How To Practice Self-Care As A Busy Parent
Most of us have heard the term ‘self-care’ but only a few of us really partake in practicing it. For a parent, it’s a lot easier said than done and, even if we want to practice self-care for the benefit of our own mental well-being and for the health of our families, it’s so often that we just get swept off our feet and don’t have the time to really pay attention to ourselves.
It’s especially more difficult for dads to attempt to practice self-care than it is for moms because there seems to be a stigma revolving around the practice of looking after and bettering yourself. This is why so many fathers find themselves brushing off the thought of really taking time for themselves and making small changes that could notably improve their lives.
But this doesn’t need to be the case. Even if you are a busy parent who often finds himself busy looking after the kids, there are a number of different ways that you can prioritise practicing self-care in your everyday life. Not only will it benefit you, but you might be surprised to see how it improves your family life as well.
Here are a few good tips and tricks that should help you learn how to manage your stress better and take the first steps towards practicing self-care for the long run.
1. Find Ways To Manage Your Stress
Again, this may be easier said than done, but it really is very important. Finding ways to manage your stress is going to allow you to lift that weight off your chest of always having to try to manage your home life. Even if it’s only small things that you feel trip you up, it’s still good to have various coping methods that you’re ready to put in place in case you find yourself having to face any little or big issues.
Too many of us think that ‘managing our stress’ is effectively done by reaching for a bottle of beer or taking a quite smoke break. While these methods can be effective, they only offer short-lived relief and aren’t a healthy option.
The best way to find a good, healthy way to manage your stress is simply trial and error. There’s something different and unique for everybody, so there’s no telling what may work for you just on the basis of what somebody else recommends. Take a bit of time for yourself when you can and try out different things such as hitting the gym, journaling, fishing, meditating, taking up a sport, or simply walking the dog. Whatever it is that works for you is going to allow you to relieve yourself of some of the stress and hassle that you’ve had to deal with throughout the day and it’s going to generally make you feel a whole lot better.
You’ll also find that, by managing your stress and channelling the rest of your energy into something healthy, you’re also going to be sleeping better at night without the extra pressure on your shoulders.
2. Work Around Brain Fog With Supplements
Waking up early to make sure the kids are set for school, working all day and then preparing (or ordering) dinner at night can be a tiring routine. In time, our effectiveness at work and as parents can decrease because there’s so much to remember and at the end of the day, no one is going to get it done except us. When we’re not able to think clearly, have trouble remembering things and overall feel mentally “foggy”, that’s brain fog and unfortunately a vacation isn’t always available. That’s why many start their day off with a cup of coffee in the morning, and often more cups throughout the day.
Caffeine for some is a life saver but with advancements in research there’s other alternatives to help stay sharp at work and home. Nootropics are cognitive enhancers that may improve “memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals.” While most nootropics contain caffeine, some brain supplements contain a patented form of coffee bean extract which can increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) - critical for not just alertness and mood like drinking coffee but long-term memory. If you take vitamins for overall health or protein to help muscle recovery after a workout, the same principle applies to taking care of your brain. Just make sure to research and use a supplement made with high quality ingredients and is third-party tested. Saving a few dollars buying generic cereal is one thing, but going cheap with a supplement meant to positively impact your brain is another.
3. Prioritise Getting A Good Night’s Sleep
The end of the day can be just as busy as the beginning, especially when having to get the kids to bed and get everything prepared for the next morning. While there are herbs to help you sleep, often changing our routine can have a positive impact. However, even though it can be a hectic time, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have the ability to make the changes in your routine to prioritise getting a good night’s sleep.
A lot of us aren’t aware that we often actually prevent ourselves from getting a good night’s rest by carrying out certain activities during the evening. Little acts, such as checking your phone before sleep, which emits blue light, can hinder your body’s ability to fall asleep.
The best way to prioritise your sleep and promote getting a good night of shut eye is to very literally switch off a few hours before calling it a night. Set your alarm for the morning and set it to one side. Instead of turning on the television, find a way to relax that doesn’t expose you to blue light rays – this could be reading, calming music, meditating – whatever works for you. Cut down on caffeine consumption during the afternoon to decrease the likelihood of the substance keeping you awake.
Whatever your days may consist of, and whatever your parenting style may be like, it’s important to remember that you do deserve to be able to take some time for yourself and unwind every now and again. These few tips should help you along the way.