Busy parents tend to put themselves last on their daily to-do list. Between running around to work and school and soccer games and dance recitals, it seems impossible to have time for yourself. Well this year, we’re challenging all the stressed and overworked parents out there to put themselves first and focus on these 8 simple self care tips specifically catering to a busy lifestyle.
1. Move Your Body Every Day
Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to be running 12 miles each morning before your coffee. Moving your body every day can be as simple as walking around the block with your baby in their stroller or walking in circles around the living room while your child is content with their favourite toy. Whenever you can, put yourself in situations that you will be forced to move your body. Join a mommy walking group, do stretches with your baby, do some body weight exercises whenever you have a spare moment. This tip isn’t about building muscle or losing weight, it’s about waking up your body so it’s not sluggish while you’re trying to do a million things at once as a busy parent.
2. Deep Breaths
Whenever you have a spare 5 seconds, focus on your breathing. This can be while you’re on hold, while you’re walking into a store or when you’re waiting at a stop light. This will help to decrease any tension or anxiety you’re carrying. Your life will still be stressful after you breath, but reducing some of that tension whenever you can will prevent it from building into something unbearable.
3. Manicure or Pedicure
Let someone look after you for a change. Ideally, this would mean actually going to a salon so that you can have someone pamper you. It would also have the added benefit of getting yourself out of the house. If not, invest in a nail buffer and some other tools so that you can give yourself a manicure or pedicure when you have the chance. This will be something that you do just for yourself without focusing on anybody else (something that seems impossible when you become a parent).
4. Join a Group
Often, being a parent can be very isolating, especially for new moms. Your life becomes about your child and you can lose touch with people your own age and communication level. Joining a mom group is something that you can do with your child but provides you with a social outlet and some intellectual communication that you likely aren’t getting from your baby. The benefit of a mom group? You can talk about your child for a solid hour and nobody will mind! Also a helpful way to pick up some tips and tricks that you might not have considered.
5. Find a Good Book
Have an ongoing outlet that allows you to zone out and transport into another world for a few minutes. Carry your book around with you so that you can read a couple of pages and take a few moments for yourself whenever you get a chance. Give your brain a workout and stimulate your mind in small doses if that is all you can schedule in. If you’re back to work, read the book on your lunch break as an escape from the real world.
6. Prioritize TV
Although this sounds pretty counterintuitive to what you normally hear about limiting screen time, prioritize the one hour a week that your favourite show comes out. Give yourself that hour with no distractions. Whatever you have to do – give yourself that time to watch your favourite show. Get your favourite snack (or a glass of wine) and sit still for an entire episode while your child is with your partner or your parent or whatever is necessary.
7. Listen to Music you Enjoy
Your 2019 may have been plagued by Baby Shark, but listen to music that you enjoy when you can. It might only be on your drive to work, but listen to something that transports you. Music is proven to have calming effects and can reduce the stress of being a busy parent.
8. Prioritize Sleep
Lastly, prioritize your sleep. This one will likely seem impossible to many parents out their, but lack of sleep has proven to have a number of adverse effects. Although there is often the mentality that you can only get things done when your child is asleep, that doesn’t have to be the case. Try to perform tasks with your child if possible, or find someone to care for them a couple of days a week for a few hours so that you can get everything you need done. This will allow you to sleep when your child is sleeping instead of running around trying to get everything done until the inevitable wake up call of a screaming baby. Having a relaxing night time routine would aid in the quality of your sleep as well. This doesn’t have to be an hour and a half affair as often seen online. It can be as simple as a quick shower, lighting a candle, moisturizing and then reading your book for 10 minutes.
With a new year ahead of us, it’s time for a fresh start. With these 8 self care tips for busy parents, make this the year of caring for yourself as well as your loved ones. If you’re only able to incorporate one of these tips, that’s a step in the right direction. Let us know in the comments if you currently do any of these tips or which ones you plan to start!