Simple Self-care Ideas for busy parents

SPOTLIGHT ON SELF-CARE

October is Emotional Wellness Month. And in a year that has brought its own set of unique challenges, it’s probably more important than ever that we take some time to check in on ourselves.

For months everyone has been carrying an extra load brought on by this global pandemic, and some days it’s easy to forget to be kind to yourself.

Being surrounded by a great online community of wise and wonderful people, I asked them the simple question “What does self-care mean to you?”.

The answers were varied, but the overall theme was clear. Taking care of yourself isn’t about expensive things or making an appointment. It’s about finding moments of calm, and making yourself a priority.

Here are some of the gems that my awesome gang shared. (And, if you’re anything like me, you’ll schedule in a few of these right away…)

It’s the little things

 “Have a cup of tea...even better if you can do it outside in the fresh air or looking out of a window.”

“Dancing with the kids or by yourself!”

“Deep breathing and meditation.”

 

The great news is that a little bit of self-care can be just that – the small things seem to make all the difference. Whether that’s taking a few moments of quiet (or cranking up your favourite tunes!), appreciating a simple pleasure was a key theme. 

So many of the responses came back to the idea of being grateful for these small things, and to take the time to stop and enjoy some precious minutes in your day that are just for you.

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Keeping those connections

“Regular conversations with close friends.”

“Catching up with my buddies on Zoom with a glass of wine.”

“Hugging my dogs often and walking them every day.”

We’ve all had to re-assess how we keep connected this year, so maybe it’s not a surprise that this type of self-care came up often in the responses to my question. Making the time to catch-up with family and friends for a chat, walk or coffee is a surefire way to lift you up. By sharing in the daily goings-on of your loved ones, you are also opening up your life to them.

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Nature is a healer

“Sailing always works for me.”

“Taking a walk and listening to the birds.”

“Riding my motorbike.”

“Getting some fresh air - sometimes with the kids, sometimes without.”

‘Just getting out’ is a really common theme that came through. Everyone had their own version of what that meant. But whether it was with dogs, kids, solo, bushwalking, beach walking, or a quick 15 minutes around the block, moving and being outdoors seems to do the trick for a lot of the people who responded.

With two active boys and a new puppy in my life, I’ll admit walking isn’t always exactly calming – but being out and about with my crazy crew does make me incredibly grateful. And outdoor yoga by myself, when I can manage it, always helps me re-set.

One thing to note here, quite a few of the responses mentioned the importance of not looking at your phone during time outdoors – or better yet, not taking it at all.

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A routine that’s just for you

“Date nights and daily walks.”

“I always fit a 30 minute Pilates class somewhere into my day.”

“My weekly deep skin care routine.”

For the record, I want all of these, today!  

There were lots of great responses about how people make themselves feel great, on a regular basis. And a lot of it was the things we’ve probably come to associate with the magazine-version of what self-care should be: bubble baths, face masks, chocolate.

But the important thing that stood out to me –again – was that it isn’t really the things that make the difference here. No one said they relied on expensive facial treatments or weekends away. Instead, it was about making those moments for yourself: carving out a little bit of time, on a regular basis, to do something that makes you feel gooood.

How about you make yourself a little list of what you are going to do to care for yourself over the next few weeks? Then schedule them in, and make them a priority. After a crazy year, it’s time to re-claim some time for you.

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