Maybe parents from previous generations wouldn’t understand this fuss about self-care. I think generally people got married and had children earlier than parents are doing now. Maybe there was more support in juggling the home and the kids through extended family, which many of us don’t have these days. I know when I was younger, I certainly didn’t really understand the fuss about self-care as well as I do now, and when I started parenting over seventeen years ago, it wasn’t even really a thing to talk about self-care.
Cue now. Cue the late 40s.
Years of parenting and homeschooling still await.
Things are shifting.
Self-care is needed.
Now self-care seems absolutely vital to me; absolutely necessary; absolutely important. It is something important for me that benefits the whole family, despite whatever limitations may be in the way.
Maybe you are feeling this as well. I think younger parents are much more in tune with this than we are. However, at any stage, it can be easy to neglect in the shuffle and business of life, especially for homeschooling parents whose children and teens are with the family many (all) hours a day. So, i put together 7 ways for doing self-care that might resonate with you or give you ideas for your own practice.
- Find your attitude about self-care, and your find your discipline to follow through. First you have to believe that self-care is necessary, and then you have to find a way to follow through on doing self-care no matter what personal obstacles are in your situation. Maybe your significant other travles nonstop, and you homeschool three tiny children that you can’t just leave to run out and do appointments or even go for a heart-pounding run that doesn’t involve stopping to look every ten feet at some critter on the ground. Instead of feeling defeated, how will you make this work? Brainstorm ideas, and believe AND do.
- Keep the big health guidelines in mind. One hundred fifty minutes of moderate areobic exercise a week and twice a week strength training is recommended for adults in the United States, there are recommendations for how often to see your doctor and dentist, there are even recommendations for number of hours you should sleep a night, and how many hours a day you should be on a screen. That might be the bare minimum place you start.
- Rest and play. Rest and play for adults may be one of the most overlooked areas of health. This one can be done with your children, with your significant other, with your friends or by yourself? How do you rest and play? What does that look like for you?
- Time in nature. This is extremely important for decreasing stress, for setting healthy patterns in sleep, and for a myriad of health benefits, even down to the cellular level. There is true research on this, and since many people spend a lot of time indoors, it may be worth it to schedule yourself some forest bathing time or time to be outside.
- Time in community. Community is very important. It is something new mothers or new fathers naturally often seek in the form of playgroups…and then as the children grow, as teens have more interests and they no longer want to get together with the same chidren they have been since playgroup days due to lack of common interests…it can become more difficult to see other adults that you are really and truly close to. My recommendation is to go out to dinner or tea or meet at a park – just the adults. When your children are teenagers, you can leave them and do this! If you think you don’t need this, I would say you should try. It reduces anxiety, having community has many health benefits, it makes you feel connected, and when your children are off living their own lives, you are going to want some friends!
- Time alone. It is important to have some time each day, each week, each month to just be alone without the children. Many parents get so lost in their children and all the hustle and bustle that they often lose who they were. Parenting will change you! You will be a different person than you were. That is normal. But losing complete connection with yourself, your goals, your dreams, your functioning as a separate human being outside of being a parent is difficult. It can take time to get those things back, and time alone to think or think and journal can be invaluable.
- Healthy food. Healthy food, and not using food as a form of stress control or self-medication is really important. Parenting can start a whole cycle of eating while standing up, eating as quickly as possible, not having time to cook. Batch cooking healthy things for the week can be a really big help, as can gadgets such as a crock-pot or Instapot. Finding healthy recipes and making them, not keeping junk food in the house that really isn’t made up of food but instead chemicals and additives ( I call it “food-like” substances) in the house, is really important self-care, and it sets a great tone for the future generation living in your household. I was at a continuing education course where the home health physical therapists were estimating over half of the patients they were seeing were obese, and had Type 2 diabetes, and didn’t hardly move during the day. This isn’t where we want ourselves or the next generation to end up!
Share with me your favorite ways to self-care!
Blessings and love,