Raising children is a full-time job but don’t forget about taking care of yourself.
Parenting children is beautiful. Wonderful. Fascinating. Fulfilling. Time consuming. Exhausting. Whether you are a parent who works outside or inside your home, any extra time is generally spent with your child or children. Changing diapers. Preparing meals. Helping with homework. Meeting their needs. You get the picture and probably know it well. And while it can all be overwhelming and often frustrating, we love it. Every minute. Okay, admittedly most of the time. And speaking of time…by the end of the day, collapsing on the sofa or in bed often takes the place of personal wellness. Whether reading a few chapters of a favorite book, taking a quick stroll around the neighborhood or doing some yoga, taking the time for self-wellness makes your life happier, less stressful and more fulfilling to the person that you put to the bottom of the list. That person is you.
Read on or write about it
Other than books to your child, which is, of course, very important, reading something for yourself can increase your level of self-esteem, stimulate your brain and give you a greater ability to cope with difficult situations. Reading something from a book, newspaper, or magazine every day can give you a greater understanding towards others and allow stronger feelings of relaxation. And did we mention that reading can be an escape from your everyday routine, giving you a natural entertainment high? Reading at least 30 minutes a week can also improve your memory, expand your vocabulary while stimulating your mind, body and spirit.
Another way to release stress and built-up feelings and emotions is to keep a journal. Many parents find that writing in a journal on a daily basis helps to clear their minds and get rid of excess anxiety that causes clutter in their brain. Being able to compartmentalize is the key to unloading excess information that float through your head. Basically, journaling can be a way to declutter your mind and take the heavy weight of stress off your shoulders. It feels great to start each day with a blank canvas, even in the daily routine of life.
Go take a walk… or a nap
Or a hike. Ride your bike. Dance. Making the time to do some sort of physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day is scientifically proven to decrease stress, depression and anxiety. Physical activity stimulates your endorphins which recharge your mind and body. A good jolt of endorphins can give you more energy to enjoy your child in addition to inciting better sleep.
Ahhhh… sleep. Another mainstay that parents often lack but so desperately need.
The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep every night, yet as parents we know that sometimes getting a good night sleep is seemingly impossible. Regardless of the age of your child, parents tend to be on high alert day and night, awake or asleep. And although children are “supposed” to sleep through the night after a certain amount of months, some parents find that funny. Hilarious. Envious. If your child is not sleeping through the night but takes a nap or two during the day, try to lay down during that time and rest or snooze. A 45-minute nap can increase your alertness for up to six hours from when you awaken, and a solid cat-nap of 15-20 minutes can help make up for the sleep benefits you miss from a solid night sleep.
Strike a pose, any pose
Mountain. Plank. Triangle. Warrior. Basic yoga poses help you to stay balanced in your mind and life, increase your muscle strength and flexibility. Additionally, yoga can help to balance your metabolism, stimulate weight loss, widen your range of motion and make you more aware of your breathing, thus increasing your natural flow of oxygen. By increasing the flow of oxygen to your brain and muscle tissues, you are increasing your energy, releasing stress and anxiety and grounding yourself to the flow of natural, positive energy from the earth beneath your feet.
Parenting is uncharted territory that can zap us of physical and mental energy. There are no maps to follow and we must be constantly on our toes. High alert. Overload. In order to take care of our children, we have to take care of ourselves. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. No need to feel guilty or selfish during these times of self wellness. Do it for your children but most importantly, do it for yourself. You’re worth every moment and you deserve it. Namaste.