Boost your mental health! Try our 5 self-care ideas for parentsPublished on
When you spend most of your time caring for little ones, it can be easy to forget your own needs.
But self-care is not selfish! Nor is it a luxury. To mark World Mental Health Day on Sunday 10th October, we’ve come up with some easy ideas to help parents make self-care a habit.
So it’s time to put down the juggling balls and indulge in some guilt-free me-time.
#1. The big chill
When you get some rare time away from the kids, it can be tempting to use it to catch up on overdue chores. Like that mountain of ironing, or the streaky shower door that won’t scrub itself. Yet - especially if you're already tired - spending some time relaxing could be far more beneficial in the long run. You don’t have to organise a full-on pamper session (though that would be nice). It could be as simple as taking a long bubble bath (with the door closed), lighting a candle, putting your feet up and reading a book or even listening to music that you enjoy. Just five minutes per day spent truly switching off can go a long way to restoring depleted energy levels.
#2. Do something you love
Before you became a parent, did you have hobbies that were swiftly abandoned once you heard the patter of tiny feet? It’s time to dust off that cycle helmet or dig out those dance shoes. Finding time to enjoy your own hobbies can boost self-esteem and help you remember who you were before becoming a parent. If you are happy, your kids will be too.
#3. Catch up with friends
Once you start a family, it can be difficult to spend time with friends that doesn’t involve the kids. Though you might feel tired and ready to curl up on the sofa most evenings, organising a future night out or meal with friends in the evening can give you something to look forward to. And you'll get a great wellbeing boost from a routine change too.
#4. Chicken soup for the soul
As a busy, sleep-deprived parent, it can be tempting to re-fuel solely with quick snacks on the go. This can mean you wind up surviving most of the day on coffee, biscuits and perhaps a few leftover fish fingers. Though you may get an instant hit from junk food or sugary snacks, in the long run it will zap your energy levels even further. You don’t have to avoid your daily cuppas, or even banish all sweet treats. Just make a point of sitting down for regular meals and try to nourish yourself with the good stuff - veg, fruit and protein, and lots and lots of water to stay hydrated.
#5. Talk to someone
Parenthood can be a tough ride and it’s easy to give yourself a hard time if you don’t live up to the impossible standard of the perfect parent we often see depicted in the media. Remind yourself you’re doing the best you possibly can, and your best is definitely good enough. But if you’re experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety or you think you may be depressed, do talk to a friend, your GP or midwife. Postnatal depression and anxiety is common in both men and women. Reaching out is the first step to better mental health and the ultimate act of self-care.
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