As soon as you become a parent, you are responsible for the life of another. At this moment, though, you might find yourself forgetting something — or someone. You need to care just as much for yourself as you do for your little one.
Of course, many parents don’t maintain their self-care once a child comes into the picture. This tendency is especially true of those who work and raise children. Considering that most Americans work 40 hours weekly, you can’t forgo this time to rest and recharge.
You might also worry that someone in your life doesn’t take enough time for themselves, either. Regardless of who’s reading…
Here’s how to encourage self-care in parents — even if that parent is you.
Attend and Regularly Schedule Doctor’s Appointments
You do not care for yourself if you neglect your health. Make sure you or your overworked loved one attend regular dentist and doctor appointments. If you don’t have these checkups on the books, schedule them as necessary to make sure your health is in order. At the end of the day, you can’t care for your loved ones if you aren’t well. Attending doctor’s appointments helps keep you at your best to wear all your hats – employee, parent and happy adult.
Remember What You Used to Enjoy
It’s easy for parenthood to take over your life — little ones can be demanding, to say the least. As such, you may have let some of your favorite hobbies fade from your weekly schedule. What were they? Write down 5 to 10 activities you enjoyed pre-parenthood. Then, hang that list on your refrigerator or tack it to your desk. Looking at it every day will give you inspiration for your self-care routine.
Involve the Kids
It’s possible to combine your self-care with child care, if you’re in a pinch for time. Play is vital for your children, of course. It helps them hone their social, physical and emotional skills. Jump in, let loose and play along next time you have free time with your kiddos. You might find yourself breaking a sweat while you play tag, hide-and-go-seek or even movement-centric video games. Plus, you will connect and make memories with your children. A good laugh or bright smile can seriously boost your mood, and that’s what self-care is all about.
Streamline Your Routines
A morning beauty routine or workout regimen will get left in the dust when you’re busy. If your routines prove too long, learn to trim them down. That way, you can have the best of both worlds —a few minutes to yourself and a few to dedicate to those around you.
It’s not as tough as it may seem, either.For instance, you can cut down on your daily beauty routine by choosing products that do more than one job. Spritz your hair with dry shampoo instead of washing and drying it every day. Little steps can make a huge difference, and keeping up with your routine will make you feel even better.
Sweat It out Smartly
Dedicating a chunk of time to working out might be daunting if you feel overwhelmed by work and home life responsibilities. If this is the case, use the time to multitask. Perhaps you can sift through emails while you warm up, or use the time to think through the day ahead or what has already happened. You’ll be surprised at the clear thinking you can do while you exercise. You’ll feel great after sweating it out, too.
Put It on the Calendar
No matter what you consider to be self-care, make it a priority in your weekly calendar. When you write down work meetings or conference calls, you block out and dedicate that time to the task at hand. You should do the same with your self-care sessions. Jot down when you want to work out, meditate or write in your journal. Then, when that time comes around, respect the promise you’ve made to yourself. Take the time for you — you have nothing else scheduled during that block, after all.
Revel in Family Time
We touched on this before, but your family can be a source of self-care if you do it the right way. Aside from getting moving with your kids, be sure that you’re present with them, too. Put down your phone —and all of the stress and distractions it can bring. Instead, enjoy after-work time with your family and partake in the activities they enjoy. You’ll probably find yourself feeling calmer by the time everyone’s in bed.
Then, finish off the day with a gratitude journal. Write down the good things that happened to help you regain perspective on the life you’re lucky to lead. Chances are, a few of those happy moments will come from your interactions with your loved ones. Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about.
8. Make Time for You
Self-care should be a part of your daily life as a parent and professional. You’ll feel happy and present in your life so you won’t miss a moment of the good times.
Jennifer Landis is the founder of Mindfulness Mama, a blog where she talks all things #momlife, marriage, mindfulness, and everything in between. A thirty-something mom of two, Jennifer spends her limited free time practicing yoga and pilates, sipping tea, and reading with her littles. You can find more from Jennifer on Twitter, @JenniferELandis.
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