help4yourfamily

Create the family you want to have

Quick self care for parents

Drunk water

Drunk water (Photo credit: eyesore9)

Written by, Kate Oliver, MSW, LCSW-C

Many parents get into the habit of believing that in order to nourish ourselves, we need a grand gesture or a day away from the children. While that is nice sometimes, we also need to find smaller moments throughout the day to fit in body and soul nourishment. Especially around this time of year, when we find that we are doing more for others, it is important to fill our own tank as well.

One of the issues I hear from parents when it comes to self-care is that there is no time or money or that when you do start taking care of yourself it just reminds you of how little care you have been getting. Well, the last issue is for another post on another day (I am planning on writing that post), but in the meantime, here is a list of quick and easy self-care ideas that even a parent with a small child can find a moment in the day to do. Most of them cost little or no money. Please feel free to use the ones that work for you and lose the ones that don’t. I want to include this list in the book I am writing and would love it if you would share any other quick and easy self-care tips you have. You may notice that you already do some of them, like drinking water. For this list, the idea is not to just drink the water, but to enjoy doing it and to mark it in your mind as something you did today to take care of yourself.

  1. Put lotion on your feet before you put your socks on.
  2. Take a deep breath, hold it for a slow count of two, then let it go. Repeat two more times.
  3. Try EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) to enhance the good feeling you are having, or to clear away a difficult feeling. Here is a video of Cheryl Richardson teaching this technique in five minutes, but if you want to really take care of yourself, you can get the book by Jack Canfield and Pamela Brunner Tapping Into Ultimate Success (you can find this book quickly on amazon by clicking the amazon link on the top left of the screen).*
  4. Set a timer for five minutes and start clearing off a surface of your home that has been bothering you. Stop when the alarm goes off. Look at what you just accomplished for yourself!
  5. Sit and drink a glass of water. If you want to get really fancy, cut a slice of cucumber, lemon or apple and put it in the water. Allow yourself to enjoy the water as it cleanses your body.
  6. Light a candle that you have been saving for a special occasion. Now is the special occasion.
  7. Get the app on your phone called Quick Reminders (it’s free) and type in an affirmation for yourself then tell your phone to remind you of your affirmation regularly.
  8. Take a moment and stretch your body. Start at your head and slowly and gently circle your head around clockwise, then counter-clockwise. Circle your shoulders around, circle your wrists and elbows. Circle your hips around, clockwise, then counter-clockwise. Bend your knees. Circle your ankles around. Wiggle your toes. Bend and touch your toes, then reach up to the sky. Open your arms to the world and breathe in happiness.
  9. Imagine your body filling with a colored light that feels like the right color to you right now.
  10. Take a shower and enjoy the feeling of the water on your skin. Even better, take a bath.
  11. Treat yourself to reading an article you have been thinking about, or an extra chapter in the book you have next to the bed.
  12. Close your eyes for five minutes and take a power nap.
  13. Put your hand on your heart, close your eyes, and thank yourself for the good things you have done to make your life good in this moment.
  14. Say a prayer of thanks for the gifts that you have.
  15. Listen to a song that puts you in a good mood.
  16. Look up a funny video on YouTube and get a good laugh.
  17. Find a picture of yourself from when you were little, and tell the child in the picture some of the good things that are coming his or her way.
  18. Purchase a deck of gratitude cards, angel cards, etc, and pull one for yourself. Remind yourself of the message on the card.
  19. Give yourself a mini manicure or pedicure.
  20. Step outside and look at the sky. Touch a tree or feel your bare feet on the ground. Take a moment to enjoy nature.

I am certain that I have not covered every self-care tip out there, this was just the first 20 I could think of. I am so curious to know what it is that you do to take care of yourself quickly during the day. Please share!

Related Posts:

The Art of Breathing (help4yourfamily.com)

Parent Affirmation Monday- Being Present (help4yourfamily.com)

*See disclaimer page

December 13, 2012 Posted by | affirmations, help for parents, parent support/ self improvement | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Parent Affirmation Monday- self-care 9/3/2012

Reading a book

Reading a book (Photo credit: Ed Yourdon)

Written by, Kate Oliver, MSW, LCSW-C

If you are like most parents I see in my practice and you read the title and know this week is about self-care, you might be thinking about skipping this weeks affirmation. Don’t! It might be the most important affirmation of all. We have all heard the warning on the airplane where we are instructed that should the pressure drop and the air masks come down from the ceiling we need to put the masks on ourselves first. Have you ever thought why that might be the instruction? Well, think about it. If you, like most parents, would have the impulse to help your child first and put the mask on them, then you run out of time to put the mask on yourself, there you are passed out and unable to help your child. You are not able to make sure they keep the mask on, stay calm and exit should there be an emergency landing.  Your children end up taking care of you when you do not take care of yourself.

Let’s give an example on a more practical level, because really, how often are you going to need to put an air mask on your child in an airplane? Hopefully never. But what about this? Think about a time when your house was messy. I hope for you this is harder to do than it was for me. Are there days when you felt capable of cleaning your messy home, or at least part of it and you tackled the job? I bet there have also been days when you could not stand to look at it and the thought of cleaning it just made you feel overwhelmed and awful. What is the difference? Was your house messier on the bad day or was it just that your internal state was different? The same is true with our children. When we feel depleted we feel less able to tackle the issues with them as they come along. Rather than handling a bump in the road like forgotten homework or lost shoes or a ornery child the way we would like, we lose it and go into fight or flight mode, constantly reacting without giving real-time or attention to workable solutions that feel good to you and help your child.

Besides minimizing it’s importance, another thing that keeps parents from self-care is the faulty belief that it costs money or takes too much time. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, if you can get a day at the spa or go play golf with your friends, that’s great but you do not have to spend a lot of time and money on self-care. The idea is to be aware that you are doing it when you are taking care of yourself and to enhance the moment with gratitude for how smart you were to fit it in.

Some quick and easy ideas for self-care: You know how you put a note in your child’s lunch sometimes just to be nice? Get a post-it note, write- “You are amazing” put it in your gym bag or your treadmill and get a smile the next time you open your bag to do something for yourself. You know how you get your kids a special snack at the grocery store? Grab yourself that lotion you wanted to try. Every night before bed, use it. By the way, I know several men who put lotion on their feet at night and sleep with socks on who have very happy significant others because there are no more scratchy feet. It takes less than one minute. You are worth 30 seconds right? Instead of grabbing a bag of chips or a cigarette, treat yourself to a few nice deep breaths. Put a poem or inspirational quote by your desk at work and say it to yourself.  You know how you think of things to entertain your kids when you take them places? Remember to put a book in the car for you to read- maybe one of those meditation a day books. I particularly enjoy Melody Beattie’s Language of Letting Go Meditation Series of books. You can sit in your car while you wait for the kids to get out of school, or for those few minutes your infant or toddler is sleeping in the car before you wake them up and read a page of inspiration and reflection. Poof! Self-care.

This weeks affirmation is:

I give myself permission to take care of me. I know that when I do, I am a better parent.

P.S.- It’s good to be back from vacation. I missed you all! Later this week, I’m going to send out a request that I think will help us all with self care.

September 3, 2012 Posted by | affirmations | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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