Most parents will put their children first in all situations. This can lead to parents not thinking about their own needs. However, in order to be a good parent, you will need to make sure that you look after yourself. If you are stressed, malnourished or unwell, you will not be able to be the best parent that you can be. Although sometimes circumstances mean that we cannot help our situation, there are things that we can do to make sure that we look after ourselves so that we can be better parents.
Eating well can be one of the first things that we forget to do. Women tend to eat healthily during pregnancy and may also give up smoking and drinking to provide the best environment for their baby. However, once they have had the baby they may just forget about being healthy. There are a lot of good reasons for keeping healthy though and most of us will know what they are but there are some even better reasons for parents. As a parent, you will have extra responsibilities and stresses and this puts stress on your body. If you can feed your body well then you will have the energy to deal with that stress. So spoiling yourself to a healthy diet will really benefit you which will have a good effect on your children. Obviously eating healthily will set a good example to them as well and you will want them to be healthy and want to feed them healthy foods. Try not to feel guilty about your eating though, eat what will nourish your body but if you need a treat then have one without guilt. If you feel guilty then it will not be enjoyable for you and will be a waste of time having it.
Relaxing is something that can be hard to do as a parent. There is always something to worry about with regards to what the children are doing, wat their future might hold or how much they are costing you. However, if we do not time to relax then we will be more likely to get angry at them and also more likely to get unwell. Therefore relaxation is really important. It does not have to be as laborious as you may think though. You do not have to meditate, go to yoga or sit in the lotus position although these things may help some people. What helps an individual relax is very personal and so it is matter of finding something that works for you. Below are a few ideas
- Take a bath
- Read a book
- Go for a walk
- Watch a comedy
- Practice mindfulness
- Do some deep breathing
- Eat some chocolate
- Sit in the sunshine
- Do a crossword
- Do some art/colouring
- Sew or knit something
- Have a holiday
There are so many possibilities it is just a case of thinking about what will work the best for you and your family.
Find time for self
It is so important to have a bit of time for yourself. It may not be possible to do this very often or for very long, but it can make a big difference. Even if it means that you pop to the shop when your partner returns from work, you have time to read a book when the children are asleep or something like this. Just having a little bit of time away from the children can just help you to regroup and think about something else. You may feel that you do not need it, you are happy and love being with the family, but just a short break can just recharge our energy in a way that nothing else can do. Even a few minutes where you can do something for yourself rather than them can make a big difference.
Getting a good quality sleep can be really difficult when you have children. In fact the very fact that you are being you are being told you should have it, could make you feel stressed because you are not and know that you cannot get it. There will be times when children just do not sleep well and they will be waking you up constantly. However, there are ways that you can get more sleep yourself. Going to bed early can be really helpful so you get some sleep earlier in the evening and then if you are awake a lot thorough the night you have still had some sleep. Do not think of going to bed early as a punishment but think of it as a treat for your body. If there are two adults at home, then you could get some sleep once you have given the children their tea while another adult looks after them before they have to go to bed. Do consider napping in the day if they nap as well. You may feel there is not time as you have so much to do, but if you are well rested it will be easier to fit in all of those jobs that you need to do.
You may think that exercise is the last thing that you need to do as it is likely that you are tired and always on the go anyway. However, doing specific exercise can be really helpful. A walk in the fresh air, for example will be great for you and also for the children if you take them with you. You can try walking quickly to increase your heart rate or running along with them. You can also do some strength training at home, which need not take long and can just help your body to be stronger and more able to cope with the stress that you put on it. Exercise can also give you energy rather than drain it if you do the right amount. Do not overdo it and you should feel energised.