A Parent’s Guide to Self Care

Does adding one more thing to your family’s routine sound impossible? We see families every day who are overwhelmed by the growing demands of their lives and we’re here to suggest some support: self care.

Now before you roll your eyes, taking intentional time for your family is actually an important way to prioritize your mental and physical well-being. It also carves out time in your schedule for your family to connect, which in turn gives you all energy to be present in the rest of your busy schedules.

So where do you start in creating a self-care plan?

First, if you want to lead your children in self-care, you have to start with yourself. What behaviors are they watching you exhibit throughout the day? How are you responding to the stress of the day? Children learn by example so your own personal self-care is crucial. This can include things like setting aside time for exercise, routinely journaling or meditating, taking breaks when needed and prioritizing your mental health.

Now how do you pass your efforts along to your family? Start small. Get together with your family and discuss what small self-care activities you’d like to incorporate into your daily routine. Consider taking an after-dinner walk, cooking a healthy meal or having a family game night. Even these little moments of time can provide opportunities to reset and recharge.

Over time, your family will begin to seek more of these moments. It’s now time to work together as a family to create a self-care plan. Create a space of open communication where everyone can share their thoughts and feelings. Ask questions such as:

What activities give you energy?
What activities calm you down?
How do you like to spend time with your family?
 

From here, you can work together to decide what self care looks like and how it can be incorporated into your lives. Creating a plan as a family builds compassion as you hear one another’s ideas. You will likely find your children more invested in this process and are more likely to participate once they realize they have a say in what this plan looks like.

One suggestion we do have when constructing this plan is to set boundaries around sleep and screen time. Sleep is essential for both physical and mental health, so make sure to prioritize getting enough sleep as a family. Establish a consistent bedtime routine that works for everyone.

Furthermore, limit screen time around bed time. The blue light in phones stimulates an already active brain. Sleep will be easier to come by if screens are put away by a consistent time every night.

Remember that practicing self-care is a process, and it’s important to be patient and flexible as you work to integrate these activities into your family’s routine. By prioritizing self-care as a family, you can help everyone feel more connected and supported, and help ensure that everyone is thriving both mentally and physically. For more support on connecting to yourself, your family and your community, connect with us today!

Our Intensive Outpatient Program is in-network with United!