I always joke and say that there are no manuals or how-to guides for parenting… But really, all jokes aside, there are none. When you have children, you pretty much become a living D.I.Y. (do-it-yourself) show and if you’re lucky, you have women in your life who have been there before you to help guide you in the right direction. You really are figuring things out as you go along. Some times, things go amazingly well and some times, well you just want to go in your room with a bottle of wine (not glass) and close yourself off from the world.
Having to be everything at all times to your children can be draining and can wear on you mentally and physically. In all honesty, I got to a point in my parenting journey where I did not know who I was anymore. I felt utterly and completely lost. It took a minute for me to figure out a balance that works for me and I’m sure most parents will agree with that. I don’t think we factor in just how much we give of ourselves when we become parents.
With that being said, here are some self-care tips that we have found useful on our parenting journey (hopefully these will give you some ideas too):
Go For A Walk
This might sound simple but, this basic idea helps soooo much! Taking a breather can help you get a little bit of clarity and the fresh air doesn’t hurt either. If you have small children, strap them into their strollers and take them on the walk with you. It gives you an opportunity to talk and reason with yourself. When my boys were little, it would even help them fall asleep. Even now on my lunch break, I still go for walks, it helps me think clearly. Try it, I promise it works.
So, for me, therapy has been a life-saver. This has not only helped me sort out all of the emotions that come with parenting but also those feelings of despair from different life situations, such as broken relationships. With my therapist, I work through everything that I am feeling about myself. For many, there is a stigma associated with therapy but, for me, it has become essential to me living my best life. I have gone through a whole host of emotions in my therapists’ office and probably will continue to do so for a long time to come. Most insurance companies cover therapy so, make sure you check to see if yours does and find someone that you are comfortable enough with to open up and be honest. This will put you on the path toward being your true and authentic self and watch a transformation happen in your life.
Spend Time With Other Adults
So for me, I would get so wrapped up in baby/kid world that I wouldn’t come up for air. This would cause me to get overwhelmed quickly. There’s only so many times that you can hear the same kid song before it starts to drive you a bit crazy; so having a little time to spend with other adults can help break up the monotony. Meet up at a coffee shop and talk over a cup of hot tea or coffee or if you’re really pressed for time, plan to do one of your weekly routines with a friend. Like, go grocery shopping together because you have to do it. You will literally accomplish two goals in one.
Life throws so many curve balls that you may find yourself overwhelmed with it all. Everyone around has run you so ragged to a point where your days and nights turn into a blur. Out of those many hectic days you may only find 20 glorious minutes to yourself, take those few minutes to pray or meditate. It can be a special corner in your house, a tranquil space out in the yard, or for me it’s when I’m driving home. I cut the music off and let peace overtake me as best as I can. Prayer/meditation can help you find your center. It can help piece together what you deem your purpose in life to be, or help you find answers to what you may be searching for.
If you are into writing start a prayer/meditation journal. Your journal can include things like: what you are grateful for, prayers for loved ones, simple prayers of thanksgiving, short term goals, long term goals, dreams and aspirations. Make it unique, and make it yours!
Listen to an Audio Book
The best way to tune the world out is through a good set of HEADPHONES! An audio book is a downloadable book that has been voice recorded. It allows you to listen to the book instead of actually reading it. Great way to multitask! Apps like Audible, Libby, and Amazon allow you to download books for free with a subscription, or for a small fee. If you are on the cheaper side of living you can download the overdrive app. Overdrive is an app that allows you to use your library card to “check out” audio books as if you drove to the library and checked them out yourself. Whatever you’re in the mood for whether it be a romantic escape or a little night time thriller, there’s an audio book for that.
Music is therapy for the soul! Dancing is a perfect way to let loose and release. Whether you’re dancing silly with the kids or by yourself in front of the bathroom mirror, dancing is a great way to feel uninhibited. When you learn to let yourself go you experience a new attitude that suppresses your innermost fears.
A creative outlet is a great way of relieving pent-up frustration and anxiety. Creativity helps you to release deep rooted negative emotions. Searching for your creative passion enables you to set personal time for yourself and allows you to be slightly selfish while you expand upon a newfound skill. Please keep in mind that it should always be a fun experience when exploring your creative side and should never feel like a chore. If you ever feel discouraged or overwhelmed, try out another outlet. The goal is to have effortless fun and lower your cortisol levels not raise them. Hey, you never know your creative outlet may turn into a multi-million dollar company! Here is a minuscule list of creative outlets that you may want to try:
- Soap making
- Candle making
- Creative writing
- Design – web, home, fashion
- Wreath making
- Brewing or artisanal soda making
- Screen printing
- ATV riding
- Kick boxing
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