Self-Care Tips for Parents
Self-love to me is taking care of yourself first by soothing yourself in ways that fill your cup then show up.
First, I want to invite you to take a few deep breaths, in and out. And acknowledge how amazing you are. Just as you are. Give yourself a hug and tell yourself how proud you are of all the things you do, and more importantly, of who you are as a person. I’ll give you a minute to do this exercise.
Now lets begin…
Is this a common phrase you find yourself saying out loud or in your head? “My kids are driving me crazy!” When you do find yourself saying that, ask yourself...
“Have I taken care of ME today?
How am I feeling?
Have I given myself TLC?
Did I tend to my needs yet? “
What can happen is we get so focused on other people’s needs, we forget about our own. I used to be a major people pleaser and people focuser (I believe I just made that last one up)!
It was even to the point that while I was “trying” to take a nice relaxing bath I was thinking about that thing my family member was going through. So after realizing that I had to bring the focus back to myself, and remember It’s me-time! Not me and everyone else in the bathtub with me. This is a practice I had to adopt.
Self-care isn’t all about facials, manicures, and massages, not to say that those don’t fall under that category, but it can be as simple as stopping and drinking a big glass of water. And reminding yourself that you are a person too who has needs. It’s all about the awareness that you are fulfilling YOUR needs. That’s self-care. If we are unconscious about it, then it can become a mundane task. The awareness is key. Bringing the focus back on yourself is not selfish. Society makes us believe being selfish is a bad thing, it’s SO NOT a bad thing. Quite the contrary. It’s the best gift you can give yourself.
I realized the common denominator to all self-care exercises like energy healing, yoga, massages, and meditation, make us feel good, why? You want to know the secret? because YOU are focusing on YOU.
Now let me tell you how key this is in having harmonious interactions with your children.
This happens when you focus on your needs, which are the most important. Now this might be hard to hear, and it was for me at first. I believe it’s because social conditioning ingrained that idea ‘put other people's needs above your own.’ Let me remind you of the plane scenario; they say to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you can help anyone else. Same goes for day to day life, If you aren’t 100% then the people around you i.e your kids and family, won’t be either. And I don’t mean you are responsible for their mood. No, you are just tapping into their good mood, when you are in a good mood.
Can you recall any days you were having the best day ever and your kids were just angels? There is a reason why, it’s most likeyl because you tended to YOU first and your kids just followed. Your kids are only reflecting back how you are truly feeling inside.
I’ve observed over 100 families and have noticed a common theme, this is what I hear most parents say about self-care…”I don’t have the time for self-care." Or “My kids take up all my time.” I know you can be consumed by being a mother or father and giving outwardly, I totally understand. But there will always be a moment even if it’s just 10 minutes, that you will have to yourself everyday. If you care for yourself enough, you’ll always find the time. Whether that be in the car. Or the time we mindlessly are scrolling on FB or Instagram. And focusing on other people’s lives when the most important one is right there with you - yourself. I know we all do it. It’s about being mindful of those moments and instead of scrolling, I invite you to stop for a minute and breathe. Maybe take a moment to appreciate yourself and all that you are. I often turn my radio off in the car when I have been in the hustle and bustle and need the silence, just to hear myself and be with myself.
Here are a couple of simple tips that have helped me to begin to self-care
1. Something I did that worked magic was I started setting reminders on my phone for self-care throughout the day. Even if it’s just a reminder “I matter too.” Or “take 5 deep breaths.”
2. When you say no to something you are saying yes to yourself.
When your cup is filled, oh the world just seems so much brighter doesn’t it? There is so much power in saying no to the things that drain your energy and that don’t serve you. Ask yourself what in my life is not serving me? Is it something you signed up for at your kids school and now you are over it? Do people ask you to do things and you really want to say no but you say yes. This is all self-care. And when there are certain things that are ‘have to do’s” what can happen is when that task comes around again and your cup is filled you won’t resent it you might actually enjoy it, or find ways to make it enjoyable.
3. Tuning into your 5 senses...Taste your coffee in the morning like it’s the first time you’ve ever had a great cup of coffee. Really feel your skin when you put on lotion. Stop and literally smell the roses. I do this often. Or pause and enjoy a sunset. stimulating all 5 senses will bring you back to yourself.
4. Write out all the things you did that day that you appreciate about yourself and then read them back. The most rewarding feeling is being proud of and appreciating yourself.
When you have these self-care tools in your back pocket, it’s a win win for everyone around you. When that emotion is bubbling up because your child did this or spouse did that, I invite you to say, wait a minute I have a tool I can go and do to make me feel better in this situation. And the wonderful thing about this is your kids might even be curious to know how you are calming yourself down. They will see how you are handing a stressful situation, and will learn what to do when they feel stressed.
Do what you can to get yourself in your happy place, so you can have more harmonious interactions with your kids. It always starts with you first.