Self-Care Strategies For Parents
Parenting is a journey filled with ups and downs. In the ups, we feel utterly connected to our kids and in this emotional state of security. During the downs, we find ourselves struggling to understand our child.
Below are strategies to help parents practice self-care:
1. Go walking.
If possible, find the space to walk 3 to 5 times per week for about 30 minutes. Walking helps to improve cardiovascular health while also giving you space to connect with your mind and body. As a parent, you may find yourself completely consumed with your child. Going for walks gives you space to connect with yourself.
2. Develop healthy boundaries
When you think about boundaries consider looking at it as your home. Your home represents you. Having healthy boundaries means that you allow into your home what serves you and close the door to what harms you. A common boundary is that of taking time off from work or building a healthy balance between work and life.
Having healthy boundaries aligns with your identity. While unhealthy boundaries highlight that you are disconnected from your identity. When you reflect on your identity it can feel like a big concept or topic. Let’s break it down to make it easy to understand.
Identity connects to:
- Mission in life.
- Wellness both physical and mental.
- Spiritual stability.
- Support system.
Take time to write the answers to the questions below. As you write your answer, try to be honest and genuine.
After you have written your answers take time to reflect on what life would be like if someone hurt that area of your life. Or attempted to remove you from that area of life.
For instance, if you wrote down the following as one of your values:
Value = exercising.
Words that highlight the value include Living a life connected to physical exercise because when I exercise I feel alive, fit, and like I am taking care of my life.” Now, let’s consider that you have someone in your life that is trying to remove this value from you. Over time they tell you to stop exercising, to stop going on walks, they pressure you to remove this value from your life using ridicule and shame.
3. Lean on a support person.
Parenting can be challenging and require an endless amount of energy. It is an unpaid job that requires 24/7 on call commitment. Take time to reach out to your support system. It is okay to ask for help. It is okay to reach out to a babysitter or have a peer watch the kids while you go out. Your kids need to see you smiling and enjoying life. This sets a beautiful example for them as they grow and mature.
4. Be your own best friend.
Self-compassion is not self-pleasure, it is not avoiding the issue or feeling, or putting the challenge at hand under the rug. One of the key reasons that people struggle with the application of self-compassion is because they may feel that by not attacking themselves, they are getting away with whatever may have taken place.
As a parent take time to give yourself the generous gift of self-compassion by being your best friend. You can do this by not beating yourself up. By not attacking yourself for the difficult moments in life.
5. Practice Affirmations.
Affirmations are words that we use to improve mood and thought process. As a parent, take time to practice affirmations daily. This simple practice can create transformational growth in your life.
Common positive affirmations to practice:
- I believe in myself as a parent.
- I am growing and learning in parenthood.
- I am showing up for my child.
- I am proud of myself for the parent that I am.
- I love my child as they are.
6. Practice yoga
When I hear from parents, the conversation often connects to having too many items on the to-do-list that focus on the responsibilities found in parenthood. The day starts early and ends late. One self-care practice that can support with reducing stress and building a healthy level of wellness is yoga.
Benefits of practicing yoga include:
- Reduction in stress.
- Improvement in pain, such as back or neck pain.
- Understanding and managing pain.
- Ability to connect to a community. Such as joining a yoga club in your area or online as a way to connect with a supportive community.
- Improvement in circulation.
- Reduction in risk to injury.
- Improvement in muscle tone, strength, and flexibility.
7. Surround yourself with positive people.
When was the last time that you did an inventory of your inner circle?
The people that we spend time with directly impact our level of wellness. Consider exploring if you are building relationships with red or green flags. Green flags focus on positives, while red flags are negatives. When building relationships, it is important to know the difference between green and red flags so that you are surrounding yourself with more positives versus negatives. Use guidance as a form of knowledge when it comes to building and improving relationships.
The greed and red flags are pertinent to all relationships, not just intimate relationships. Developing green flags is a beautiful and transformational way to ensure that you are in a healthy relationship.
Common green flags:
- Respectful of boundaries.
- Respectful of individuality.
- Adheres to boundaries.
- Supports you in life.
- Able to experience growth.
- Able to experience laugher.
- Space to express feeling.
- Validates you.
- Commitment to meet each other’s emotional needs.
- Sees you.
- Acknowledges you.
- Willing to work on the relationship.
- Willing to be accountable.
- Willing to be vulnerable.
8. Ask for professional help.
Working with a counselor goes a long way. You have access to a nonbiased and nonjudgmental professional who is able to support you to building the life that you desire. Reach out to our team of counselors to get started with counseling or email [email protected]. Working with a counselor can help in the following ways:
- Give you space to address emotional challenges.
- Develop self-esteem.
- Improve self-condolence.
- Nurture deep healing.
- Develop coping skills.
- Foster empowerment and authenticity.
- Develop healthy relationships and social circles.
- Identify personal areas to heal.
- Access to other resources. Counselors can help by providing education on resources such as supportive housing, food, and employment.