If you’re a parent, you’re always prioritizing your children and their needs. But truthfully, to be the best parent you can be, you need to put yourself first sometimes. What this looks like is going to depend on who you are as a person (and what you define as self-care). It also depends on your family, where you live, and how you can make active changes to your daily habits and routines.
But, it’s important to remember that self-care is possible!
Here are some simple ways to put yourself first (even when your life feels crazy):
Be More Compassionate With Yourself
Many of us live with hyperactive superegos, constantly telling us what we should do and how we should live. These are our ‘inner bullies’ that we would never tolerate in the outside world.
The trick, here, is to quiet those voices. Make the superego (or the ‘I’m a failure’ narrative) less of a voice in your mind, and allow your natural ability to show yourself compassion to take over.
Practicing self-compassion actually gets easier the more you do it. It’s like learning any new skill. At first, you have to concentrate really hard. But then, over time, it starts to happen automatically.
Take Care Of Your Health Needs
When you’re a busy parent, your diet is often the last thing on your mind—you’re just trying to get through the day! As a result, what you eat is of secondary importance.
Because of this, it’s a good idea to go for regular dental and doctor checkups. This way, the dentist can make sure that your teeth are healthy and your doctor can advise you on areas where you can have better food/diet or exercise habits. You can also ensure you aren’t deficient in any necessary vitamins and assess that you are taking proper measures to prevent disease and other issues.
Practice Proper Self-Care
A huge part of self-care is your mental health. Remember that mental health challenges (depression, anxiety, etc.) can impact anyone, so if you’re someone who struggles that doesn’t mean you’re weak! It’s important to think about your mental health as a necessary part of health—as valuable as brushing your teeth or moving your body.
When you prioritize your mental wellbeing, that looks like. . .
- Taking time to do things you love each week
- Saying ‘no’ to projects or activities that are ‘too much’
- Creating boundaries around your work hours
- Indulging in something that you enjoy (massage, spa day, ‘cheat’ food, etc.)
- Journaling/reflecting or talking to a therapist
- Spending time with friends/family at a social outing
- Spending time alone
The biggest thing is to remember that you are worthy of indulging, relaxing, and putting yourself first. Self-care isn’t just about doing or buying things, either. It’s about shifting the way you see yourself and how you spend your time.
Take A Break
Many people are afraid of taking a break from their work, social life, or family. They worry that they are “wasting time” or “missing out.” The reality, though, is different. People who take breaks actually tend to be the most productive. It’s those that work constantly who become burned out.
Research shows that if you work more than about 50 hours per week, your productivity starts to fall off. Rather than trying to fill your schedule completely (work or otherwise), create breaks, opportunities for intentional time with loved ones, and rest.