The just-finished year of 2020 was a hard one for everybody, and we are probably all waving it goodbye with a sigh of relief. Some of the things that made 2020 so hard, like COVID-19, are still with us, however, and the effects are likely to remain with us for a while yet. We are hearing a lot about things like “quarantine fatigue” and parents feeling burnt out from the challenges of helping their kids with remote learning or just keeping younger kids busy at home. We have a secret weapon that can to help you to insulate yourself against these things: SELF-CARE.
Self-care is really important for our ability to handle life’s challenges and your physical and mental health. It is NOT selfish. You can’t care take the best care of others unless you are taking good care of yourself. Self-care doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive, what’s important is finding things we enjoy that fit into our daily routine consistently. It is important to prioritize self-care so it doesn’t get lost in all of the other responsibilities of parenting and day-today living.
Here are our secrets for setting up and sticking with a self-care routine:
- Focus on the benefits of self-care.
Busy schedules can make it hard to find time for self-care and when we do find the time, it can feel like there are other things we “should” be doing. Talk yourself through those feelings by reminding yourself why self-care is important. When you take care of yourself, you have more patience and more energy to take care of your kids. Another benefit to practicing self-care is you are modeling this life-long skill for your child. By practicing self-care you are teaching your kids its importance and showing them how to take time for themselves. Check out this blog Self-Care Teaches Kids a Valuable Lesson for more on how practicing self-care as a parent benefits kids.
- Schedule self-care into your daily routine.
Scheduling your self-care time can help make it easier to stick with your self-care activities. Think about your daily routine. When are the easiest times for you to do self-care? Decide whether you have more time in the mornings or the evenings. Pick days of the week that work better than others. “Easy” times for self-care can be spots of “dead time” in your schedule- like times when you’re waiting or on your way somewhere. Those could be times when you can listen to your favorite podcast, or song, or read a few pages of a book or magazine.
- Make self-care a habit.
We get the best effects out of self-care when it’s consistent and a part of our everyday routine. Incorporating self-care consistently into our schedules helps us make habits out of those activities, which makes them easier to stick with over time. Check out this blog Taking Care of Yourself So You Can Take Care Of The Kids for more on making self-care a habit. You can also have your older kids help you to remember to take time for self-care (and do some great modeling). Or ask a friend to help and you can support them in their self-care, too.
- Choose your self-care activities ahead of time.
At the start of each week think about some self-care activities you would like to do for that week and which ones you would like to do each day. When thinking about activities ask yourself things like:
- What have I been wanting to do more of?
- What activities help me feel recharged?
- What activities do I look forward to each week?
- What does my ideal day look like?
- Think about short, simple self-care activities.
Self-care doesn’t have to mean long bubble baths or long trips out of the house (although those are good activities, too). Think about simple activities that you can easily fit into your daily routine. For example, maybe you know you have a little bit of time alone in the morning for coffee, or 10 minutes in the afternoon when you can take a walk. Or spend some time giving yourself a positive pep talk. Check out this infographic for 5 quick and simple self-care ideas. Focusing on shorter, simple activities can help make self-care more do-able and easier to follow through with.
Our regular self-care that we use in our daily routine might look a little different then the self-care we need to handle feelings like frustration and anger in the moment. Check out these blogs for some self-care ideas to handle big feelings in the moment: Parenting Self-Care: What To Do When You Want to Scream and 3 Tips to Help Adults Handle Big Emotions
Starting any kind of new routine or activity can be challenging to stick with at first but don’t give up! The more you practice thinking about self-care and incorporating it into your day the easier it will be to follow through.
Text: © Kids In Transition to School 2021
Image: © Maria Marganingsih | Dreamstime.com