Life is crazy, calendar is always full, and the To-Do list never ends. Does this sound familiar to you? Does it sound like your life with a few minor changes? If it does, please understand my friend that you are not alone. *cue Michael Jackson’s song, You are not alone, now*
“Life” can consume our lives so much that it becomes a tad bit overwhelming. Oh who am I fooling, it can becomes so overwhelming sometimes you no longer care about the mountain of laundry or if your family’s eating a healthy meal for dinner tonight. As parents, we become so overwhelmed and engulfed in taking care of others, so focused on checking the boxes on our to do list that we burn ourselves out. Since the to-do list only grows longer and no one doesn’t show interest in letting you up for air anytime soon, take your moment for self-care whether you can be alone or have to involve the children. Now, at the moment when you feel like you don’t have nothing else to give, steal the moment for a short self-care session.
However, you can find a few minutes out of the day to indulge in self care with or without our little humans. Everyone has time to engage in some type of self care. You may not have time to do it without your child or children. You may not have thirty minutes or an hour to dedicate to it. You may have a minute or five minutes but guess what… that is perfectly fine.
Self care isn’t always in the form of a vacation away from the children, a spa day, or a date night with your significant other all the time. Although all of those options sound very relaxing and fun, not every parent has the time, the funding, or a support system watch the child/children to partake in such luxuries without their kids. That’s why you have to steal your moment to ground yourself and to regain your sanity even if you have to include the children.
A short of amount of time for self-care can do wonders for your mental, physical, and emotional being. A few minutes can be enough time for you to take a few deep breaths to lower your blood pressure and ground/center yourself. It may be enough time to increase your patience and decrease your anxiety. It’s remarkable how doing something for a increment of time can lift your spirit, reset your sanity, recharge your battery and decrease your anxiety.
To help you, here are a few ways that you can practice self care either with or without your little person/people.
Listening to your favorite podcasts or audiobook. You can listen while cleaning the house, on your commute to work, folding clothes or packing for a trip. I recommend using your best judgement for listening to your favorite podcasts or audiobook with the kids. I know some of my favorites are a little risky and carry a viewer discretion is advice notice with them.
Meditate for a few minutes. You don’t have to sit in the traditional meditation pose. You can meditate while breastfeeding. Meditation can be done in the shower with or without a simple mantra. One mantra I use often is “wash away the negative energy and allow the positive energy to flow in.” Or another mantra you can say is “please give me the strength and energy to (fill in the blank)”. Again, you may or may not have time to meditate with or without your child or children so include them. Use apps which have meditation exercises for children. Headspace is an app which has meditation exercises geared towards children of all ages. Meditation can teach them techniques to manage their emotions while helping you to clear your mind, organizing your thoughts, and managing your emotions as well.
Quiet time. Sleep when baby sleeps is a very common yet good piece of advice from many veteran parents. If you aren’t too exhausted, take a few minutes to enjoy some quiet time. Five minutes of meditation (not necessarily sitting in the “traditional” position) can reduce your blood pressure and clear your mind. If you fall asleep while meditating, then enjoy the sleep. Or watch a few minutes of your favorite tv series. When my son was an infant, I would watch Game of Thrones while he was napping. Journal your thoughts. Outline or write a blog post. If you can’t reach your laptop, use the notes app on your phone and email it to yourself when your done. Open up your planner and quickly plan the next day or the next two days. If you can’t find quiet time, buy your quiet time by including your child or children in your quiet time activity. For example, have your little one pick out a cute journal or planner from the dollar store. During quiet time, you can explain to your little one that it’s time to write in your journal or planner.
Get a quick workout. Do a quick set of ten arm bends when lifting the baby, toddler, or big kid. Before you put them down, try to do a set of squats or lunges. Take a stroll around the block and take deep breaths of the fresh air. While washing dishes or fixing dinner, try a few calf raises or high knees. Remember a few minutes of exercise is better than none. If your child is involved in a sport, you can exercise with the team while standing on the sidelines or during their practice. You can also exercise with your child while reviewing the techniques they learned during practice.
Read a book. While the kids are playing in the backyard or taking a nap, get comfy on the couch or pull up a lawn chair to read a few pages of a book. If it’s raining outside or the children won’t settle down, try giving them a book to read to themselves or have them sit down to do an activity that doesn’t require too much of your involvement such as coloring or a puzzle. Or maybe have them watch a few minutes of their favorite tv show while you read the last few pages of a chapter. The quiet may only last a few mins but you are a little further in the book then you were ten minutes ago.
I am certain you are a great parent. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading this post. However, you aren’t your best if you aren’t taking some time for yourself. A few minutes here and there to do a quick exercise or read a few pages from a book may not seem like much but the time adds up. A few minutes of doing something you enjoy is better than no time at all. And if you have to include your children, it’s okay because you are still doing an activity that you like to do which doesn’t involve folding laundry or washing dishes unless that’s your self care activity. Take a few minutes for yourself even if you have to steal them.