Parent’s Self Care: 3 important tools
So we understand the message, parents’ self-care is essential! Although, research shows that lower rates of self-care are reported by parents who experience time pressure. Parents deserve to feel healthy and thriving. The only problem is, taking care of everyone’s needs, running errands, and keeping up with all of the commitments we have. How do parents self-care when they have no time?
As a parent of two children, and with very limited help, I’ve had to learn how to incorporate self-care into my life. We of course want to be everything our children need, while also feeling happy and fulfilled. So here are some essential tools for parents’ self-care.
Firstly, Identify what it is that connects you to yourself.
What did you enjoy before you had children? You can think about: What makes you laugh? What sparks your interest? What lights up your soul? Do you love to write? Play an instrument? The things that we love to do in our own time, make us feel like ourselves. We need to do them little and regularly to stay connected to who we are and to what ignites our energy.
For example, I have a large board in my home to which I regularly stick notes and pictures (like a cake recipe I really want to try, or some of my favorite inspirational quotes). This keeps me feeling connected to myself and looking forward to those alone moments which come so rarely. It can be hard to reconnect with ourselves after having children but with practice it is achievable and makes you feel so much better.
Secondly, become aware of your body’s signals
A lot of the time we go into autopilot and react in subconscious ways. We become too used to ignoring our bodily sensations because of our demanding lives. When we take a moment and notice our breathing, notice our stress levels, we can implement techniques before we erupt!
For example, it’s okay to feel yourself getting overstimulated and take a moment to go and breathe in some fresh air. When we notice our emotions, then we can focus on regulating ourselves before we carry on in parent mode. And what’s great about this is that it models emotional regulation to our children. We help them with their big emotions all day, so it is important we give ourselves the same grace. The way you feel is always valid, so instead of reacting, give yourself compassion.
And lastly, boundaries, boundaries, boundaries!
I want to shout this one from the top of a tall building. Because I feel like so many of us parents feel like we’re not entitled to them. We need to identify what our boundaries are. What do we want to share and what do we want to keep private? we are fully entitled to let people know kindly what we are and are not okay with. Boundaries help us feel worthy, prevent burnout, and they also let everyone around us know that we respect ourselves.
For example, when my daughter was born, I wanted the first couple of nights alone with no visitors so we could settle and heal, so I made this respectfully known. I wasn’t so good at this when my son was born though, I either said yes when I meant no, or I ignored people which completely..oops..confused everyone. Setting boundaries can feel uncomfortable if you’re not used to it. Boundaries need to be normalised so that they will stop being seen as “rude” so let go of the guilt which doesn’t belong to you and preserve all of your precious energy for what matters. It’s also important to identify our boundaries with our children and to stay as consistent as possible with them. And as a bonus, our children will be learning how to set boundaries by watching us.
What helps you take care of yourself as a parent? head over to the forum to share your ideas, gain support or connect with like-minded others! see you soon 🙂