Wellbeing. The definition of this word simply means 'the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy'. It is something, as parents, that we strive to reach every day for our children. But, what about ourselves?
With little beings in tow, it is very easy to find yourself falling further and further down the to-do-list. As a parent, this will always be the natural order of things. This time of year can be particularly challenging when daylight hours are few and far between and, when it is light, it is often wet and windy too. However, it is also extremely important to look after yourself in whatever form this takes for you. I am sure that it will help you to feel better too.
Some people find five minutes to enjoy a quiet cup of tea is all they need to restore balance. For others physical exercise helps them to feel more level-headed. In my case, a long soak in the bath and a good book help me to wash away the cares of the day. Since becoming a Mumma, the opportunity of time to myself is rare but, slowly, I am trying to change that. I've taken audio books out of the library and listening to them helps me to relax. It's a twist on what I used to do to relax but it is familiar enough and it works!
In light of this daily struggle that we are all facing, I've decided to share 5 mantras that I am trying to live by:
1: Don't feel guilty for looking after yourself
As a parent it is all to easy to stop showering, stop eating, stop exercising. However, you can't pour from an empty cup and the little ones in your life that you are trying so hard to look after need you to look after yourself too. If you are noticing that you are beginning to neglect yourself then try to act on those signs as they show themselves. Slowly but surely you will begin to feel better and looking after yourself will become a habit rather than an opportunity.
2: Take time for you
I've always found the concept of time difficult. It's abstract, constantly ticking away. 'There's not enough time', 'We are running out of time' ,'It's time to go', 'This time next year'... There is always time to look after yourself. When looking after yourself it is important to slow down. There is no need to always be in a rush unless you thrive in living that way. Say no if it will help you to feel less anxious. Take time for you. A couple of minutes here and there soon add up.
When I say relax, I don't mean pretending to relax. You know what I mean. Pretending to relax is sitting on the sofa, on your phone, in front of the TV. This is not relaxing. It may help you to switch off from the realities of life but your brain will still be buzzing and I can guarantee that all that blue light will stop you from sleeping too. Instead, limit the time you spend in front of a screen (she says whilst typing on a laptop!). Talk to your partner. Go for a walk. Have a massage. Meditate. Go to bed early. Drink plenty of water. Eat well. Sleep. There is a reason we tell children to go to bed early - we should too!
4: Pool your resources
If you have other parent friends perhaps find a day and time which suits you all and share responsibilities. You can all watch each other's children whilst taking it in turns to run errands or sleep!
5: Ask for help
This last one is something I struggle to do. Somewhere, deep inside my brain, I have always felt that asking for help is a sign of weakness. Saying it out loud makes me realise that this is totally and utterly ridiculous. Everyone needs someone. We are all learning. Do not compare yourself to others and do not worry about what other people think. They are not living your life. As one of my favourite songs Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) by Baz Luhrmann states: 'Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it is only with yourself'. So, try to ask for help a little more and beat yourself up a lot less.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and that it helps you to find more of a balance between being a parent and being yourself. If you have any tips of your own on how to practise self care as well as being a parent I would love to hear them so please comment below.
Love, Thrifty Mumma X
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