Life is stressful. I get it.
Between work, making meals, cleaning house, driving kids to all of their activities and everything else we do as parents, we need a break. We need to have time devoted to our own personal health and growth. We need to feel strong, healthy, relaxed and happy. When we do, everything else goes more smoothly.
We’ve all heard about how important it is to take care of yourself so that we can take care of our kids and loved ones. Why don’t we do it more consistently?
If you are like me and many, many other parents I’ve talked to, it’s simply because we are so busy caring for the other important people and things in our lives that we forget to take time to care for ourselves. If you, like so many other parents, believe that life and parenting is not about selfish “me time” but rather that parenting is about sacrifice and doing what is best for “them,” that’s great! It turns out that self care is not just about you. When you spend time priming and caring for yourself it allows you to be more present with your kids, respond in more effective, helpful ways and be more productive and happy in all areas of your life.
The awesome thing about self care is that it’s not about escaping to some remote part of the world for a month or about bubble baths. It’s about resetting your nervous system. It’s about laying foundations of positive feelings; feelings of hope, peace, love, strength, accomplishment and growth. It’s about being a force in your own life. TRU self care includes a healthy balance of both validating and improving. It allows for contentment with what is, while still challenging ourselves to grow.
The TRU Parenting Self-Care Checklist
Do something that you don’t want to do but know will benefit you.
Make your bed. Write in a journal. Do some yoga. Eat some broccoli. Finish that thing you’ve been putting off, whatever it is. Doesn’t matter what it is, just identify something you know if is good for you that you regularly put off, do it now and record what you did.
5 – 10 minutes of exercise.
I always tell people that come to me for counseling, especially seeking relief from depression or anxiety that if I could only tell people one thing it would be to exercise daily. There is piles of research that suggests that exercise has a multitude of physical, mental and emotional benefits. It is a a huge force multiplier that makes everything else in our lives better and/or easier.
5 – 10 minutes of learning something you want to learn.
You have so many avenues for learning these days. You can learn almost anything you want without any cost other than your time and effort. A couple years ago I learned how to change my alternator on my car from a Youtube video. You could learn pointless trivia, how to play an instrument, code, build a business, strengthen relationships or whatever else our heart desires.
5 – 10 minutes of meditation.
There are many different forms of meditation. Some prefer to pray, while others prefer guided imagery, progressive relaxation or some other kind of meditation. Simply focusing on our deep, deliberate breathe can be a relaxing meditation that can revive you and improve your sense of well being and ability to manage stress. If you need some help getting started with a daily meditation practice check out the TRU Calm Relaxation and Meditation Series, 10 min. guided meditations you can use anytime. Click HERE to Learn More.
10 – 15 minutes doing something fun.
Just play. Read a book. Go for a bike ride. Truly enjoy yourself!
10-15 minutes in positive, engaged, undistracted conversation or activity with someone you love.
This is where you put aside all of the distractions including our tech devices/phones and look the people you love in the eyes. Play with them, talk to them and completely engage in your connection and exchange with them.
Express gratitude and smile.
Write down a few things you are grateful for. Write a letter, call or text someone a thank you or just let someone in your interactions know something you are thankful for. Gratitude has immense power to brighten and lighten any day. It is one of the most encouraging forces in positive psychology to improve mood and enlighten resilient perspectives. The act of physically smiling also has incredible power to relieve stress and improve outlook and mood.
These 7 short daily tasks can provide immediate enjoyment and stress relief but the greatest benefit comes on the others end of completion. The real payoff comes exponentially over time as we consistently practice them.
The great thing about this checklist of self care tasks is that they are not some abstract routine or practice that are totally unrealistic in the context of our daily lives. These are things that fit perfectly into our day to day responsibilities and can simply enhance everything we do.
If you are not already doing these 6 things, I challenge you to give them a try for 3 weeks and notice how you feel and how your life changes.
Print out this checklist below and monitor your self care for the next 3 weeks and let us know how you feel and what kind of changes you see in your life.