By KJC Law Firm
Being a parent is rewarding but sometimes self-care is forgotten in the mist of our busy lives. Taking good care of yourself is not slacking off from your parental duties, it is essential to your well-being. When the kids are home and stress is building, it is more important than ever. Taking care of yourself benefits the whole family! Below are five tips to help incorporate self-care in your lifestyle.
Establish Me Time
The alone time that was initially part of our pre-COVID life- being home alone, social time with friends, time at the grocery store – is not as available with the kids at home. It is difficult to set aside time and space for us to decompress and recharge but there are some sneaky ways to do so. This could include taking a walk around the block alone (or with the dog), reading a book or magazine, watching your favorite show when the kids are in bed, or taking a relaxing shower.
The lack of routine and structure can lead to added stress. Too much free time can create unhealthy habits that feel good in the moment but eventually hurt us in the long run. With work and school being at home, it may feel like a vacation but it is important to keep our normal habits in check. This includes eating properly, getting enough sleep (but not too much), and having a routine that includes exercise. A tip to remember is that moderation and balance is key. You don’t need to stress yourself out further by trying to get in insane shape or cutting out ice cream from your diet. It means making mindful decisions and intentions when treating your body and yourself.
Have Emotional Boundaries
Everyone is feeling extremely anxious right now. With so much uncertainty and worry being present in our everyday lives, it is easy to get caught up in the fears and concerns of COVID-19 without realizing it. It is important to stay connected with friends and families during this time but if you have a friend or family member who has a habit of sending anxiety provoking messages, practice a little emotional distancing. Or tell them that their messages give you anxiety. Let them know that you hear them, but need some space from worrying news. Try not to get caught up in the news or limit yourself to a certain amount of time where you can look at COVID-19 updates. This way you are not constantly being reminded of the reality of the pandemic.
The old saying applies even during the pandemic: nobody is perfect. Be realistic both as a parent and at work. Set real expectations and goals for yourself to avoid burnout. Know that if you can’t meet your expectations, it is okay and it is important to give yourself time to grace. Forgive and practice self compassion. These times are stressful and unprecedented. There is no clear picture of the future and it is important to remind yourself to try your best. Remember to cut yourself some slack! You are doing your best during a global pandemic, which is a pretty remarkable accomplishment.
With more time on our hands, think of some positive things that you can do during stay at home orders. Reconnect with old hobbies and activities that you never previously had the time for. Or even learn a new skill. Maybe you love to paint or go hiking. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to cook a fantastic new recipe or learn a new language. If you have young children who are hard to leave unattended, try to incorporate some fun activities the whole family can enjoy. Seek activities such as baking cookies, making art, going outside, and more. Be creative and find something that makes you smile :).
To conclude, remember that being kind to yourself not only helps you destress during these crazy times but also ensures that you have the tools you need to take care of your family. When we put all of our care into others and not ourselves, we start to reach the breaking point. A great analogy is imagining that your energy is like a car. For the car to run smoothly, you need proper fuel. When we prioritize our emotional and physical needs, we are filling up the tank. When the tank is full we are in a great position to offer care and comfort to the ones we love during a difficult time.
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