Quick And Easy Self-Care Strategies For Parents Everywhere
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If you’re looking for quick and easy self-care strategies for parents, then you’re reading the right post.
After a day spent trying hard not to yell at our vivacious child, we realised that we were very close to burnout and that we needed to do something.
Like many, we don’t want to be angry parents.
We want to teach our child how to live his bliss and we know that the most effective way to do that is to lead by example.
In a hurry or just curious?
Unfortunately, we didn’t quite start at the very beginning or followed a plan.
We simply started googling for self-care strategies for parents because we’ve read time and again that you can only really be an effective parent if you take care of yourself first.
While on our googling binge, we came across this image. For some reason that no one knows (yeah, right), it really made us laugh (silently, of course, because our toddler had FINALLY fallen asleep and no way was I going to risk waking him up again).
Anyone else here a permanently exhausted pigeon who could really use coffee 24/7?
We see a lot of memes making fun of a parent’s lack of sleep and constant tiredness (because let’s face it, we’ll cry otherwise). Along with hearty congratulations, “good luck” is one of the first things that new parents hear.
In our case, we were actually in for a pleasant surprise.
We expected hourly wake-ups, sleepless nights as well as lots of screaming because Jade was like that as a baby. She used to cry for hours on end as soon as the clock struck 6PM. To this day, no one knows why.
Anyway, when LG was born, he wasn’t a unicorn baby but he only woke up every two hours and didn’t cry unless separated from us. He very rarely screamed his lungs out.
We were ecstatic.
And yet, we were still exhausted pigeons.
Now, he’s 2 years old and we are just slowly realising that in the midst of this madness called parenting, we need to remember ourselves.
We’ve all heard of the saying that it’s better to give than to receive. Actually, and probably more importantly, we all need to remember that we cannot pour from an empty cup. What can you give if you have nothing?
The problem with self-care
The problem with self-care, you might say, is that we’re just too busy.
Most modern households need to have both parents working full-time just to pay the bills (although with a good financial plan, you can find a way to live comfortably on one income.)
We don’t normally have extended family close by to help out. Or if they are close by, they’re also probably working full-time.
We’ve lost our tribe and we’re now rushing around like mad. Who’s got time for self-care? We barely have time to nip to the loo.
Your self-care strategies
So, as busy parents juggling multiple things, what can we do?
Well, we asked our readers for tips and you generously answered. Here’s a growing list of simple self-care strategies as given by ordinary busy parents (emphasis ours).
1. “Every day, make time to do something that’s vital to YOU. For me, it’s reading.”
– Seonaid, Thunderpoint Publishing
2. “Mummy and baby fitness classes. Counts as a social group for them and me. Great for mental and physical well-being.”
3. “Take some time off by myself, even if it’s just a cup of coffee outside or when the kids are asleep, it’s making sure I carve a little time without phone, without anyone asking me or touching me, just me.”
– Nahomie, Epanouie Within Photography
4. “Listening to music and eating chocolate.”
5. “Sleep and rest.”
– Criselda and Nimfa
6. “Pray. Self-Forgiveness. Forgive Others. Thinking positive thoughts with a smile. Exercise. Reading a book. Listening to relaxing music. Watching a movie. Going out / celebrating with friends. Drinking coffee or tea. Sleep. Declutter things. Massage. Facial treatment. Shopping.”
7. I like reading books, riding on my exercise bike for 1 hour and listening to music.
Our Self-Care Strategies
If you want to know what we do at home and, therefore, what we recommend, then you can check out the list below.
We find them extremely effective and tend to minimise explosive blow-ups and allow us to react with grace under pressure.
Side Note: If you’re looking for our list of unique self love gift ideas, then check out our post The Gift Of Self-Care: Self Love Gift Ideas That No One Ever Thinks To Give.
1. Be gentle with yourself
Remember Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata, “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
So, don’t berate yourself for past failures. This doesn’t help.
Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend – with great care and love.
If you’re having a tough time seeing the beauty in you, then we recommend listening to Lisa Nichols’ Discover Your Worthiness Meditation.
Not into guided meditations or just can’t follow along?
Then you’ll benefit from listening to a subliminal recording. For more information, you can take a look at Real Subliminal’s Boost Your Self-Esteem audio.
Side Note: I love listening to these audio files whilst I’m doing a spa-at-home day. Changed my life!
2. Play with your children
Yes, you’re touched out. Yes, sometimes you just want to be left alone. And that’s fine. All perfectly normal.
Just remember that children laugh way more than adults and if you let their joie de vivre touch you, you’ll be enjoying the very real physical benefits that laughter can give you.
Don’t know how to start?
Try asking them if you could join whatever they happen to be doing at the time.
Then, let them direct you.
Are they building a fort? How can you help?
Playing a video game? Most games have two-player options.
The key is to join them and then do what they say, not commandeer playtime.
As many parenting experts say, play is when children should have full control of whatever happens. So, no vetoing whatever they want, okay?
Obviously, this doesn’t count if there are obvious safety risks involved.
But if they want to their T-Rex to be Humpty Dumpty and make them fall off the wall, don’t ruin the moment by scoffing at the absurdity of it all.
For more ideas on how to incorporate play in your parenting, you must read Lawrence Cohen’s Playful Parenting.
On top of the 12 benefits that healthline discussed, I believe that letting your thoughts go without judgement is perhaps one of the greatest benefits you can ever get from meditation.
It doesn’t even have to be that hard.
YouTube has a plethora of meditation videos designed for beginners.
Also, did you know that you that there are some forms of meditation where you don’t even have to sit cross-legged somewhere and focus on anything in particular?
Yep, you can.
They’re called Subliminals and these are what we use when the only time we have to meditate is right before falling asleep.
There are many videos on YouTube that contain subliminal messaging but since you don’t know who actually is behind them, we’re wary of using them.
If you’re interested in trying these out, we highly recommend Real Subliminal, which has over 9 years’ experience and is well-established in the industry.
In a hurry?
4. Write on a journal
There’s something unbelievably cathartic in the simple act of putting pen to paper and dumping your thoughts there. Have you tried it? Forget typing on your laptop or your phone.
If there are worries swimming in your head, try writing them down – all of them, with no filter. You’d be surprised how much better you feel afterwards. If you’re lucky, you might even manage to come up with a solution. The brain is strange that way.
We sort of fell into bullet journalling on a whim and never looked back. Seriously, the most effective way to declutter your mind and get a semblance of inner peace – much needed in today’s chaotic world.
The following products are our top picks for bullet journalling because, if you don’t already know, it’s as much art as anything else. It’s like those zen colouring books you see becoming ever more popular.
We highly recommend!
5. Get enough sleep
When people get stressed, the first thing that suffers is sleep. Ironically, this then leads to more anxiety and an inability to concentrate (which won’t help you find a solution to whatever problem you’re facing), which further leads to loss of sleep.
It’s a vicious circle.
If you find yourself consistently losing sleep, unable to fall asleep in the first place or waking up before you get a full night’s rest, consider trying tapping therapy for anxiety or even guided meditation for insomnia.
Alongside these mental exercises, you can also try the following products, which has helped Jade tremendously (PS. Some of them are really pricey but they go on sale often so when they do, grab them!).
6. Go out with your partner
If you have one and with friends or family if you don’t – Some quality time with other adults can help you recharge and remember that you are your own person. You have an identity beyond being a parent that needs to be acknowledged.
As you can see, different people have different ways of taking care of themselves. After all, we all like different things.
And we don’t even need to go somewhere fancy (although we can) or spend a lot of money (although again, we can) to focus on ourselves.
Sometimes, we just need to pause, take a deep breath and smile.
It can really be that simple.
How about you?
How do you take care of yourself? How do you relax and recharge in this mad, stressful world?
If you have any tips that you’d like to share, please drop them in the comment section below. We look forward to hearing from you! 🙂
Really weird how I came across your article. I have been struggling for a while mentally.. And I thought of the word that is most important to me and LOVE came in my mind.. So I thought to find myself again I need to focus on this word for now.. However what I felt when I thought of that is the strong love I have for my boys that my heart breaks that I had to separate from them last couple of years.. As I am writing this tears are streaming down my face.. However my kids are all grown up now and independent but still the guilt of losing last couple of years not being with them as I went away to recover.. And they all were happy to let me go actually it was my son’s idea and he went with me but the other 2 stayed behind due to thier study.. I don’t know how to get past this guilt.. Although boys have never made me feel guilty and they still love me and have so much respect for me and I think I have done a good job being a single mum and struggling with my own illness however I never neglected them.. And now that I am back I am going to be living with my sons as they are renting a place.. They always tell me that I shouldn’t feel guilty but I just can’t get past it.. After reading your article I realised that I didn’t include myself in that word love.. And yes I have always put others needs first always and thats why i feel lost.. Your article makes so much sense.. Thank you God bless you..
Hi Shobha, thank you for popping by and sharing your experiences with us.
Wow, what a story! I can only imagine the kind of heartbreak you’ve had to endure in order to get to where you are now. It’s not easy in the slightest!
However, I ask you to take heart and consider how important your recovery is, not just for yourself but for your children too – regardless of their age. It’s a beautiful lesson to teach them that we each matter. Our health matters – whether it’s physical, emotional or mental health.
If you’re struggling with strong feelings of guilt and you can’t quite let it go (I do know that particular feeling), I always recommend immersing yourself in a self-love practice.
Have you tried Lisa Nichols’ Discover Your Worthiness Meditation?
For more in-depth info on what self love is and its importance, please check How Do You Love Yourself, Let Me Count The Ways: The Ultimate Guide to Self-Love.
And, if you have the chance, I would speak with a medical professional to rule out any mental health diagnosis (such as depression, anxiety or PTSD).
Good luck on your journey!
You made me remember so vividly my little child who I had to leave in India when she was only 15 months old. She was not speaking to tell me how she feels. But I was certain she will be taken care of well.
I tried every odd to help her. She was a beautiful and well behaved and very happy kid. The only problem and a big one, she did not want to stay in a day care or a baby sitter. I feel guilty up until now when she is in late twenties doing very well.
All these tips you have penciled was not with me then. Yes I was tired, could not stay home for her to enjoy those special moment to see her growing.
This is a serous problem of the current society that you have tactically addressing. Thank you for that. I will stay in touch with your site.
Do I have a tip? That will possibly be a tip which I have not practiced.
Hire a nanny where your kid can stay comfortably if you both must have to work.
Anusuya, that must’ve been difficult for you. I used to work on a cruise ship and so many parents were there for months at a time, trying to make life better for their children. Their hearts break every time they have to leave. I wish you all the best and hope things are much much better for you now.
Thanks a lot for sharing such a wonderful article self-care strategies for parents. I totally agree with you, as a parent, to look after our children, most of the time we forget ourselves. And this is going to be harder for new parents. I believe personally parental responsibility is very challenging if we couldn’t manage well. This challenge is going to be in every stage in parental life. When a child is born, there is one type of challenge and by the time they start growing there is another type of challenge.
I really love your article because this will be helpful for us as parents either for new or for growing children parents not only for look after their children but how we could follow some strategies for our self-care which most of the time we forget.
Thank you, Nazmun. We need to remember that we matter too and we can only react with grace when our own cups are full. 🙂
As a parent, I can tell you it’s not an easy task. A lot has to go into taking care of the children and also taken care of one’s self too. Self-care is really important else one can wear out. For me, I just try to listen to good music and take a walk drawing in all the good views I can see alone of course probably when the kid is asleep. It’s very very important too.
Hi Henderson, yes. Parenting is no easy task at all! A walk – I used to go for long walks but now all I want to do is curl up in bed with a good book. I must be getting old haha
I enjoyed your article and it takes me back to when my 42-year-old son was just born. I remember my wife holding him in the passenger seat and I was driving home at about 10 miles per hour. My wife said, “he’s going to be in college by the time we get him home if you don’t speed up!”
From the very beginning, I thought he would simply break if we were not careful. I guess that’s what new dads think.
And talk about being tired. My wife got up for the 3 a.m. feeding shortly after we brought our demanding boy home and something made me wake up. It was so quiet. I walked into the living room and they were both sound asleep. One of my wife’s hands was clutching one of his feet as they both slept as he hung from her lap with his head toward the floor. The bottle lay on the floor beside her.
I often think about that and the mother’s instinct not to let him go no matter how tired she was.
Ray, her comment cracked me up. He’s going to be in college by the time we get him home is a winner!
And what a sweet story. She must’ve been truly exhausted. Good for you for actually getting up to check on her.
It’s amazing how they stay babies even when they’re fully grown.
Thank you for sharing your experience.
Another great article thank you. You make a great point in that a lot of times when parents get really fed up with their child and take it out on their child the fact is that really their own needs are not being met like self care, getting enough rest, And so on. I think realizing that makes you a very good parent and anytime I hear that there is a good parent being conscious like you are it makes me feel hopeful about things.
It looks like you are right where you’re supposed to be with everything. It’s good that you’re conscious of all these things. I think you are articles will help other parents to.
Thank you for your kind words, Charles. It’s good to see this post resonating with so many other parents. Like you, it gives me hope for the future.
Really beautiful couple. I loved the write up.
I have always had the mindset that when one gets married and a child or two children or more get into the picture, you just end up losing yourself in them. And also that you’re now actually living for them.
Your article has itemized various opportunities where we can care for our little tots and also care for ourselves.
My favourite is playing with your kid(s). I love children and their smile and laughter is so charming and special. It brings me joy. You certainly don’t want them crying on end! lolz!
Thanks K and J!
You’re welcome, Mariam. We’re glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂