As the world becomes more understanding of mental health issues on the whole, it stands to reason that we should all be making our own mental health and well-being through self-care a personal priority.
Self care is imperative for everyone, and yet, many parents neglect it. I certainly know I’ve been guilty of putting self-care and general well-being to the side when in fact, it should have been a priority.
Studies have shown that most people actually function more effectively when they are happier, which naturally comes as a result of self-care – the Happiness Research Institute is a great institution to look into if you’re looking for more facts and figures on this.
Personally, it’s far too easy for me to get carried away cleaning, tidying, and preparing, rather than ensuring I have enough time to really look after my well-being. However, knowing that my productivity can be determined by my happiness has given me a new perspective on well-being and self-care.
After I put my twins to bed, I spend an hour pottering about doing the chores that need to be done. I’m always sure to prioritise so the really important tasks are completed, but at the end of the hour, if the house isn’t tidy, it waits until morning. I leave it, and go and do something for me.
It goes without saying that self-care looks different for everyone, and it changes for me, personally, on a day to day basis. Sometimes it’s a good book and a hot bath, cooking a delicious meal for lunch the next day, drawing, or making music. These things nourish my soul and I do them when I have the energy, but sometimes watching TV on the sofa can be just as good. Whatever it is you do, it should leave you feeling happier than when you started.
As a parent, there are times when my evenings are derailed for one reason or another, and I don’t get my ‘me time’. That’s fine, it’s part of being a parent and it happens. When I miss out on that time, I make sure I try and incorporate some self-care into my daytime routine with the twins. It might mean going for a long, healing walk together, or perhaps just extra cuddles.
While there is no doubt that self-care is vitally important for everyone, I think it’s something parents in particular really need to take heed of. Approaching a new day in a positive mindset is brilliant practice and your positivity will be absorbed by your children -this positive mindset can often be achieved through self-care for many people. Even if you can only carve out time for yourself once a week, you absolutely should. I know when my twins were newborns, it was hard finding the time to look after myself, but I managed to snatch an hour here and there and it made a whole world of difference. Now, I’m a firm believer that looking after my own well-being has an enormously positive impact on my parenting.
I would love to know how other mamas implement self-care if you’d care to share!