In the safety briefing before a plane takes off, we’re always told to “secure your own oxygen mask first before you attempt to assist someone else with theirs”
This is because in an emergency, we need to equip ourselves with what we need (in this case oxygen) to have the capacity to help others effectively. This is what self care is.
The past few months have been a time of massive change, disruption and adjustment
While initially we may have been pre-occupied with how to make the changes work, as we have settled into new routines, our new reality has been settling into our minds as well.
Many parents are currently feeling stressed and overwhelmed by the ongoing uncertainty and pressure to function “normally” during what is still an abnormal time. Socially, we haven’t been able to see our extended families, friends or colleagues; while trying to balance working from home and remote learning with our children.
It is therefore important for parents to also prioritise their own health and well-being, so they can remain effective in everything they juggle in their lives.
Self-care is not selfish
As a busy parent, consider some of the following to ensure you stay healthy and capable of getting through your days:
Identify and acknowledge your own feelings
Knowing how you feel can help you pinpoint where the triggers lie and how you can address those. Take note of your mood every day and write down when your mood changes (what caused that change?).
Allow yourself to calm down
Try not to respond to things in the moment, especially when you’re angry or upset.
Get enough rest
This may seem obvious but often we do not rest properly due to our stress levels. Take 10 minutes out of your day to practice some mindfulness.
Do some form of exercise or stretching everyday
Get your blood pumping. Exercise helps to release stress hormones from your system.
Prioritise adult interactions
We can be so focused on our children’s needs and routines that we find ourselves neglecting our adult relationships. Touch base with another adult in the midst of everything that is going on.
Plan creative activities you can do with your family. Give your right brain a boost by stepping out of normal day-to-day tasks. Adult colouring books are great tools for mindfulness too.
Your body still needs all the important nutrients even if you’re at home more than before. With it being winter, make sure you take supplements to boost your immune system.
Try and get some alone time
Run yourself a bath with some lavender essential oil. Have a cup of tea in the sun for 10 minutes in the morning. Or read a chapter in a book you’ve been looking forward to reading for some time.
While self-care may differ from person-to-person, the essence is to prioritise the things which will allow you to cope on all levels – psychologically, emotionally, physically and spiritually. If you don’t do it for yourself, then who will do it for you?