Guest Author - Elaine Dayton
Parenting is a full time commitment, ensuring that kids needs are met can take a massive toll on energy levels. No matter if you are a working or a stay at home parent, the days are long, the stress can be relentless and the days can just roll into each other.
Parents can feel they are always in the role of mum or dad. Adolescence do not work to a timetable. They are not always able to recognise a good or bad time to off load or disclose their worries at an appropriate time. Because parenting can take its toll, it is vitally important from a physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing that parents can learn to take care of themselves.
It is not mean or selfish to say ‘I need some me time’.
As parents develop a belief system that says, it is ‘OK to negotiate some time to revitalise’ the message given to the kids is ‘there are times I am not available except in emergencies. It allows the whole family to recognise that we all need some privacy.
If parents feel well, the whole family benefit. Parents work hard to ensure that the wheels in the family home keep rolling. This is especially true if the teenager has a special need or is going through a particular difficult time. Time away from home can be difficult if parents have to arrange care. In these situations, parents have to find a space within the home to revitalise.
Taking time out clears the mind, revitalises the batteries, and allows energy to flow. In fact with regards to maintaining a good mental health and reducing anxiety, it is a MUST!
Here are some tips for a healthy parental wellbeing.
*Listen to music, whatever feeds the soul or mind. Music has an effect on the autonomic system. Depending on the music played, blood pressure may be lower, breathing regulated, and music can have a physiological effect on the mind. You may wish to do this sitting quietly taking some deep breaths. In any situation where you have chosen to listen to a favourite piece of music you will benefit.
*Touch the inner child in you, play, have fun, play with the kids or partner. Play bat and ball use the skipping ropes it does not matter, just have fun! Reconnecting with the inner child is good on so many levels. If your adolescence sees you having fun, they can connect with you in a fun way. You may choose to have fun away from the kids that is OK just go and play!
*Walk the dog. Ok even if you do not have a pet, a walk will awaken the mind. You will feel freshen, stir the spirit and move the body. Whatever the season some time outside, alone, will enable you to gather your thoughts. Even twenty minutes can give enough time to feel revitalised.
*A bubble bath soaking away the aches and pains of the day will feel good for the soul. Light a favourite candle, place a do not disturb sign on the door. Use the best quality bubble bath or oils you can afford and soak. A warm nest of soft, fluffy towels to wrap into when stepping out of the bath with feel wonderful.
*Stop feeling guilty. Each day parents overall and in the main, do the best they can with the tools they have. So learn to Self-sooth. Mentally learn to let go of guilt, shame, or any other negative framework, which inhibits the mind.
*Eat well- good food feeds the body. Plan meals to include food to boost energy levels, revitalise the taste buds by trying new foods. Invite friends around. Dress the table with the best crockery.
*Take up a new interest or hobby. Stop procrastinating you need time to be you. Even though you decided to take the path of becoming a parent does not mean you gave up on being you. The very fact you have teenage kids in the house means you have been a parent for a few years. Finding a new interest, will kick start the mind into taking on new ideas.
*Take time out with the partner or spouse. If you can arrange date nights, brilliant, just spending time as couple will help you reconnect. Find the fun and play, just the two of you. You will be together as a couple long after your adolescent children have left home. If you are a couple or a lone parent, remember you have adult needs too.
There are many ways to let go of being a parent for a short time. Everyone will feel the benefit. If your teenagers see you happy, enjoying life, spending time with friends you will show them you are a well-rounded person. They will be able to recognise that you are a person in your own right. You will not take anything away from your family; on the contrary, you are giving your well being priority which is where it should be!