Parenting is the hardest, yet most rewarding job you’ll ever have. As much as you love your children, parenting can be demanding physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Taking time to refresh
All parents need to take time for themselves–to relax, recharge, and refresh. Don’t feel like you have to be super-mom or super-dad. Admitting that you are tired, need help, or need a break isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s actually a sign of strength. Taking time to refresh may seem selfish to you–you give so much of yourself that taking a break feels odd. But the truth is, the best way parents can care for children is to care for themselves.
The best way to refresh yourself is to become a little self-indulgent. Set aside some time to do something just for yourself. This is a thought process you may not be accustomed to as a parent, but just give it a try. Think about the things you would love to do, but haven’t had time or energy because of parenting responsibilities. Do you love to read but haven’t made the time? Do you love to shop for a new outfit but deny yourself in favor of clothes for the children? Do you miss hanging out with old friends? Would you love to just take a long bubble bath, have a restorative nap, or walk in the park to clear your mind?
Decide on an activity that would give you genuine pleasure, and simply make plans to do it. This could be one day a week, twice a month, or some other arrangement. It will most likely involve arranging for a sitter or relative to care for the children during your “me-time”.
It’s okay to put your needs first once in a while, because if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. Parenting non-stop 24/7 can cause fatigue, irritability, depression, sleep deprivation, and burnout, and these things can give way to more serious problems, both in the areas of physical and mental health, and parenting issues such as neglect or abuse.
Nutrition & Health
Besides taking time for yourself, self-care for parents can also mean being mindful of nutrition and health. What we eat and how we care for our physical well-being often dictates how we feel, how much energy we have, and this can affect how we parent.
Eating a proper diet, getting enough rest, and engaging in some form of physical activity or exercise can help you meet the daily demands of parenting.
Food and nutrition have a direct effect on how we feel throughout the day. If you’re used to eating fast food and sugary/fat-laden snacks, try opting for fresh fruit or protein bars.
If going to a gym or Yoga class seems out of the question or doesn’t fit your budget, try a simple workout at home by dancing or running in place to music, following along with a Yoga teacher on YouTube, or just walking around the block.
The Importance of Coaching & Guidance
One of the hardest things for a parent to do is admit they need help, or ask for it. Let’s face it. Parenting doesn’t come with an automatic how-to manual, and no parent knows everything there is to know about parenting, so it’s okay to reach out for professional coaching and guidance. It can help make parenting a lot easier, and it’s nice to know that parenting doesn’t have to be a private struggle. Parents are in this together, and by reaching out for help, by realizing that no parent is perfect, we help one another.
If you could use some help finding ways to refresh, learning more about nutrition and health, or would like to receive professional coaching and guidance on your journey toward better self-care, Circle4Parents offers a parenting session-Self Care, Mindful Mama, Dietary Behavioral Health.