject some fun into the equation by scheduling events, get-togethers, or holidays that you can look forward to.
3. Start a Journal
Journaling is one of the most common self-care tips for parents—or anyone, really—that we can recommend. Journaling helps you process, cope, vent, and even remember positive moments.
Journal entries are just you and your mind. You won’t have to worry about the judgement of others for your opinions, thoughts, and internal conflicts.
So many of us walk around with jumbled thoughts free-flowing in our brains. Sitting down to write a journal entry—no matter how brief—forces us to organise our thoughts into words and structure.
Several authors, including Stephen King and Daniel J. Boorstin, have voiced similar sentiments about writing. They each offer a similar version of the idea, ‘I write to find out what I think.’
This statement holds true for many reasons, and writing in a journal can help you cope with some of the frustrations parents face on a daily basis.
4. Begin Meditating
Meditation, like journaling, can improve the lives of anyone who tries it. Meditation brings order to your mind and teaches you internal discipline that you may have never considered possible.
Not only does meditation relieve stress at the moment, but it also teaches you how to clear your head when frustrations become too much to handle. Quiet the noise and restore order with a daily meditation.
Sitting still with a blank mind for ten minutes at a time might seem easy if you haven’t tried it. Once you do, you may look at the clock after three minutes and feel like time is creeping by. Meditating is harder than it sounds, but the benefits are well documented.
After meditating consistently, you may begin to realise that you are in control of your mind—not the other way around.
You’re training your mind like you would train a dog. You wouldn’t let a dog go to the bathroom wherever he wants, so why let your mind run uncontrolled and untethered, affecting your emotional state? Mediating can help.
5. Stay Off of Social Media
Social media can be very detrimental to your mental health. Consider how much time you waste on social media, watching videos you don’t really care about or viewing the lives of those who seem to have it better than you do.
Everyone knows that people put on their best face for social media, but viewing the perfect lives of others can still be a mental drain. You might look at parents who seem like they’re having an easier time than you or a couple with no kids taking a holiday in the middle of the school year.
If seeing these posts makes you feel bad, then why view them? Cut down on your social media time, using it mindfully to eliminate aimless scrolling.
There are good things to be said about social media. You can access support groups and useful information, so we aren’t asking you to give it up entirely. Start by trying to limit your usage to once or twice a day and see how it goes.
Self-care doesn’t come easy, especially if you haven’t done it for a while. As you start following these self-care tips for parents, pay attention to how it makes you feel. Stick with what works and change what doesn’t, and hopefully you’ll notice yourself feeling calmer and less stressed.