Self Care for Parents

Picture of dad holding a sleeping baby in a red Little Helper Diaper with bearded men on them. Text reads "Self Care for Parents" with Lil Helper Logo

Hey Y’all, it’s Erin.

So much of our focus as parents is on caring for our children. Self care for parents is just as important.

If we don’t take time to “refill our cups,” it can lead to burn-out. Our stresses can consume us.

I’m not sure about you, but when I’m stressed then I get irritable. When I’m irritable, I don’t have patience. Our little ones require lots of love, attention, and patience. So, taking some time to take care of ourselves is a vital part of caring for our littles.

This post is going to offer 5 strategies on self care for parents. Maybe you’re reading this as a parent who needs to implement these strategies. Perhaps you’re the loved one to a parent looking for ways to help them take some “me time.”  Either way, this post is for you!

Do Something Physical

GIF of multiple people doing an exercise motion with Gene Simmons

This can be a great way to get in time for yourself without having to stress about who can keep an eye on your kiddo. In the “5 Reasons to Baby Wear” post, I talked about how babywearing allows you to be mobile and handsfree.

I walk every day with my daughter on my back. Sometimes, we take 2-3 walks a day.

Getting outside with the fresh air has done wonders for me. She enjoys the ride, getting to take in all the new sights on our walks. If we’re having a rough day, it’s my go-to solution for both of us.

Image of Mom wearing a baby on her back with a pink and yellow flower print Tula Carrier outside
This is us on a walk!

According to this article from the American Psychological Association, your mood can be enhanced with just 5 minutes of exercise!

I know how hard it can be to motivate yourself to get active, especially in the midst of stress. But, doing something physical is a great strategy in getting some self care for parents.

 

Do Something For Your Mind

GIF of a black cat and young girl with blue hair sitting and taking a deep breath in. Words "deep breath" on image

I know. I just said that exercise helps you care for yourself mentally and physically. Doing something to relax your mind is also huge!

Reading, writing, listening to music or anything that allows you to take some time and relax your mind.

This one is great to try out during nap time or after you’ve got your child to bed. Self care for parents often has to take place around the kids’ schedules. However, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen!

Guided meditation is one of my favorite ways to relax my mind. This is simply the process of having someone (in person or recorded) guide you through a meditation.

Image of frog laying on a lily pad looking relaxed and taking deep breaths

People kept suggesting meditation to me, but my mind runs a mile a minute. Being able to listen and be “talked through” meditation really helped me.

I typically just search “guided meditations” on YouTube to find one to use.

Here is one that I used just this week:

You can do this sitting down in a chair, on your bed, or on the floor with a yoga mat. Whatever your preference, it will be amazing to do something for yourself mentally.

Do Something Social

GIF of 3 men doing a dance together

Self care for parents can be a team effort! Getting out with other parents can be amazing at boosting your spirits. Play dates can be just as fun for adults as they are for the kids. Find a great group of parents who you can plan things with for your kiddos and you!

But, sometimes you really just need a break. Let me just tell you, that’s okay. We love our children dearly, but we can’t be with them 24/7 and not feel some type of way.

We are people before we are parents. Sometimes it’s nice to just get out and be an adult without the kids.

I’m the queen of guilting myself around this. The absolute worst at making plans that don’t involve my daughter.

 

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But, I need to sometimes. If you’re like me, let this be the message you need to hear: It’s okay to spend some time away from the kiddos!

Time with other family members or friends is super great for your child’s social and emotional development too! They learn that they have a whole tribe of people who love and care for them.

 

Do Something Creative or Challenging

Image of a cartoon cat painting with the words "Stay Creative"

I started writing as a self care strategy. It allowed me to be both creative and challenge myself.

I love to talk. Talking in and of itself is self care for me, but writing took that to a whole different level.

Finding ways to be creative or challenged allows you to learn about other things and about yourself.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn another language. Do it!

Perhaps, you’ve wanted to make something– Painting, carving, cooking, sewing, whatever. Give it a shot!

It could be that nothing like that has really stuck out to you before. That’s okay too. Doing things like puzzles or adult coloring books would also fit into this.

Image of a baby trying to put a puzzle piece into the wrong spot

I like to challenge myself to learn something new every day. It could be from reading about a topic I’m interested in for the moment to learning something about another person.

This challenge could be a great self care for parents strategy that you could use too. It’s a simple, but effective way to take care of your own learning, passions, and overall well being.

 

Do Something to Pamper Yourself

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If I got to pick my pampering, it would always be a massage. Hands down. No thought or discussion needed. I’m a totally different person after a massage. If you’re ever thinking of a gift to give someone, this is always one of my go to suggestions.

However, there are so many other ways that you can pamper yourself.

One thing that I love to do at home is taking a bath. All parents deserve a nice bath!

My favorite thing to do during a bath is heat up a Lil Helper Cloth Wipe with some lavender or eucalyptus essential oils on it. I put in on my face and relax.

They did something similar at a spa once, and I tried to figure out how to replicate it at home.

Image of a guy saying "Why would you not take a bubble bath?"

If a bath isn’t your thing, here are a few other suggestions for pampering yourself:

  • Get a hair (or beard!) cut
  • Manicures and/or pedicures
  • Enjoy your favorite meal or dessert
  • Use a face or hair mask

 

Pampering is an excellent strategy to get some self care for parents, and I hope that you’ll make an effort to do it for yourself.

I hope that all of these strategies have given you some ideas about how to take care of yourself. I also hope that it has helped you think about how important it is for your own needs to be taken care of daily.

Which strategy will be the easiest for you to implement?
Is one of them hard for you to picture doing for yourself?
What are some ways that you take care of yourself as a parent?

 

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