When you take time to care for yourself, you are better able to care for your child. Even a few minutes of “you time” can help you to recharge so that you can parent at your best. Stress causes wear and tear on a person, inside and out. Keep these tips in mind next time you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Stay (Virtually) Social. Spending more time at home than usual can take a toll. Reach out to loved ones and friends with a phone call or video chat. Keeping your distance from others doesn’t mean you need to go it alone.
- Sleep. When your little one lays down to rest, try to do the same. If he’s having trouble settling down, sing him a quiet song that you loved when you were small (one that calms you down, too).
- Use water to relax. As you’re bathing your child, soak your hands in the warm water and give yourself a little hand massage, taking long deep breaths as you do so.
- Keep a journal by your bed. Before you fall asleep, remember something funny, kind, or surprising that your child did today. Write a few lines that capture the memory. If you are feeling stressed or down, you can read through your memory journal.
- Fill your cup: Get a glass of water and find a comfy spot to sit. Let your child know, “I’m just going to sit and (read/think/breathe) while I drink this glass of water.” Explain that you’ll be available once the glass is empty. Children have difficulty keeping track of time, and this is a concrete way to help them understand you’re taking a few minutes to yourself.
- Turn on the tunes! Never underestimate the power of music to change the mood. Put together a playlist of songs that make you feel good. You might create different playlists for different moods (one to relax, one to energize, and so on).
- Get moving. Taking movement breaks throughout the day can help alleviate stress and keep you well. Even if you’re stuck inside, try a few small-space, body-weight exercises like squats, lunges, and arm-raises.