As parents, we without a doubt love our children; however, we often cast ourselves aside. We get so wrapped up in making sure our kids’ needs are being met that sometimes we forget about our own. At every point in our journey, we are reminded to take care of ourselves, to “keep our cups full” so we can pour energy into others without losing ourselves or feeling burnt out. Initially I would think, “Yeah sure, okay,” and probably roll my eyes and think, “If only these professionals knew how busy I was.” But the more parents I encounter, the more I realize how we really do need to be better about self-care.
I once realized it had been a year since I had last gone to the dentist. I had always been so good about keeping my appointments. So what changed? I became so consumed with making sure my family’s schedule was prepared and completed that I forgot to schedule my own appointments. Ultimately, my New Year’s resolution for 2017 was determined. I am going to take better care of myself. I realized that if I didn’t take care of myself and carve out some “me time” then I would be of no use to anyone else, personally and professionally. The SCAN Parent Resource Center in Virginia offers this helpful flyer for parents as a gentle reminder.
So where should you start? Here are three simple tips:
There is not one true thing that defines what self-care is. It can be anything that makes you feel good and uplifts your spirits. Some people take pleasure in unwinding with a good book or catching up on their favorite reality television show once the kids are asleep. For others, it is meeting a friend for dinner or catching up over a bottle of wine. Self-care can include attending a sporting event of your favorite team or spending more than you typically would on concert tickets to see a favorite artist--guilty of that one myself! Self-care can be as simple as believing in yourself and achieving a difficult goal, like running your first marathon. It can be finally getting around to cleaning out the garage or donating clothes you no longer need. Spend time with your significant other, get a massage or change up your hairstyle!
No matter how big or small it may seem, if it makes you feel the slightest bit better, that’s self-care. And no matter how much we may fight it or feel guilty for taking time to ourselves, I ask that you consider making self-care a part of your everyday life. You’ll feel better, which in turn will equate to having more energy to enjoy life and those around you. If you ever need an empathetic shoulder to lean on, feel free to call AZA United's Outreach Team. We’re always here to help!