Contributing to the safety and well-being of children is part of our values and our mission and for this, the well-being and health of parents are also fundamental. With this in mind, together with the fantastic team at Hers’ we’ve compiled this list of 8 self-care strategies for parents that can help you keep stress levels low.
Being a parent is a full-time job, so spare time isn’t something you have a lot of. Your children are your priority, so every minute of the day is dedicated to their care.
By the time you get the kids dressed and ready for school, you’re already running late for work and you barely have time to meet your daily deadlines before it’s time to pick them up and get them home for dinner.
You love your kids and would do anything for them, but you can’t be the best parent you can be without taking a little time for yourself once in a while. Stress paired with mental and physical exhaustion takes its toll. If you don’t take the time to relax and reset, you may end up doing more harm than good!
Your kids deserve to have you at your best, so make time for self-care to keep yourself healthy and well. Here are some self-care strategies for busy parents.
1. Get organized and pencil in time for yourself
Whether you have one child or several, it’s essential to keep things in your household organized. Use dry erase boards or jumbo calendars to keep track of commitments and to-do lists, and don’t forget to pencil in a little time for yourself as often as you can. While you’re at it, give your calendar a once-over and make sure you’re splitting the parenting duties evenly with your partner. You shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden alone!
2. Include physical activity in your daily routine
As parents, we can lose touch with our physical beings and we all know, that is no good! There are so many studies about the harm of a sedentary lifestyle. It’s important to make movement a staple in your daily routine. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it needs to happen. You could do bodyweight squats in your bedroom. You could get a jump rope (side benefit: great exercise for kids with a little too much energy… you know the type!). You can take brisk morning or evening walks. Walks to lunch and bike rides to school count. If you’re with the kids, bring them along and make it a thing. In any case, little daily exercise can go a long way in keeping your body happy (plus it can boost your mood and relieve stress). If you are the type who needs to get “in the zone” for this type of thing, you might even look for a gym that offers childcare services so you can fully focus on your workout. Here’s a list of standard safety criteria the childcare should meet.
3. Take advantage of tools that keep your kids busy
There’s nothing wrong with letting someone else do the work for you from time to time. With apps like KidsBeeTV out there, your kids can enjoy fun, educational videos while you enjoy a few minutes to yourself. Choose from over 4,500 safe and edutainment videos curated just for kids and rest assured that your kids will be learning while you relax. Brew yourself a hot cup of tea or lie back on the couch and close your eyes while the kids enjoy the latest weekly content.
4. Keep a daily journal
If you feel like you’re constantly juggling commitments, keeping a daily journal may be just what you need to give your brain a break. Journaling can be a form of meditation – it’s an opportunity to take a step back from the stress of the day and to focus on your own mental health. Also, if you’re struggling with stress or negativity, consider keeping a gratitude journal where you keep track of the things you have to be thankful for. The simple act of journaling can also help you get negative thoughts or emotions out of your head and you can do it while your kids are napping, eating, or doing school work.
5. Stay connected with friends and family
Who says that self-care has to be a solo activity? Staying connected with friends and family is essential for strong mental health, so create opportunities to maintain positive relationships. If you have friends with kids, set up a playdate and catch up with your friends over coffee while the kids play. You could also join a local moms group or book club to get a little social time away from the kids.
6. Put the kids to bed early
As a parent, you understand the importance of routine. You may already have a nightly routine in place, but you might want to consider working a little time to yourself into that routine. After an active day, put your kids to bed a little early when they’re already tired so you can have a little time to yourself. Soak in a hot bath or settle in with a good book before bedtime. Just 15 to 30 minutes of time to yourself at the end of the day can help you relax and unwind – it may even improve your sleep.
7. Spend time outside each and every day
Generally, spending time outdoors makes you feel alive. When you’re starting to feel cooped up and crazy, grab the kids and head outside for a little fun in the sun. Even on a cool or cloudy day, being outside in nature can boost your mood and relieve stress. Take the kids on a nature walk or pack a picnic and spend the afternoon at the park. There are plenty of simple ways to enjoy time in the great outdoors and it’s just as good for the kids as it is for you.
8. Seek support and get help when you need it
Being a parent is a fulfilling but exhausting job and everyone needs a little support from time to time. When it comes to self-care, sometimes the best thing you can do is give yourself permission to ask for help. There are plenty of resources for online mental health evaluation, some of which are entirely free and don’t require you to go anywhere. Just answer a few questions. Your kids deserve you at your best and you deserve to feel like the happiest and healthiest version of yourself.
Try working some of these self-care strategies for parents into your daily routine to keep yourself and your kids happy and healthy.
There is no more noble calling than becoming a parent but just because it’s noble doesn’t mean it’s easy. When you become a parent, you learn to make sacrifices but it’s important to find the balance between prioritizing your kids and losing yourself.