According to one survey, 84% of consumers in the UK agreed that we need to incorporate more self-care into our lives.
But it’s not always easy to do this as a parent. Between the school run, work, household chores, and other jobs that you need to get done, it can sometimes feel like the to-do list is endless and you just can’t get a minute to yourself.
But why is self-care so important?
It’s an essential way for you to recharge your mental and physical batteries. Practising Self-care can help you better enjoy the good days and cope with the not so good ones.
It can help reduce stress levels, manage long-term illnesses, and it can help you feel more active day to day. It can also help you to feel ready to take on all the responsibilities of being a parent or caregiver.
In this article, we’ll be discussing four simple ways in which you can bring some more self-care into your daily routine and even get the kids involved.
We cannot understate the importance of going outdoors and getting some fresh air. The movement of walking coupled with the sights, sounds, and smells around you engage your senses and help you to feel present in the moment.
Multiple studies have shown how much it can help not only our physical health but also our mental well-being, from decreasing stress levels to boosting energy. Whether it’s for a stroll around the block or an afternoon trip to the countryside, going outside is a great way to incorporate self-care into your day, no matter if you have a little or a lot of spare time.
Plus, when you’re looking after the kids, it’s also a great way to spend some time with them. Play games, discover local wildlife, and, depending on their age, introduce them to some elements of self-care.
Of course, even in the summer months, the UK is known for its unpredictable weather. Instead of calling off going outside, just make sure you’ve got the boys’ and girls’ waterproof jackets you need to keep the little ones warm and dry.
We know that for parents, there’s always something that doesn’t go according to plan. However, that doesn’t mean there are no benefits to planning out your daily tasks. Even the act of writing down your chores can count as self-care because it takes those things out of your mind and onto a notebook, whiteboard, sticky notes, or whatever you have in the house.
Seeing everything written down can make all those seemingly endless lists feel more manageable, helping you to organise your thoughts and feel more on top of what needs to be done.
It can also help you to prioritise different things and to build a routine for yourself and your family, for example, by deciding to have at least one day a week when you cook a healthy dinner. Bringing more order and routine into your home can improve not only your well-being but that of your children as well.
Looking after your body
Many past studies have shown that taking care of your physical health is intrinsically linked to your mental well-being, so making sure you look after your body is a great way to practice self-care. When your own needs are met, it’s easier for you to then meet the needs of your children.
This doesn’t necessarily mean hitting the gym or joining an exercise class either. It’s about the little things you can do as well, like making sure you’ve brushed your hair and teeth in the morning or pampering yourself with a bath.
It would be remiss to write an article like this without adding that sometimes, self-care is about being realistic. Some days will be better than others. Some days, you’ll finish everything, and on others, you’ll feel like you haven’t moved.
In other words, the point of this final tip is to not scrutinise how much or how little you’re doing. Self-care is more of a process, not another thing to add to your daily to-do list. It’s impossible to be on top of everything 100% of the time as a parent, and being kinder and more forgiving to yourself is one of the most powerful ways you can practice self-care. In fact, as research by the Universities of Exeter and Oxford suggests, being kinder to yourself can lower your heart rate and improve your immune system, leading to overall better health.
Sometimes, there can be misconceptions around what counts as self-care. You might picture it as luxurious bubble baths, spa breaks, or expensive treats. If that’s the case, you might also worry that taking time for self-care is just being selfish or self-indulgent, especially when there are little ones to look after.
So if we’ve done anything in this article, we hope that it’s helped you to better understand that while these tips can help, self-care is something that comes in many different forms. Parents especially shouldn’t feel guilty about taking some time for themselves, as it benefits not only you but your children as well.
Self-care can make you feel more alert and more patient with children, which has a positive impact on their own well-being in turn, making you more prepared as a family to take on whatever life brings.