Often times as parents, we get caught up with so many things (e.g., cooking, cleaning, working, taking care of the children, etc.). We feel we have to do everything, in order for things to be done right, or that we have to make sure everyone in our family is taken care of. However, in doing so, we sometimes neglect ourselves. In order to properly care for our children and family, we have to properly care for ourselves. Here are 4 quick tips to help you practice self-care.
- Practice What You Preach. You’re always telling your children to eat breakfast because it’s the most important meal of the day, but you don’t take the time to eat breakfast yourself. You tell your children they need at least 8 hours of sleep, but you only get 5 hours of sleep yourself, on a good night. You tell your children these things because they’re true and you want your children to be healthy, both physically and mentally. So, you should want the same for yourself. Practice what you preach! Make sure you take the time to eat breakfast in the morning or even eat at all, for that matter. Go to bed at a decent time, to ensure you’re well rested for the next day. You don’t want your children to see you ignoring your own health. Remember, you’re children are watching you and what they see you do is more effective than what they hear you say.
- Ask For Help And Delegate. You don’t have to do everything yourself. It’s okay to ask for help and delegate tasks. Make a grocery list for your spouse or partner and ask them to pick up the groceries. Ask your spouse or partner to wash the dishes, cook or pick up dinner, give the children a bath, etc. Asking for help and delegating tasks allows you more time to do some things for yourself (e.g., exercise, take a bath, watch TV, relax, etc.) and avoid burn out, depression, and physical ailments.
- Get Support From Your Friends. Making a plan to get together with a friend or friends on a regular basis (e.g., weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) may make it easier to take time for you. I have a friend, whom I’ve known since I was 14 years old, and last year, we decided to meet once a month for lunch, dinner, a movie, etc….just something to spend time with each other and take time for ourselves. This is a great way for you and your friends to support each other by making a commitment to meet for lunch or dinner, go to a movie, go bowling, or anything fun, on a regular basis. Doing this also helps with holding you accountable for taking time for yourself….self-care.
- Take A Mental Health Day. Last month, I came down with some kind of sickness for two days. I had a fever and felt weak, to say the least. So, I decided (with a lot of encouragement from my friends) to stay home and rest on day two. Even though my fever was gone that day and I probably could’ve gotten through work, I decided to stay home, to ensure that my fever was truly gone and not infect any of my clients, as well as take care of myself. While my children were at school, I laid in my bed and caught up on several television shows that I enjoy (and honestly, that’s pretty much all that I did). By the end of the day, when my children came home from school, I felt so refreshed. I felt like I just got back from a 4-day vacation. So, after that, I decided to take a mental health day once a month, from now on. Once a month, I will take one day, when I will not work and will just stay home, lay in the bed, and watch television and/or sleep. So, I encourage you to do the same, if you’re able. Make it work for you the best that you can. If you cannot do an entire day, maybe just do the first half of the day. Remember, anything is better than nothing!