We all know how we can be kind to and care for other people, but how can busy parents make sure that they’re taking time to be kind to themselves?
Parents so often put others first and it’s important to remember that to take care of others well, you first need to take care of yourself.
Plus, children emulate the actions of their parents, so if you are kind to yourself, they’ll mirror that behaviour and carry it through into their own life.
How can busy parents make sure that they’re taking time to be kind to themselves?
We’ve done some research and listed a few of our favourite ideas below…
Say “yes” to help when you need it
It’s so important to remember that you can’t be the best parent you can be without looking after yourself first, and that there’s no failure in asking for or accepting offers of help from friends and family.
Find joy in the little things
Big life events are amazing, but often it’s the smaller, less obvious moments that bring true joy and contentment.
Make sure that you take time for yourself each week to be present in the moment and do something for YOU. This could be something small that you wouldn’t have given a second thought before you became a parent, like soaking in the bath, listening to your favourite album, reading a book, or enjoying a trip out to grab a coffee.
Appreciating special moments with your little one can be lovely too. Try to treasure story time before bed, and soak up every milestone, because they grow up so fast!
Give yourself permission to say “no”
It can sometimes be tricky, but having the conviction to politely say “no” and set boundaries when you really don’t want to do something like go to a certain event can empower you and help you take time for yourself.
Avoid comparison and judgement
It’s so important to remember that everybody’s life choices are different, and unfortunately, it’s never been easier to compare yourself to and judge others thanks to social media!
Remind yourself that if your family is happy and healthy, then you’re doing the right thing for YOU!
Step outside and take a breath
Looking at the sky and your natural surroundings is a lovely way to help yourself feel grounded when things get a bit too much. Even if you’re in the city, try to notice small pieces of nature around you. What colour are the leaves? Can you see any birds or bugs? What’s the weather like?
Getting outside and enjoying some fresh air is a great way to clear your head. It really puts life’s everyday worries into perspective and can help you reset and recharge. Little ones also love exploring outside, so it’s great to encourage them to appreciate the natural world as they grow and develop, too.
A lot of the time, the things we say freely to ourselves in our own heads are pretty mean! We tell ourselves things we would never dream of saying to someone we love, or even to a stranger on the street.
It can be really hard, but try to treat yourself as you would a close friend or family member.
Keep a phrase like “I am learning. You can’t learn without making mistakes” or “be kind to yourself” at the forefront of your mind, and when things don’t go to plan, try to make a habit of thinking it or even saying it out loud. The act of retraining your instinctive thought patterns takes time, but it’s worth it!
It’s really beneficial for kids to see their parents practice self-compassion, and it can teach them how to manage and communicate their emotions effectively, and when we bring children up to have compassion towards themselves, they’re able to be kind to others. It’s a win-win!
Every day is a new day
Try to remind yourself that tomorrow is a new day, and don’t hold onto guilt about things that’ve happened in the past. Putting this into practice and looking at every day as a fresh opportunity will not only lighten the load for you, but for your little one too!
If this content reminds you of your own experiences or makes you think of someone you know and you feel concerned or uncomfortable, please head to our support page for information about perinatal mental health resources that may be able to help.