Recently I have been talking a lot about self-care and how important this is for parents. I was so sad to see from a recent poll on my Instagram page that only 22% of you make time for self-care. It can be so hard to prioritise ourselves when we have such a long to-do list. I know my own list seems never-ending, but sometimes I just need to bump that one thing for myself up to the top.
One of the most rewarding part of my job is helping parents find the time to focus on themselves. Prioritizing their own care and well-being in order to care for their children. A bit of relaxation in our lives can help combat chronic stress – if we burn out then how can we care for our children effectively?
Self-care doesn’t mean that you have to have the money (or the childcare!) to go to a spa. It could be incorporating five minutes of meditation into your day, or eating a healthy meal to nourish your body and taking time to really focus on and appreciate that meal.
Taking time out and valuing yourself will help convey that message to others too. Sometimes your partner may be unaware of quite how much you are struggling to juggle everyday life. Self-care can mean learning to communicate your needs to the others around you.
And of course, the number one form of self-care – SLEEP! Most of us need more of it. Most of us spend far too long looking at screens in the evenings, when we should be tucked up in bed. Having a good bedtime ritual will benefit both you and your children. We all need the time to switch off before bed.
When you lay in bed at night try pulling your knees to your chest, give yourself and hug and say ‘I love myself and I deserve to sleep well tonight.’ Be kind to yourself and don’t give in to negative thoughts around your ability as a parent.
My top tips for self-care:
1) Prioritise self-care on your to-do list!
2) Celebrate mistakes that you have made – embrace your journey
3) Ask for help when you need it
4) Spend 5 minutes a day connecting with yourself. A series of deep, slow breaths. Put your hands on your ribcage and feel it expand with each breath.
5) Go to bed earlier!
Please remember – be kind to yourself. Parenthood can be a tough gig. You’ve got this!