It has been a long year and you deserve some rest! Here are some self-care tips for busy parents.
The moment you become a parent, your focus turns to taking care of your new bundle of joy. And as your child grows from an infant to a toddler and beyond, you might find it’s tough to return your attention to taking care of yourself.
However, a lack of self-care can lead to undesirable consequences.
You are more likely to feel stressed out and overwhelmed when you are not caring for yourself, and this makes it tougher to be an empathetic and patient parent.
While there are many different self-care strategies for parents, it’s important to experiment with them to discover which strategies work best for you.
A quick 5 minute meditation can help you feel rejuvenated. If you are new to meditation, guided meditation might be a good option. There are many apps, websites, and audio files that can walk you through the steps of meditation.
There are also many breathing exercises that can help reduce your stress in just a couple of minutes as well, so that you can practice these even when you’re short on time. Even though they’re quick, a few deep cleansing breaths can do wonders for calming your mind and your body.
You might even decide to get your child involved in meditation. It’s a great lifelong skill that can benefit both of you.
2. Spend Time in Nature
Studies have found that spending time in nature can be good for your psychological well being. A walk, getting some fresh air or tending a garden could actually help you feel rested. In addition Researchers discovered that patients residing in hospital spaces with a window that overlooked green spaces healed faster than patients who weren’t able to look outside.
3. Listen to Music
Whether you find classical music soothing or you prefer to dance to some old school tunes, listening to music can be a great way to take care of yourself. Make it part of your daily routine.
4. Join Book Club
Joining a book club that meets regularly will help you have positive social interactions. You may choose to host a book club or find one in your community.
5. Go for a Walk
Exercise is good for your mind as it is for your body. Though you might not always feel like you have time to hit the gym or to engage in an intense workout, fortunately, a brisk walk can be an excellent self-care strategy.
Whether you’re pushing a stroller or you’re walking by yourself, get your body moving for 20 minutes. A little extra activity helps you feel energized for the day.
6. Write in a Gratitude Journal
It has been proven that people who keep gratitude journals sleep longer and experience higher quality sleep. The best part is, writing in a gratitude journal only takes a few minutes of your time and it doesn’t cost you any money.
Before you go to sleep, jot down three things you’re thankful for. Your list might include simple things; like a sunny day, or it may include big things, like being able to get a debt paid off. Either way, simply reminding yourself of the things you have to be grateful for can help you feel good about life.
7. Engage Your Senses
It is very hard to be in the moment when life is busy. Engaging your senses is a good way to relax and find a sense of inner peace. Light a scented candle, take a hot bath, listen to soothing sounds, or drink some herbal tea.
Engaging one or more of your senses can be a simple but effective way to take a time out from the hustle and bustle.
8. Create Time to Be Alone
Some parents find the only opportunity for solitude seems to be in the restroom. It’s important to give yourself a few minutes of alone time aside from bathroom breaks.
Even if it’s just five minutes each day that you set aside to relax by yourself, a little solitude can help you unwind. Give yourself permission to charge your batteries with a little alone time.
9. Schedule Time With Friends or Family
Maintaining your social connections is an integral part of self-care. However, it can be difficult to find time to see friends and family without the kids.
Try to schedule a future social activity for yourself, it gives you something to look forward to. This can be a good self-care strategy in itself. Furthermore, actually engaging in social activity will give a boost to your psychological well-being.
10. Check the To-Do List
Checking something off your to-do list that has been bothering you can free up a lot of mental energy. Whether it’s scheduling an appointment for yourself or finally cleaning that messy cabinet, consider doing something on your to-do list that will give you a feeling of accomplishment.
You might decide to choose one task each day to tackle outside of your normal duties.
11. Turn Your Bedroom Into a Heaven
If your bedroom is filled with piles of clothes and clutter, you may feel more stress when you enter it.
A good way to take care of yourself is to turn your bedroom into a retreat that you look forward to entering. Declutter your space, buy comfortable sheets, and do a little redecorating. A cozy chair to read a good book in or a decluttered closet may help you to feel more relaxed.
12. Spend Money on Yourself
You might find it’s easy to spend money on your kids while neglecting yourself a bit. However, it’s important to show your kids that you value yourself, too. Give yourself permission to spend a little time and money on yourself.
Just buying yourself a new dress or paying to get a haircut can make you feel good about yourself.
13. Take a Break From Electronics
Scrolling through social media, surfing the internet, and binge-watching TV might seem like a good way to relax. On the contrary, those activities can sometimes cause more stress than they relieve.
A digital detox might help you reset some of your habits and it could also be good for your kids.
14. Savor Something
If you feel like you’re in a rush all the time, then there’s a good chance you don’t ever really get to savor anything.
Commit to savoring something and make it a daily habit. Whether you want to savor your first cup of coffee or you decide to savor those moments when you’re snuggling with your child, practice being in the moment.
15. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness programs or simply a daily mindfulness practice can help you become more present. This is key to fully savoring what’s going on right now. Rather than replay something in your mind that happened yesterday or worry about what might happen later today, savoring the moment will help you enjoy what’s right in front of you now.
It is very important to integrate regular self-care strategies into your routine.
Keep in mind that the times you think you don’t have to take care of yourself are likely the times when you need to practice self-care the most.
If you are experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety or you think you may be depressed, talk to your physician. You may benefit from getting a referral to a professional.