It’s way too easy to neglect ourselves as parents. With all the demands that come in a family, you have both every reason you should make time for yourself and every reason not to!
But we can’t sustain looking after everyone else and not ourselves forever. You might run full of energy for a while, even a few years, but it won’t last. We are brilliant at nurturing others, we gotta start nurturing ourselves!
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As a wife and mother in my family unit, I always look for ways to be the best support I can for my family in whatever they do. But I am no good to them if I don’t look after myself first!
I get tired of starters, then I can start to feel overwhelmed, which turns into feeling resentful.
And the worst part, when I think about it, none of it is their fault, they didn’t make me feel like this, I DID IT TO MYSELF!
I am the one who didn’t make time to rest my own mind, body and soul.
Like the oxygen mask analogy (If the planes going down, you have to put your own oxygen mask on first or you won’t be able to save anybody!) We all know it’s true, so why don’t we do it?!
Think of it like this; if our child wanted to play a sport, we would pay the fees, buy the gear, take them every week to lessons, sit and wait while they learn, drive them home and NOT EVER question the commitment or the purpose behind it. It’s obvious WHY we take kids to sports lessons!
We have to start thinking like this for ourselves again. Not in a demanding way, but in self-preservation, ‘looking after the asset’ kind of way.
Being part of a larger family unit has shaped who I am. But I am Wendy first, a woman with abilities and needs. My plans and goals are for myself but they are ultimately for the benefit of my family. I have to look after myself as a person to be of any use long term. Also, it benefits our children greatly to see us caring for ourselves like this.
There are a number of things that I enjoy doing for myself, and it’s been different for each season of my life when I have been able to fit those things in.
- I routinely visit a cafe of choice for a break from the demands of home, sometimes with friends, sometimes not.
- Walking 5K every day while I listen to audio books or podcasts gives me 45 mins to an hour of time to myself.
- Recently I started teaching myself to draw from YouTube and I do that in the evening instead of watching television
So my encouragement to you is to decide what you NEED personally to renew your energy? Deciding in advance what it is that truly relaxing. Something you keep wanting to do or never get to because of all the distractions, do that.
It amazes me how many challenges we can deal with when we are refreshed and have the energy to face them.
Anything you decide to try will always depend on the time and level of support you have available.
Choose something and begin to do it when you remember, if you like it I guarantee you will do it again. There will be something, ONE THING that you can do that will lift your overall mood and give your heart and mind rest from the day-to-day grind.
- Go for a walk or run
- Call a friend
- Go for a walk AND call a friend!
- Listen to an audiobook or a podcast
- Listen to music (earbuds or loudspeakers)
- Write; a journal entry, a story or a letter
- Draw / Paint a picture
- Baking bread or cupcakes
- Take a bath or a long shower (lock the door!)
- Visit a coffee shop with a friend or solo
- Browse a bookstore or library
- Start a sewing project
- Take a nap
- Sit somewhere quiet with a refreshing drink
- Stretch / Breathing exercises
- Read a book or magazine
- Get a manicure or pedicure
- Watch a favourite TV episode or a movie
- Cooking a special meal
#CAUTION HERE: You have to make it happen before you really need it.
Can I suggest you prepare time in advance that you think might work? When your partner is home or when you can get a caregiver. Morning is best for some, an evening for others.
Maybe it will only happen on the weekend for you? We often don’t know right away when the best time is, but try something and if it doesn’t work, try a different time.
The important thing is to mentally prepare a time that you know might work and prioritise it.
Be sure to do something you love to do, just for you.