As parents, we lead very full lives. We care for our families, we work both inside and outside of our homes, and sometimes, we forget to take good care of ourselves consistently.
What is this thing called self-care?
Self-care is engaging in activities that support us in creating harmony in our lives, which improves our mental, emotional and physical health.
Answer this: How can you be there—emotionally, thoughtfully and even physically—for family, friends and colleagues, if you are not well taken care of yourself? If you cater to others’ demands before finding balance in your life, how do you have the energy to nurture or support others?
How does self-care show up in your life?
What are your self-care habits? How often do you engage in activities that feed your mind, body and soul? How do you feel when you make the time for yourself? Do you feel selfish or self-indulgent? Or proud and self-actualizing?
What habits have you developed? These are just a few examples of the kinds of habits we can create to support us in living our best lives.
Getting enough sleep (7-8 hours per night)
Time for play (non-directed activity)
Connecting others who are supportive
Lucille Ball said, “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” I believe her. And I feel that shifting the focus to self-care is equally true… Take care of yourself first. You really have to take care of yourself to be there for anyone else and give your best to the world.
Are you living a life that fuels and energizes you?
Self-care is a value, although values are often thought about in abstraction—we generally don’t check in with how they are showing up in our lives. If you focus your attention on the value of improving your self-care, how will your life be different? Even if we’re doing well with creating the harmony we desire, can we do even better?
If you haven’t yet created a rhythm for yourself, write this task into your planner every day to ensure it gets done. Or even better, write it on the family calendar. We can start conscious conversations about self-care and developing and maintaining healthy habits. Think about how much more powerful it is to be the example we want to be for our children. And when we miss a beat or get out of step with our self-care routine, it can become an opportunity to recognize the challenge and even talk about it with our children. We also can be a model of a fallible, yet thoughtful and resilient human being.
Creative Ideas for Improving Self-Care— for You and Your Child
Here are seven suggestions. Choose one or more that works for you, share your success and begin a path of greater self-care in your family.
Map your days, all 24 hours, for a week—create a page or file and note how you spend your precious time. There’s most likely room for a little less of something and a little more self-care.
Check in with how you are living your values and write a manifesto about the life you want to live.
Create a vision board with a focus on self-care.
Make a list of your 10 daily habits— and then see how many you can do every day.
Start a 100 Day Project (100DayProject. com) which focuses on creativity, play and/or self-care.
Start a meditation practice (try Headspace. com for a different approach).
Get help in making time for more fun in your life—look at Plan Your Fun at icoachidesign.com.
Jill Greenbaum, Ed.D., is passionate about personal transformation. Her practice centers on wellness. She works primarily with teens and their parents as they face challenges on the path from high school to college campus. She helps individuals shift from anxious, confused and overwhelmed to confident and successful in reaching their goals. Through coaching and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), she helps her clients gain clarity and connection in their personal lives and relationships. For more information about the suggested ideas and her services, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 201-294- 1828. Learn more at MajorInYou.com or TappingWithJill.com.http://TappingWithJill.com