Self-care is important. Having a healthy relationship with yourself helps you to have healthier relationship with others, as well as model healthy relationships for your children.
In last week’s post you read about why self-care is so important. Now that I have you on board with practicing self-care, you’re probably thinking “But how do I even begin to take care of myself when I have a household to run?”
That’s a fair question. But it’s not as hard as you think. Self care is taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Read below for the ultimate list of self-care strategies that you can begin today.
Taking Care of Your Physical Self
Why it’s important: A healthy body is a healthy mind!
Strategies for self-care:
- Regular medical care: Make sure you get your routine physicals! Also make sure you like your doctor so you’ll go to him/her and are more likely to follow his/her advice. Ask questions when you go and make sure you feel your thoughts are heard.
- Safe environment: Making sure you feel safe in your home is essential. This means everything from feeling safe with spouse to living in a crime-free neighborhood.
- Eating healthy: Good nourishment helps your body and your mind function more fully. Consult with a doctor or dietician about which foods are right for you.
- Exercise: Exercise is super important and is not so much a chore as it used to be. There’s everything from yoga, to Zumba, to biking clubs. Even doing daily chores can be considered exercise. Exercise in a group setting can be inspirational, but time for yourself too, like quiet walks, can also be great.
- Good sleep hygiene: An unrested body is a cranky, tired, moody mind. It’s difficult to take care of yourself, let alone your children, if you haven’t had good quality rest. Limit naps during the daytime, watch your caffeine intake in the evening, and stay off your phone, iPad, and TV half hour before bed for the best quality of sleep.
- Affection: Connecting through touch is an essential part of being human. Holding hands, hugs, kisses, and yes, even sex, can all be part of your self-care routine.
Taking Care of Your Emotional Self
Why it’s important: Doing emotional self-care helps you to have control over your thoughts and feelings, rather than feeling like your thoughts and feelings have control over you. Whether your thoughts are out of control, or emotions are running high, practicing self care helps you to get back in control and handle life that much easier.
Strategies for self-care:
- Affirmations: Repeating to yourself daily messages of support and encouragement every morning can get your day off to the right start.
- Learning to self-soothe: Skills that help you regulate your emotions so you can better handle the stress of the world around you will go a long way in helping you and your child. Check out this awesome post about creating your own self-soothing kit.
- Reaching out to your support system: Do not go through stress alone! Look through your circle of people who you trust to support you and talk to them! Whether it’s a coffee date, a phone call, or a girls weekend away, find the time to nourish those friendships.
- Cuddle with pets: There’s been so much research on the benefits of cuddling our pets. If you don’t have one, find an animal shelter near you, or even check out a horse ranch for some equine therapy!
- Go to therapy: One of the best things you can do for yourself is checking in with a therapist to take an emotional inventory of your challenges. Therapists are there to guide you toward personal growth, and aid in healing limitations that are getting in your way from healthy functioning.
Taking Care of Your Spiritual Self
Why it’s important: Spirituality, whether it’s a belief system in God, gods, the universe, a higher power, or a power within yourself, can be a helpful framework for living. Caring for that spiritual aspect of yourself can help ground you when your world is spinning.
Strategies for self-care:
- Go to your house of worship: A community of worshippers with a common message of hope and healing can be rejuvenating to your soul.
- Self-reflection: Using mindfulness to check in with yourself is essential for helping you to find your compass and get you through your day.
- Meditate: There are tons of guided mediations on youtube. Find one that works for you.
- Take a walk in nature: Nature is a powerful reminder of how the world around you continues to grow and evolve despite the stresses in life. Find a park near you to walk barefoot in the grass, or find a local hiking trail. Bonus points if you take a member of your support system along with you!
Bottom line: You are deserving of caring for yourself as much as you care for others. A well rounded approach that addresses the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of life, will help you to center yourself as you go through life taking care of your kids.
Please comment below: What aspects of your life have you noticed needed self-care? What self-care strategies would you add to the list above?
Jenmarie Eadie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who is passionate about helping children to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. She received her Master’s in Social Work from Arizona State with a dual concentration in Children, Youth, and Families; and Behavioral Health. Her proudest accomplishment is following her dream of opening up a practice that is designed to focus on the whole family. She currently serves families in Southern California.