As a busy parent caring for one or more little ones, you may sometimes feel like there’s no time or energy left to take care of yourself. This can be especially prevalent if you’re the main caretaker or a single parent. But no matter how much you have on your plate, putting yourself last will often hurt you in the long run, not help you. Just like you’d probably tell a trusted friend, you need to take care of yourself in order to show up properly for those who rely on you fully. And in order to do that, you need a regular practice of self care.
Self care looks different to every person and every parent, so naturally, you probably have somewhat of an idea of the ways you like to care for yourself. However, if you’re in the market to try something new or you want to be a bit more intentional about your practice of parenting self care, here are a few ideas of how you can start paying a bit more mind to your needs.
1. Move Your Body
Exercise is a great way to care for yourself regularly. It releases endorphins that make you feel happier and more energized, and it can take whatever form makes you most satisfied. Try out some yoga, or go for a walk. Carve out hour-long workouts or squeeze in twenty minutes of cardio before you run to pick the kids up from soccer practice. Exercise is a great form of self care because it can keep you physically busy in order to demonstrate your me-time in action, whether you disappear to workout outside or simply pop your headphones on and blast your favorite tunes.
2. Do Literally Nothing
Sometimes, self care isn’t about doing more things — in fact, it can be just the opposite. As a parent, you have a lot on your plate, and allowing yourself the rest and relaxation you truly need can feel revolutionary at times. Take a nap, lounge around, watch your favorite show, turn in early or find whatever way you prefer to take it easy. Sometimes, you just need to do literally nothing and give yourself a break. If your energy is low, it could help you recharge.
3. Enhance Your Internal Life
Sometimes, you need time to be a grown-up and focus on your internal life, whatever that looks like to you. Quiet time to reflect and think about who you are, how you feel about the world and time to be your own independent self often comes in the form of yoga, meditation, spiritual practices or even conversations with friend groups and mentors. Sometimes it’s all about taking a walk in nature. Being a parent doesn’t mean you have to give up your internal life or your sense of self. It makes you who you are, and you need to nurture that.
4. Delegate Chores
Whether you do all the chores around your house or you’ve already got an even split going, sometimes delegating chores that you dislike or that feel like too much on any given day can provide you with the emotional space to continue being an amazing parent day in and day out. Especially if you have older children or a spouse who tends not to do a lot around the house, dishing out a few of your tasks onto the other members of your family can create a bit more balance in your lives.
Speaking of your internal connection, journaling can be a fantastic way to practice self care by exploring your thoughts, feelings and internal life in writing. You don’t have to be a writer to journal, and you don’t even have to journal every single day. Whether you work with prompts to get you started, start a gratitude journal or simply write a few sentences about your day, journaling is a great opportunity to connect with yourself and give your mind a chance to really be with itself. You can even try out more unconventional formats like bullet journaling.
6. Yes, Treat Yourself
While self care isn’t always about getting yourself that latte or taking a bubble bath, sometimes parents don’t think they deserve to indulge in the things that bring them joy. If that sounds like you, challenge yourself by doing something nice for yourself. It can truly be anything — from picking up your favorite snack to getting an occasional manicure. It’s a treat, and you deserve it, which is the entire point.
Parenting and Self Care
Self care is important no matter who you are, but especially if you’re a parent. While self care can look different in everyone’s life, finding what works for you and nurturing it ensures that you show up for your job as a parent fully charged.