Self-Care Tips for Parents

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) - Sometimes to be the best parent that you could be, you need to take some time to fulfill your own needs. Clinical Psychologist Dr. Tim Hope shared tips on how to take care of your own needs.

Self-Care Tips for Parents 

Ideas for meeting your physical needs:
Exercise, on your own and as a family
Sleep (as much as you can), and nap when your child naps
Eat right: food affects mood, so try to cut down on sugars and processed foods
Get or give a massage
Cuddle, kiss, or make love with your partner
Take a hot shower, or a long bath (add a little lavender oil to increase relaxation)
Have a cup of chamomile tea or warm milk (or hot chocolate with marshmallows!)
Go for a long walk outdoors – on your own, or with your child in a sling or stroller

Ideas for meeting your emotional and social needs:
Spend time with friends
Spend time alone each day
Prioritize the activities that make you happy
Be creative / flexible about social activities you can work around your child’s needs
Schedule time each day to talk to another adult
Allow yourself to cry
Find things that make you laugh
Find a way to have a weekly date with your partner
Say no to extra responsibilities

Ideas for meeting intellectual needs:
Take your child to the library, but pick up something for yourself while you’re there
Listen to radio programs, audio books, or podcasts from the web while you drive, or while you work around the house
If your child is doing an art project, sit down and create your own art!
Write – stories, a blog, a personal journal – get your thoughts out on paper
Watch documentaries on TV, or on DVD from the library or Netflix
Identify a project that would be challenging and rewarding
Return to old hobbies you may not have pursued since baby’s birth

Ideas for meeting spiritual needs:
Go to religious services
Meditate or pray each morning, or each evening
Do volunteer work or help out others spontaneously
Spend time outdoors
Write in a journal – reflect on your new life
Be open to inspiration and awe
Contribute to causes you believe in

Every morning when your alarm goes off, or shortly after your child wakes you, spend one minute in bed deciding what you are going to do for yourself that day. Start small – promise yourself just 15 minutes a day. You will soon see the rewards (for yourself, and your family) of a little bit of “me time.”

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