What is self care, and how does it impact on being a good parent?
Self-care can mean different things to different people. For some, it can be the basic necessities being met for day to day living, and others it is a form making time for one’s self.
For myself, self-care is about investing in you. This can be done in various ways from curling up and watching Netflix, getting engrossed in your favourite book, having a bubble bath, going for a walk, yoga, a nap, whatever it is that you need.
And once your a parent, self-care becomes so much more vital. I found after having Evan I found myself getting more overwhelmed and exhausted as my days ping-ponged from looking after him, working, cooking, cleaning, etc…and then repeat. I questioned how can I be an amazing parent and embody patience, happiness, enthusiasm when I am constantly running on empty? To take care of your nearest and dearest, I had to start by taking care of myself first.
How to start with this
It is really important to acknowledge that self-care will help you improve your overall well-being.
Self-care didn’t come easy to me and it is something I had to work on to bring into my lifestyle. And, firstly it is was about deciding on what self-care actions I was going to implement.
For myself, I chose to start my blog giving me a creative outlet as well as burning wax melts (you should check out Denise’s Homescents for amazing scents) and candles to create a relaxing environment.
But here are a few other ideas to help you out:
- Writing – this can be blogging, writing short stories – can type of creative writing really.
- Going for a walk.
- Listening to mindfullness podcasts.
- Taking a bath.
- Starting a new book.
- Making time to catch up with friends.
- Taking up a new hobby.
- Creating time to pamper yourself.
Hopefully now you’ve got an idea, let’s start building self-care into a lives.
How to make this possible as a parent
For me, the biggest struggle was fitting it into my daily life and making time. I had to mentally create a plan on how and when I would squeeze this time into to my day and then consciously build it into my routine. Once, manufactured into your every day, like me, you too will then reap the rewards. Energy levels rise, your mood improves and suddenly you feel so much more equipped to handle all the highs, lows and challenges that parenthood brings.
My son is nearly 3 and I am just making self-care a more regular part of my life, so I do know and appreciate just how hard it can be to snag that ‘me’ time. I know how challenging it can be you’ve got a new child and these moments to unwind can be few and far between, but that is why it is so much more important to have and use your support system. It could be your partner, parent, friend – whoever it is, lean on them and utilise their support to etch this time out for yourself. If that isn’t an option you could always look at your day and plan your time in either in the morning or evening when the kids are in bed. Once you’ve managed to make time, self-care seems so much more feasible.
And don’t feel guilty for having this time away from your child! I fell into that trap and forgot that I am a person too. And, like all people, we have basic needs too – just like our children. Remember you cannot give 100% to your children when you’re running at 50% capacity.
Another way to care for yourself is to ‘take a break’ throughout the day. If you were in the office you’d get this time, being at home should be no different. Somewhere throughout my day, I will schedule 10 or so minutes for a cuppa and to ‘switch off’ my mind, maybe read a little or just put my feet up. For myself, I tend to squeeze this in when Evan is usually napping.
Now embrace it
Now that you’ve focused on you, you’ll be feeling more energised and more in control. So, now is the time to embrace that as you throw full self back into your parenthood journey. It won’t matter that parenthood can be a little messy as you’ll be there and completely present for your child.
So by allowing and working on building that ‘me’ time into your routine you should find yourself less prone to having a wandering mind, and more invested within those moment with your child.
Just remember there is no reason to sacrifice self-care. To be the best parent, you need to be the ‘best’ you.