What is self-care? Self-care is taking care of yourself!! As a caregiver of small children, you are probably thinking, “When was the last time I did something for myself?” With the stressful holiday season quickly approaching, it is extremely important to develop some self-care skills.
Self-care is something that you do for YOU (not for your partner, kids, or work). It is a time to re-charge your batteries so you can feel taken care of in a hectic day/week. Self-care should be something that you enjoy doing and can easily incorporate in a very busy schedule and week. Activities will depend on your interests, time available, and extra spending money (don’t worry there are plenty of free activities to do too!) It is especially important to talk to your family members about taking time for yourself, they will not know you need time unless you tell them you do. Coordinate times/days with family members to watch the kids or schedule/arrange times to complete your self-care when they are in bed or at school.
Self-Care ‘On a Budget’ Suggestions:
*Take a warm shower/hot bath (especially at night before bed) You can keep it simple as a time to relax or include bath bombs, music, and candles if you want.
*Before bed, take a few minutes to massage some lotion into your hands and feet.
*Try 10 minutes of guided meditation before bed to relax and practice mindfulness. There are tons of options on YouTube to browse through depending on preference. Some videos have someone speaking and some have nature sounds. Try a few and decide what works best for you!
*Sleep!! This is something that every parent needs. Communicate with your family members and friends to schedule a play date or when you know your child will be out for another activity. If your child will be home, take a nap with them. Naps are great, especially in the winter months!
*Try yoga/stretching at home. Locate your tightest muscles and look for some stretching positions and yoga poses to help alleviate that stress. Start with 10 minutes in the morning or right before going to bed to help stretch and relax your body. (YouTube is great for searching for new pose!)
*Watch a movie or T.V. show that YOU want to watch. Relaxing in the comfort of your own home can be just as relaxing as sleeping.
*Take a walk or find a local and free indoor track at a nearby park district.
*Talk to a friend/family member that you trust/have them over/or go to their house
*If you play a musical instrument, practice.
*If you quilt, sew, or craft. Feel free to get creative!
*Read a book at home in a cozy spot
*Give yourself a facial. I like to make a honey and cinnamon one. (See the link below)
*Go to a movie by yourself. Even if you are not interested in the movie (no kid’s movie) it is a great spot for a quiet adult only nap.
Self-care is something we all do to take care of ourselves: mentally, emotionally, physically, nutritionally, and spiritually. Having insight and developing new skills will help you deal with stress and manage difficulties in everyday life.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker