Being a parent is hard work. Sure, it’s rewarding, but no one would ever pretend parents don’t have busy schedules.
This can make it easy to neglect your own wellness. Don’t let this happen! If you don’t care for your mind and body, both you and your children will be worse off in the long run.
You probably know this. What you might not know, however, is what you can do to make wellness a priority when you’re focused on raising a family.
These tips will help. If you’re a parent looking for ways to stay on top of your overall health, keep them in mind:
Focus on Sleep
This is key. It’s easy to lose sleep as a parent. This is particularly true if your children are very young. Research indicates new parents lose an average of two hours of sleep each night until their babies reach the age of five months.
If this sounds familiar, make a point of finding ways to get more rest during the day. Maybe you can take a nap during your lunch break. Perhaps you have time between errands for an extra half hour of sleep. You might even try to go to sleep earlier, even if that means skipping a favorite show.
Sleep is an essential component of wellness. You can’t be totally healthy if you don’t get enough.
Get Exercise When You Can
As a parent, you might not have time to head to your local fitness center or yoga studio for a class as often as you’d like. You’re simply too busy looking after your children at home (or taking care of any of the other tasks you need to address).
That doesn’t mean you can’t find time to work out in other ways. For example, if you’re stuck at home watching the kids, you can follow along with workouts on YouTube. During your breaks at work, consider going for a brisk walk outside the office.
Remember, exercise isn’t just about boosting your physical health. It also plays a crucial role in your emotional and mental wellness.
Look for Family-Friendly Activities
When your kids get older, you can start participating in activities together that help to boost your wellness (and theirs). For instance, instead of going to the movies with your kids or watching them play in a park on a Saturday afternoon, consider going for a hike together. You’ll get exercise, and, according to research, enjoy a unique boost in mental health that comes from spending time in nature.
Play can also give you a chance to prioritize wellness while spending time with your children. Maybe, instead of settling for a board game, you can choose something that involves more physical activity, such as putting on your favorite tunes and holding an impromptu “dance party.” Your kids will have fun while you’ll be relieving stress and burning calories.
Most importantly, listen to your mind and body. Staying on top of wellness as a parent requires paying attention to your health in the moment. When you do, you’ll know whether you’re able to keep up with your responsibilities, or whether it’s time for a break. Taking those breaks when you need them ensures you’ll be able to care for your family to the genuine best of your ability.