Parenthood can be rewarding, but is it ever busy, too! Between taking kids to school and tackling your other to-dos on the list, some days it may feel like you don’t get a minute to yourself. And even when you hear about self-care, who has time for it?! Or worse, guilt that you shouldn’t be taking time for you!
But self-care has little to do with self-absorption and everything to do with health and wellness. In fact, investing in your health can be one of the best ways for you as a parent to not only meet your own needs, but also your family’s. Once you view self-care through the health coach lens, it’s easy to see that it’s anything but selfish.
So, what is self-care?
Self-care is built on habits big or small, that focus on your health and wellness. Self-care can be anything that prioritizes your own physical, mental, and emotional health. Making time for self-care is a great way for you to make sure your own needs are being met, so that you are able to show up for yourself and your family. Because self-care and mental health are connected, neglecting one can have a negative impact on the other. Sometimes, parental stress or burnout may become severe enough that you can’t overcome it on your own.
1. Physical Self-Care
There are various ways you can focus on your physical self-care. Start by asking yourself:
Am I getting quality sleep?
Am I fueling my body with whole foods?
Am I getting enough exercise?
Taking care of your body is essential for it to run efficiently. That means getting enough sleep, maintaining a well-rounded diet, and moving your body in a way that makes you happy. Studies have found that there’s a strong connection between your body and your mind, so when you’re caring for your body, you’re also giving yourself some mental self-care.
2. Social Self-Care
Humans are social beings, and socialization is key to self-care. But often, it’s hard to make time for friends, and it’s easy to neglect your relationships when life gets busy. If you find yourself not sure how to ramp up the social self-care, ask yourself:
Am I getting enough face-to-face time with my friends?
What am I doing to nurture my relationships with friends and family?
3. Mental Self-Care
Mental self-care can involve practicing positive self-talk, self-compassion, and acceptance, or it can involve taking time to read your favorite books, to watch an inspirational movie, or take an interesting new course—maybe even becoming a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach!
Some questions to ask yourself when thinking of mental self-care can be:
Am I making enough time for activities that mentally stimulate me?
Am I doing proactive things to help me stay mentally healthy?
4. Emotional Self-Care
It’s important to tap into your emotional self-care by focusing on creating healthy coping skills to deal with uncomfortable emotions, like anger, anxiety, and sadness. Emotional self-care may include activities that help you acknowledge and express your feelings on a regular basis. When considering your emotional self-care, ask yourself:
Do I have healthy ways to process my emotions?
Do I incorporate activities into my life that help me feel recharged?
5. Spiritual Self-Care
Nurturing your spirit doesn’t have to involve religion. It can involve anything that helps you develop a deeper sense of meaning, understanding, or connection with the universe. You can find spiritual self-care through breathing, yoga, meditation, reading, or simply walking in nature. Some questions to think about while on your spiritual self-care journey are:
What questions do I ask myself about life?
Does my life bring me fulfillment and joy?
Involve the family!
Self-care, like healthcare, isn’t a “one size fits all” strategy. You will need to actively create a self-care plan that is customized to your needs, and start off with small attainable goals. Self-care doesn’t necessarily have to be a solo act. Share your good habits with your family, especially your kids! Because just as self-care can have an effect on you, it can also provide the same benefits to your child’s mental and physical health. Additionally, self-care can teach kids how to react to challenging situations and is shown to improve empathy development.
Functional Medicine Certified Health Coaches understand how important it is to carve out time for self-care. If you find yourself struggling with how to get started with your own customized self-care routine, check out our “Find A Coach” health coaching directory to find an FMCA-trained health coach to work with!
Published: May 7, 2021