As parents weíre often so busy making sure everything is provided for our children that we often abandon our own needs, but taking care of ourselves is also vitally important in providing for our children. Not taking a moment for yourself can heighten stress level to the point that parents become short and impatient with their children, which at times can result in them misbehaving or getting into mischief. How can we take care of ourselves? There are a few things that are helpful.
First, give yourself a quiet moment. If youíre someone who canít take that moment in your own home because all you see staring back at you are the things you should be taking care of, take a quiet walk outside. Fresh air and sunshine can be very revitalizing and uplifting. But if the weather is cold or bleak, make up an excuse to run an errand and either drive in absolute silence or listen to your favorite music. Music has been proven to be linked to positive mental health. If the drive to your supposed destination is too close, take the long way around to prolong that long needed moment to yourself. A long, hot bath behind a locked door can also provide that much needed moment to yourself.
Sometimes, for whatever reason, you canít squeeze in that moment for yourself. When you hit those moments where you are overwhelmed with stress,force yourself to stop, step back, and regress to a kid yourself. And no I donít mean throwing a temper tantrum. But dropping everything and doing something enjoyable with your kids, is not only beneficial to them, but can be a huge stress reliever to you. Go outside and play catch, go play in the snow together, put together a puzzle, bake a bunch of cookies and then eat most of them, watch a movie together. Even if your kids are adolescents, youíd be surprised how many of them love this chance as well to forget about all their stresses and just enjoy simple time together.
Give yourself time for your own friends and your spouse. We get so busy with parenting, we start to lose touch with friends, and even though we live in the same house as our spouse, sometimes weíre on autopilot so much to get through the days, that we pass each other by but rarely have the chance to interact with one another. Plan a girls or guys night out to relax and enjoy yourselves. Plan a date with your spouse. Maintaining a positive relationship with your spouse can benefit the whole family as it models a good relationship and creates a positive environment in which to raise your children.
Donít forget to have a sense of humor. Sometimes when everything becomes so overwhelmingly difficult and exhausting and you just want to cry, you just have to laugh at all the craziness that results from the hectic lives we live these days as parents. Parenting is hard, and sometimes we are our harshest critics but weíre all doing the best we can with what we have. And itís okay to stop for a moment and take care of ourselves because taking care of ourselves is also going to benefit our children.