What does self-care mean? It is a phrase gaining popularity in parenting blogs, magazines, and articles, but how do you implement it as a technique or tactic?
In its simplest terms, self-care means caring for your mental and physical needs. Too many parents put the needs of their child and family over their own, which seems appropriate, but in reality, it is draining and self-defeating.
A parent must learn to prioritize their mental and physical well-being to ensure they can give themselves to their children. If you are exhausted or ill, you cannot possibly be the parent you want to be. Therefore, it is necessary to implement self-care strategies into your routine to be the best parent you can be.
Importance of Self-Care as Parents
While many parents might struggle to admit it, they have needs just like their kids. If they constantly ignore their needs, they risk experiencing burnout.
Burnout is real, and it is the result of consistent stress with little to no relief. Parenting is a stressful job, and without personal time and space, burnout is likely.
One of the consequences of persistent stress is irritability. You can become impatient and angry with your children or spouse over little things. Unfortunately, anger can have a lasting impression on children and affect the family dynamic for a long time.
Even worse, anger and stress can compound problems, leading to sleep trouble and health problems like malnourishment. Self-care can prevent these issues or, at the very least, minimize their impact on the family.
Ways To Implement Self-Care
Fitting self-care into your schedule often comes down to physically adding to your To-Do list or calendar. You want to find time to relax, socialize, exercise, and have fun. Every week should have dedicated slots for each activity; better still, every day.
No activity needs to take an entire day. Exercise should occur at least three times per week and take at least 30 minutes. Socializing can be as simple as having dinner with friends. Relaxing could include a 15 to 20-minute bath, and having fun could consist of going on a family bike ride or walk.
How To Teach Your Children
Children learn by example. If they see you exercising and taking time to relax, they will instinctively follow your example. However, you can help them learn by explaining why you do what you do. For example, when you take a multivitamin, give them their Wellements vitamins. Explain why you take vitamins and that they help build strong muscles and healthy bodies.
The key is to speak to and teach your child on their level. Remember you are talking to a toddler, adolescent, or teen. Speaking in terms, they can understand will help ensure the message sticks.
Self-care is not some fad phrase; it is a crucial element of mental health. While society might only now recognize the importance of mental health, it doesn't mean it wasn't always a part of a balanced family dynamic. Think back to times your parents were tired or frustrated. How did that affect you? How did it affect the family relationship?
Stress and anger are contagious, so it is best to take preventative measures to avoid these corrosive emotions. Obviously, you cannot avoid all stress and frustration, but you can take steps to ensure neither emotion is prevalent in your home.
Self-care is a necessary skill, and it is one your children will learn from you. Make sure you present an excellent example by maintaining structure, setting healthy boundaries, and sometimes putting yourself first.