Tips on how to take care of yourself on a hectic schedule
It is true, parenthood is a full-time role. If we’re not with our children, we’re thinking about them – did we pack extra snacks? Did we book that dental appointment? And although the tasks are fulfilling, we may perhaps tend to overlook the state of our own wellbeing; our children are always our first priorities. It always seems impossible to take a break for ourselves because the fear of being a bad parent and the guilt that follows constantly haunts us. But the truth of the matter is that our children need us at our best, and the ‘best’ takes work.
The most important question we as parents need to ask ourselves is “Are we at our best capacity to provide the right care for our children?” Overworking and stressing could lead our children to adopt that space of energy, which in turn may even make us tense. So, it is important to learn the importance of self-care and allow ourselves to ‘take a break’.
Over the past few years, mums and parents who have experienced anxiety and depression have increased significantly and if you’re a pandemic mum, you may have been in this 70 percent. Worse yet, our lack of wellbeing may impact negatively on our children.
So, let’s take a look at some ways that we can take care of ourselves and take a break from our hectic schedules.
1. Indulge in self-care and prioritize sleep
Generally, every human being needs at least seven to eight hours of sleep and as a parent, these hours are crucial. It is during these hours that we’re able to recharge and reset, both mentally and physically. Good rest always results in a positive mindset and a happy sense of being. If we’re happy, our children are happy.
It is also important to invest in a regular self-care routine. This may be as simple as going for walks or some quiet alone time in the shower. Meditation and exercise are abundantly helpful tactics to letting your body release the tension of a hectic day and a great way to calm down.
2. Always remember to ask for help
When you’re a parent, the to-do lists are long and the tasks are never-ending so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. It’s important to understand your limitations as a parent and your capacity to function. Try to divide the chores of your household amongst the family or ask someone to fill in for you. Remember that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but strength and it only makes you a better parent.
Overtime, the role of parenthood takes over your entire life, from dusk to dawn. And then some days, you may start to feel loneliness creep in. You’re not alone. Interact with other parents and decompress. A good venting session helps to relieve yourself of the weight you carry around. Us parents need to find time to let off some steam and sink into a space that welcomes our worries and concerns.
4. Invest Time in a Hobby
A recreational activity that stimulates your endorphins can help put you in a happier mood. Try taking up a hobby like doing some puzzles, scrap-booking or painting, you can even get the little ones involved! This way, you’re creating a space that is relaxing and fun where there’s room for a little chaos. And if that doesn’t work for you, hobbies are wide and varied. Find something you like and do it regularly or try different activities each time. Either way, take a break for yourself and encourage your own creativity.
5. Eat a Good Meal
If ever there was a time to have a good and healthy meal, it would be on some self-scheduled me-time. Filling and nutritious meals contribute to your mental health by increasing your serotonin and dopamine levels. The act of cooking itself can be a meditative process that can soothe your nerves and help centre you. However, if cleaning up is an additional chore, perhaps indulge in a cost-efficient meal that satisfies your mind, body and soul. Meals such as salmon bowls, brown rice and quinoa salads that lend itself to all nutrient levels are ideal.
Parenting is tough, but that doesn’t mean it has to be heavy on your shoulders. As mums and dads, we must allow ourselves a little tete-a-tete, a little ‘me-time’ to re-centre and refuel. If you’re ever feeling a little lonely in your role or overwhelmed with your tasks, remember you’re never alone. The most important part of being a parent is giving your children the care that they need and your capacity to do so hinges on your wellbeing. Our children mirror our actions and in taking care of ourselves, they too learn the importance of self-care.
So fret not, support is always here!