Are you taking care of number one?
I know, I know… As if we needed another thing on our to do list.
But guys, hear me out, self care is no luxury. It’s absolutely vital that you get your basic needs for health, happiness, spiritual fulfillment, friendship, romance, rest and nutrition met!
Self Care is Vital Because…
- You are WORTHY
- You CANNOT be a peaceful parent if your needs aren’t met.
You will, by definition, be harboring resentment, and you will quadruple your chances of getting triggered and blowing up at your children.
The best metaphor for self care is the cups metaphor. We all carry around a cup. The only way to help someone else is to spill into their cup. But you can’t tip your cup! The only way to fill someone else’s cup is to fill yours so full, it spills over and into theirs.
But, we parents have a knack for excuses. Our favorite excuse that keeps us locked solidly in the victim role? Exhaustion. I’m inviting us all, myself included, to step off the excuse train. Let’s take our sleep (and every other need we have) into our own capable hands and make creative plans for prioritizing them and getting them met.
Here are my top 10 tips about self care. Just remember, WE are the adults. WE must take care of ourselves.
THIS is Good Parenting
Get into the self care mindset
Figure out what constitutes self care for you? What boosts your energy levels, your self esteem, your joy? Is it a clean house? The gym? Coffee with your girlfriends? Time to write or draw? Give yourself permission NOW to treat yourself with reverence. If you need permission from someone else, I’m giving it to you now. You have permission to put yourself and your needs first. BOOM.
Scan your environment for support and ask for help
Guess what? Even though asking for help is one of the hardest things for most of us, people are actually usually thrilled to help. Look around and get creative. Get friendly with the neighbors, set up babysitting swaps, bartering time with a friend or a nanny share. There are cheap and expensive ways to get help. Find the route that works for you.
Begin to prioritize what feels good
In every area of your life… from what to make for breakfast, to where to spend the summer. Begin by asking yourself, what would feel good to ME? Of course you’ll meet your children’s needs too, but ain’t nobody happy if mama (or papa) ain’t happy.
Simplify and declutter
Clear out your house, clear out your schedule – having too much stuff is a surefire way to leave zero space, time and energy for looking after yourself.
Know what isn’t self care
Some things we do for ourselves actually lower our energy. Figure out what you’re doing that isn’t self care. Hint: it isn’t watching TV and overeating.
Focus on independent play
Increase your kids capacity to PLAY ALONE. When they can do this you can put your feet up and read a book. Shazam!
Have more playdates
If you keep them low key and easy, playdates and pot luck dinners can make parenting less isolating and more fun. And when there are more adults around, the workload becomes so much more manageable with more time for self care.
Treat each thing you do mindfully
You eat right? Treat it like the ultimate snack. Sit down. Look at your food. You shower right? Meditate. Play amazing music, break out the bath-bombs. These things don’t take more time but focusing on gratitude, joy and pleasure with each little activity you do (like drinking a glass of water) will transform mundane activities into energizing moments.
Find simpler, smaller ways to do the things you love
So you may not be able to spend 2 hours a day dancing, you can jam it up in your living room for 10 minutes. Instead of full on hair and makeup, enjoy a speedy make up routine. Instead of going to the gym, go for a quick walk. Don’t give up on activities you love, just get creative about ways to make them fit your current lifestyle.
- Do it WITH your kids
Desperate for a shower but your kids need you? Plonk some blocks on the bathroom floor and hop in. Need some sun salutations this minute? Just get out your yoga mat and dive right in. Granted, it won’t be the serenity you’d like, but you’ll get some of your need met in the interim at least. Just set the expectation that it won’t be perfect, or you might not get to finish.
When it becomes a fact, it’s not a question each time. If mum does 15 minutes of yoga, and everything (barring emergency) has to wait during that time, so be it.
This will model self respect and care to your children too.
What do you do to get your needs met? What are your tips for self care?