Daily self-care is mandatory – let me start with that. No matter your circumstances, self-care practices contribute to your overall sense of well-being. And as I mentioned in Why Your Well-Being Matters Most Right Now, practising self-care needs to factor as a top priority.
However, when you’re looking after your kids at home, self-care – for parents, in particular – can easily fall to the bottom of the priority pile. As a parent, I completely get that. My kids’ happiness & well-being is the most important thing to me. But I’m also acutely aware neglecting my needs will inevitably negatively impact not just me, but my kids too.
With this is in mind, let’s look at how we as parents (or caregivers) can continue to practice self-care…
It’s a 3-step approach
I’m hoping you already had some daily self-care practices in place. For me, it was exercising, meditating & enjoying a post-school run coffee in complete peace. How about you?
Look at what you were doing & if it’s something you could keep up – such as a relaxing evening bath once the kids are asleep – continue to do it. Simple.
However, if current circumstances mean you can’t maintain, you will need to adapt. What do I mean by adapt? Well, it’s taking what you currently do and adapting it to fit your current circumstances.
This is the camp I think a lot of us will fall into – I know all 3 of my practices fall into this area right now. For example, I can still exercise & meditate daily, I just need to change the time that I do them. I might include the kids in the exercise (we’re currently doing the Body Coach daily workout) or I might want to go for a run alone, which I’ll switch to a time my husband can cover childcare. I also make sure I meditate before the household wakes up.
But Alex, how do you have your coffee in complete peace? I’m pleased you asked! Whilst they’re eating their breakfast, I drink my coffee in a different room – maybe not in complete peace, granted, but it’s enough for now.
I hope you can see, it’s just about being flexible in your approach & identifying workarounds.
Top Tip for parents of pre-schoolers: If your child isn’t of an age to be able to entertain themselves for a reasonable period of time, how about asking friends & family to Facetime or Skype or Zoom etc & play games with your toddler? It will provide you with a bit of breathing space each day. Here’s a helpful list of games to play with kids over video call.
Look, I completely get it. Not everything can be adapted and you might have to (for a time) accept certain practices have to be postponed.
If you fall into this camp, please don’t write self-care off. Try to replace it with something you can do. Ask yourself, if I can’t do X what is the next best thing available to me? Find the answer and begin implementing right away.
Here are some 5-minute self-care ideas in case you need some inspiration:
Top Tip for parents of school-aged children: What were your self-care practices before your kids started school? Can you implement any of them now they’re home with you again?
Remember, self-care isn’t selfish – even now!
I completely appreciate how overwhelming it can be to consider how you’ll address everyone’s needs, what with home-schooling & working & trying to retain some semblance of a normal life – but you will figure it all out.
At this time, remembering your own needs in amongst the chaos will only encourage others around you to do the same. And if we’re all operating from a calmer, happier place it can only make our home environments a much nicer place to be right now.
Recommended Reading: How to Practice Self-Care Without Feeling Selfish
Are you a parent or caregiver? Are you managing to practice self-care right now or had you written it off? Do you have any top tips to share? Or any questions? Whatever you’d like to say, please do get in touch via the comment box below. I’m happy to help & I always love to hear from you!