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  • Writer's picturePaula Robertson

The essential guide to self care for parents

The importance of nurturing yourself so you can nurture others.

Parenthood is a beautiful and rewarding journey, but it can at times be overwhelming and exhausting. As parents, we can prioritize the needs of our children above our own, unintentionally neglecting our own well-being. However, taking care of ourselves is not selfish—it is an essential part of being a good parent. Just like the safety briefing on an airplane advises putting on your oxygen mask first before helping others, practicing self-care allows us to recharge, rejuvenate, and ultimately become better caregivers for our children.


In this article, we will explore the importance of self-care for parents and provide practical tips and recommendations to help you incorporate self-care into your daily routine.


Understanding the Importance of Self-Care:

There are many reasons why self-care is so important; I have listed a few below:


Enhancing Physical and Mental Health: Prioritizing self-care improves your overall well-being, boosting your energy levels, reducing stress, and preventing burnout.

Positive Parenting: When you are well-rested, emotionally balanced, and fulfilled, you are better equipped to handle the challenges of parenting, fostering a loving and supportive environment for your children.


Modeling Healthy Behavior: By practicing self-care, you set an excellent example for your children, teaching them the importance of self-love, boundaries, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle.



Practical Tips for Incorporating Self-Care: So how do you actually practise self-care, especially when you're pressed for time? Here re some practical tips:


Schedule Time for Yourself: Carve out dedicated periods in your calendar for self-care activities, treating them as non-negotiable appointments. These can be as short as five minutes - mom's morning coffee time or afternoon walk, for example.


Seek Support: Build a network of trusted friends, family members, or support groups who can offer assistance or share parenting responsibilities when needed.


Prioritize Sleep: Lack of sleep can negatively impact your mood, cognitive abilities, and overall health. Establish a consistent sleep routine and create a soothing bedtime ritual.


Regular Physical Activity: Regular exercise not only improves your physical health but also releases endorphins that boost your mood and reduce stress. Find activities you enjoy and make them a part of your routine.


Nourish Your Body: Make healthy food choices, stay hydrated, and be mindful of your nutritional needs. Meal planning and preparation can help you maintain a balanced diet, even during busy times.


Practice Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Incorporate activities like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga into your daily routine to calm your mind, reduce anxiety, and improve focus.


Pursue Hobbies and Interests: Carve out time for activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, whether it's reading, painting, gardening, or playing an instrument. Engaging in hobbies helps you reconnect with yourself and find inner peace.


Set Boundaries and Learn when to Say No: Learn to recognize and respect your limits. Say no to additional commitments when you are feeling overwhelmed, and don't hesitate to delegate tasks to others.


Embrace "Me" Time: Take short breaks during the day to recharge. Whether it's a relaxing bath, a walk in nature, or simply enjoying a cup of tea, these small moments of self-care can make a big difference.



Overcoming Common Barriers. Great, so you've decided to start a self-care program, but life happens! How can you overcome some of the common obstacles and barriers that can get in your way?


Guilt: Many parents struggle with guilt when prioritizing their own needs. Remember that self-care benefits not only you but also your children. A happier, healthier parent creates a nurturing environment for them.


Time Constraints: Parenting can be time-consuming, but self-care doesn't have to be elaborate or time-intensive. Focus on incorporating small, meaningful activities into your daily routine.


Financial Considerations: Self-care doesn't have to be expensive. Look for cost-effective alternatives such as DIY spa treatments, free community classes, or utilizing local resources.


Making self-care a priority is essential for parents. By taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, you become a better parent, partner, and individual. Remember that self-care is not a luxury but a necessity. Implementing practical tips such as scheduling time for yourself, seeking support, and embracing activities that bring you joy will help you navigate the beautiful and challenging journey of parenthood with renewed energy and a greater sense of fulfillment.


So, go ahead, nurture yourself, and watch as your self-care ripples positively into every aspect of your life.


Be well,

Paula



Dr Paula Robertson is a busy mom and a paediatrician with over twenty years' experience working with young people and their families. She is also a certified children's mindfulness teacher and Positive Discipline Parenting coach. You can find out more at www.paulathedoctormom.com.

Our AI wellness assistant has contributed to the writing of this article.

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