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Prioritising you: A guide to healthy, stress-less parenting

Posted on 25 July 2018

“I simply don’t have any time to myself”, comments a busy mum, rushing her child to the park with a buggy full of shopping.

We’ve all been there. The kids are busy and they are getting busier. The food lists are growing and so is the washing pile. Working, dog walks, family days out fill the diary and before you know it, the weeks are flying past and it’s time to book the haircuts, dentists and optician appointments.

In the midst of it all, you wonder, “What about me?”

You’re not alone. Parents spend less time doing leisure activities now than in 2000, according to a recent survey.

Although it seems strange to consciously schedule in some self-care, the fact is, we don’t often prioritise ourselves. The following relaxation techniques may help you to chill out, especially if you struggle to “switch off” your brain.

Reclaiming “Me-time”

Talk it out. Do you have a friend with children of a similar age? Can you have a chat on the way home from school drop-off or on your way into work? Our texting culture means we don’t have a good ol’ fashioned chat as often as we used to. By talking things out, we build relationships and work out problems. Blogger Sophia A Nelson writes, “We need the connection that can only come from conversation.” Picking up the phone and connecting with someone is therapeutic and meaningful.

Get up 15 minutes earlier and do something just for you. A longer shower or reading the news. Sometimes getting just a few minutes of uninterrupted time before you start the day can relieve daily tensions. One blogger claims getting up and going for a quick walk whilst your other half is home means you get quiet time, fresh air and a great start to the day all in one.

There are some amazing “life hacks” for saving time as a parent that give you more control during those crazier moments in the day. Tips on meal planning, using a “shoe organizer” to help get ready items for the next day and setting daily reminders on your phone all help you to reclaim your time.

Join a book club. Forcing yourself to do something for you is sometimes the only way you will actually do it. Give yourself a deadline to read a book and then allow yourself to read it – guilt free! You can even share the book with your partner and discuss it over dinner. Makes a change from the usual conversation around children.

Say no to something for your children and choose you first. It’s okay to say no to helping out on the school trip and go to the gym instead. You can choose how you want to spend your time and it’s not selfish to do so. In the book, Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More by Doing Less by Christine Koh and Asha Dornfest outlines the need to carve time out for yourself by putting self-care on your to-do list.

By looking after you, by focusing on simplicity and decluttering your schedule to make a bit more time for you, your family life will benefit. There are plenty of resources out there to help put you first. You deserve some you time.