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Parents Need Recharging Too: Why Self-care is Important in Parenting

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People need to take the time to do self-care, including parents. As much as parents need to take care of their children on top of other responsibilities, they also have to make time to do self-care to sustain their psychological and physical wellbeing. This would include participating in leisurely activities, exercising, healthy eating, and taking time to seek and maintain a social support system.

Parents and self-care

There are many studies that point to how practicing self-care can have a positive effect on a person’s health as well as life quality, satisfaction, and overall well-being. That is because engaging in self-care can significantly reduce stress, depressive symptoms, anxiety, and burnout. As such, it is important for people, more so parents, to allow some time to do a self-care routine.

Parents constantly lead a busy life of taking care of the family on top of household chores, work, and other duties. The daily hassle as a parent makes it seem impossible to have time for oneself. It is easy for parents to push away the need to do self-care because they think they have limited time, money, and social support. Thoughts such as having no time to relax because of tasks that need to be done or being too busy for anything else become an excuse for parents to put self-care on the back burner and forget about it.

Neglecting self-care for years will negatively affect the parents’ and children’s life. Parents who overlook their needs for self-care may be more vulnerable to feelings of stress, burnout, and depression. Those conditions will make it harder for parents to provide appropriate care for their children and family and manage other personal responsibilities. In fact, parents with less self-care and emotional dysregulation can negatively affect their children in terms of their mental health, psychological adjustment, and lifestyle.

Tips for practicing self-care

Parents need to take some time and space within their daily routine for self-care. Parents can implement self-care activities anytime and anywhere as long as they are doing it intentionally and consistently. Allocating even 5-10 minutes each day for self-care activities would definitely help parents decompress, whether it is done in the morning, while the children are asleep, or after dinner. 

For self-care activities to have an impact on any parent’s life, the activities need to occur repeatedly to become a positive habit. Making these activities obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying can help practicing self-care becomes a feasible activity to do daily. It is also important to schedule when you want to do your self-care activities and inform your coparent, children, or other family members to let them know of it. Here are four components of self-care that parents can keep in mind to develop a healthy routine:

  1. Psychological

    Relating to personal growth like learning and thinking, this is helpful for self-understanding and problem-solving. Self-care activities that can psychologically help you include journal writing, self-reflecting, and doing a digital detox. You can also spend time reading books or watching movies with your partner. You can also learn a new skill, like painting, knitting, or gardening with your children to help you recover from your duties as a parent.

  2. Physical

    This pertains to activities that can improve physical health, such as exercising, eating healthy food, and getting enough sleep. You can also spend time having a relaxing massage, taking a short walk with your children, spending intimate moments with your partner, or even going camping with family might help you recharge and refresh your energy.

  3. Spiritual

    It is important to seek a purpose and meaning in life. As such, you can do activities that can help such as meditation, yoga, and praying with family. Having a gratitude journal and writing about the three things you are thankful for throughout the day will help; you may even share it with your coparent and children to open up the communication on being grateful towards one another.

  4. Support

    This involves doing activities that foster a positive relationship with others. You can have something as simple as having a romantic date night with your partner, scheduling time to talk with friends or family, or participating in volunteering activities with your communities. Joining an online support group to connect with other parents to share your struggles and accomplishments as a parent will also help you gain new tips in parenting and remind you that you are not alone.

Parents need to try several types of self-care activities to identify what works best for them. Parenting requires a lot of energy and patience, so it is important to recharge by having some alone time with yourself or with your coparent.  This way, you can regain your energies in a healthy way while performing your duties as a parent and recognizing your individuality. 

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