By Laura Moresi, Psychologist
At the centre we work with parents that are ready to do whatever it takes to ensure the best for their children. But, when the subject of parent self-care is raised this is often dismissed as unnecessary, not the current focus and sometimes even selfish. We know raising children is an incredibly important job, but looking after yourself helps you do the job well and allows you to give your children what they need to grow and thrive.
It is all too common to see a self-care post on popular social media sites that highlights the need to ‘treat yourself’ with bubble baths, long walks on the beach or bingeing the latest Netflix series. While these activities are important and can leave you feeling great, they are not reflective of true self-care and can often leave parents feeling that self-care practices are frivolous and/or selfish.
True self-care is a broad concept focused on improving your physical and emotional wellbeing and involves any action you do to improve your health. Self-care tends to fall under the following six categories:
When discussing self-care with families at our practice, the focus is often on practices that fall under these categories and support them in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Examples of self-care that may not be as readily posted about can include staying active, eating balanced meals, getting as much rest as you can and prioritising tasks to manage your stress levels.
A further reason to prioritise your self-care is that self-care and mental health are strongly connected. When parents do not make their self-care a priority we can observe increased signs of stress and burnout. Parents can manage stress by using routines, staying connected to others and making time for themselves. Even a few minutes alone for a cup of tea or some breathing exercises can help bring your stress levels down. If feelings of stress continue, parents can also access their own mental health support.
Parents are often so focused on caring for their children that they do not always take time for themselves. But when you take time to care for yourself every day, you are looking out for your loved ones. And, as some might say, you’re giving them the best of you rather than what’s left of you.
Raising Children’s Network