Having worked with children with a range of varying needs, one thing I have noticed is that parents often forget to take care of themselves as they prioritise their children’s needs over theirs.
It’s important that parents care for themselves – first, for their own well-being, but also because any effort they put into self-care also has huge payoffs for their children. When parents “fill their own cups”, they have more patience, energy, and passion to spread to their family.
The following are a list of some Self-Care Tools that parents may wish to consider
- Write in a journal. Notice your thoughts and feelings and spend some time, anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour, writing. This can help with managing your emotions, particularly on those difficult days.
- Listen to some uplifting music whether you are sitting on the couch relaxing or busy working on household duties.
- Make yourself a soothing drink like a cup of tea, hot chocolate, or brew some coffee – and sip it slowly and savour the whole cup.
- Schedule at least 1 uninterrupted hour per week for you to spend with a friend or loved one, this could include going out for brunch or dinner, talking on the phone, out for a walk or spending some time getting pampered like getting a massage or your nails done. Socializing and being around friends can be extremely beneficial.
- Write down 3 things that are causing you stress or are bothersome. Problem-solve one solution for each of these that may help to relieve your stress.
- Reach out to a friend or loved when you are having a difficult day. Whether it be to ask for advice, support, or just a listening ear.
- Go for a walk, preferably somewhere serene, like a park or nature reserve.
- Do a short meditation by closing your eyes, breathing deeply, and focusing on your breath. Sometimes a mantra can help, like “All sounds return to the breath, all thoughts return to the breath, all distractions return to the breath”. Try the Smiling Mind app.
- Do a single tiny household chore that’s been bothering you – empty one drawer, give away one bag of clothes, or clean one shelf of your fridge. Pat yourself on the back for completing it.
- Let yourself be blue for a bit. Cuddle under a blanket, play sad bluesy music, eat chocolate ice cream, or cry.
- Follow the “rule of three”: always be consciously aware of 3 things that you’re looking forward to.
- Write down one goal or intention you have for the week and post it on your fridge. Take everything else (like magnets, pictures, art projects, to-do lists, etc.) off your fridge.
- Go somewhere local that you’ve never been before – a new nature reserve, a new park, a new beach, a different library, a conservatory, etc.
- Think of one way you compare yourself to others and feel bad about it – remind yourself that you rarely see the hard parts of people’s lives because they purposely hide them or keep them private.
For more ideas and to check out the inspiration for this blog, head to https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/joyful-parenting/201708/25-simple-self-care-tools-parents.
This blog was written by Dr Aiyuen (Shannon) Choong, Psychologist at Your Mind Matters. Aiyuen is fluent in English and Mandarin, and is passionate about working with children from preschool years through to adolescence.
To learn more about Aiyuen, click here.