Take Better Care of Yourself: Three Highly Effective Strategies for Parents
Parenting is a marathon not a sprint. To handle whatever comes your way, it’s essential to prepare yourself for life’s inevitable strains on your mind and body. Relaxing after a long day, for example, helps you recharge. It also creates a pathway to developing a positive mindset and becoming a more resilient parent. But this is just part of the reason to prioritize nurturing yourself. The other key motivation is what your children will learn by watching you: They’ll learn how to take better care of themselves.
Develop a Positive Mindset
Getting a grip on stress doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. In many cases, you don’t even have to leave home.
There are three key opportunities for cultivating better self-care and a positive mindset. Together they create a powerful wellness strategy.
- Relax. This will enable you to put things in perspective.
- Release. It is critical to release emotions rather than allow them to build up inside.
- Enjoy. Life is complicated. We must create opportunities to make ourselves happy.
We will offer a concrete opportunity in each area. You have the flexibility to choose a strategy that better matches your needs. We simply hope you’ll make time to relax, release your thoughts and feelings, and enjoy life!
There are many strategies you might use to relax. One that is known to help, with little effort and no cost, is meditation.
The word meditation makes some people think of a religious or spiritual experience. To others, it feels like a skill that might take years to master, or one that only can be developed with professional guidance. At its most basic level, meditation is simply relaxing in a purposeful way. It allows us to restore our energy and regain a state of calm with little investment of time.
Meditation lowers stress levels and increases positive moods. It also decreases the amount of time we think about our problems. The goal of meditation is to turn off mental activity, to quiet thoughts churning through your mind. This gives your mind a rest and lets your body relax.
There are numerous types of meditation. The kernel of every practice is being aware of your breath. This is often combined with visualization but isn’t required. Interested in giving it a shot?
One method to try is simply noticing whatever comes to mind as you inhale. It could be a noise, feeling, or thought. Do your best to stay with these sensations. As you exhale, let everything go – your breath, what you heard, anything you felt. Repeat the process. Be patient with yourself as you learn. It’ll likely become easier as you get into this life-improving habit.
There are so many strategies that allow us to release emotions. The key is letting your thoughts and feelings go. Imagine dancing it out, singing away your frustration, or baking your way to happier thoughts. The strategy is up to you, but we all deserve a way to release our tensions.
Journaling can be a powerful tool for organizing, expressing, and ultimately releasing emotions. The upside of committing thoughts to paper is so significant, chronically ill patients who journal fare better emotionally and physically than those who don’t. The page becomes a safe place to house feelings and make sense of them.
I’ve kept a journal on and off since my children, now 17 and 15, were born. When they were younger, I marked significant milestones – their first steps and soccer goals. I also use my journal to process stressful events like when my daughter broke her leg right before she started kindergarten. Now that my children are teenagers, I tend to write about smaller yet still significant passages of time. One recent entry centered on how proud I am they teamed up the other night to make my husband and me dinner. That doesn’t happen too often!
The best part of journaling is that it makes no difference what kind of paper you use. A diary, Post-it notes, even a napkin will work. Or, no paper at all. You can journal on your phone or computer. The only part of journaling that matters is that you commit to writing. You will reap the rewards.
Easy Self-Care Tips
There are many rewarding ways to invest in yourself as a parent. Opportunities range from activities you can do alone or with others. The goal is to choose what makes you feel good. Click through for strategies and suggestions.
Getting your body moving has plenty of upsides. Exercise improves concentration and helps manage stress.
Pursue a Hobby
Do an activity simply because it’s fun. Hobbies help reduce tension and boost happiness.
Break down big problems into smaller, more manageable parts. Face them head on -- just one at a time.
Give Back to Your Community
Volunteering boosts well-being. It enables you to put aside your troubles and gain needed perspective.
Consider this permission to have some fun! Leisure activities boost mental and physical wellness. They make you feel revitalized. Individuals who go for walks, play sports, or participate in hobbies also tend to experience more and deeper friendships. They may see improvements in blood pressure, improved sleep, and many get into better, healthier, shape.
Use your imagination. The type of activity you choose matters less than just getting away from your usual routine. A hobby you love can become an activity you turn to for an instant vacation. It’ll be something special you do for yourself. It can be especially helpful when you’re feeling stressed or upset.
And finally, don’t forget to laugh. Laughing improves circulation, cuts down on stress, and relaxes muscles. It decreases anxiety and heightens self-esteem. Think of it as a refresh button. No matter what was on your mind or what you have to do later, you feel more capable after a good laugh.
Laughter is also easy to do! A good belly laugh can stem from telling a funny story, playing a silly board game, or watching a hilarious movie. Even more, a hearty laugh (even a giggle) is something you can share with your teen whenever you need to unwind and decompress. And that’s great self-care for both of you.