As parents we all know how important it is to look after ourselves. When we can remain linked to our own well-being, our children will be overflowing and we will be more compassionate, caring, happier parents. However, awareness and doing are very different things.
The truth is that the struggle is real. It’s difficult and with everything going on in the world now, lockdown is tough for all of us. Here are some of my suggestions on how to take care of yourself whilst juggling everything at home...
1. Practice Yoga
Sure, we love to hang out whenever we can in our gym gear but practising yoga is a perfect way to get into your "me time" and deeply nourish both your mind and body. Need a few ideas on where to start? Check out YouTube and to get started right away, you can find a few beneficial poses here: 5 Great Yoga Poses for New Moms.
Too busy to cart your little one around? Stretching loosens the muscles, thus relieving muscle tiredness and increasing blood flow. Here are 7 Incredible Benefits Of Daily Stretching.
Choose a healthy snack
Eating healthy has a lot of benefits but don't start off feeling guilty about the tub of ice cream you had last night. Start fresh today and reap the benefits by choosing something new, something with whole grains or healthy fats. Nutritious snacks can improve your overall health and help with weight loss. Sometimes we confuse thirst with hunger so drink a large glass of water before reaching for that snack and then, if you’re still hungry grab something healthy but satisfying. My go-to is a handful of raw cashew nuts and a few dates, this provides loads of healthy fats, proteins and some sweetness from the dates to curb those cravings!
Go for a walk or run
Self-care requires us to take a routine approach to caring for our bodies. Making time to get outside and enjoy nature for 30 minutes or so each day will work wonders for our body and mind. You can also take your newborn out with you. I love to look up at the trees and sky while I’m walking, breathe slowly and deeply and think about all the things I’m grateful for, no matter how small.
Call a friend you haven't talked to in a while
Connecting with others is good for the soul! You can do this through Facetime or Skype too, so you can see what your friends and family are getting up too during these uncertain times. I’m really appreciating everyone in my life now that we’re not able to get together, it’s amazing how creative we can be when we’re forced to think outside the box! Weekly family quizzes and fun nights on Zoom are a must in my family right now and so much fun!
Tidy the house
Physical clutter in the home creates mental clutter in the mind and can negatively impact us and our children - I’ve always been amazed by how my children reflect outwardly what I’m feeling internally. You don’t have to get rid of loads of things but streamlining and decluttering will significantly reduce stress, clear your mind and make for a more calm and serene environment for everyone in the home.
With everything going on right now, loads of families and elderly people are alone and are struggling to get food so why not donate to your local food bank? It’s been proven that helping others makes us happier and when thinking about Christmas, I actually get more enjoyment from giving presents than I do from receiving them.
If you're interested in learning something different, or just being taken away for a moment - reading helps relieve tension and brain fog. So, work the biggest muscle in your body and grab a book or even your tablet or kindle. I love a good novel that takes me away from it all and transports me to another world or a good ‘self-help’ book by Eckhart Tolle or Wayne Dyer. These are amazing for me when I’m stressed, worried or over-thinking. When I’m tired I pop my earphones in and listen to them on audio whilst falling asleep… bliss!
Up to 60% of the human adult body is water! The brain and heart are 73% water, the lungs are about 83% water and the skin contains 64% water, even the bones contain 31% water!!. Drinking plenty of water makes your skin glow, helps combat tiredness, helps strengthen your muscles, relieves achy joints, and so much more. My house is filled with plants - if I don’t water them regularly they begin to wilt and look sad and droopy and it’s the same with us, we need to drink plenty and nourish our bodies with good food or we begin to wilt and droop too!
Take a long shower or bath
Once the children are in bed, take a minute (or twenty) to relax, reflect and rejuvenate. Submerging ourselves in water is something we do for personal hygiene, leisure and health. The benefits of taking a bath have been scientifically proven and can ensure optimal health of the mind and body. I love to soak in an epsom salt bath with my favourite essential oils - I’ve too many to get into that now but before bed, lavender is of course a favourite. Epsom salt provides many physical and mental health benefits such as stabilising the mood and relieving stress, anxiety and depression. It can help relax muscles and relieve muscular pain and can even help to release a headache or migraine. Some researchers believe epsom salt can even reduce inflammation in the internal organs and is beneficial for chronic fatigue syndrome!
And finally, revel in the absolute joy of being a parent… smother your kids in kisses, breathe in the smell their hair, sing with them and dance to crazy music with them because this is the most beautiful, the most important, the most impactful thing you'll ever do! Oh, and you're great at it!