Parent self-care: The benefits of taking some “me time”

Five reasons you should eat an avocado a day!  This headline appeared on my Facebook feed last week and got me thinking, not about avocados but my overall eating habits and self-care since I became a parent.  What do I really eat in a day (I don’t think high chair scraps count as a meal) and how do I promote self-health, wellness and balance? We are an active family and I am very aware of the meals and snacks I prepare…for my children.  However, when I think about it, the quality of my breakfast and lunch are sub-par to say the least, and I feel like I ask myself more often than not “have you drank any water today?!”

When you are a parent, life is busy – not an excuse, just fact – but the avocado highlight   triggered a red flag and I realized that I use being busy as an excuse for the poor self-care habits I have developed.   Now, we have all heard it before – “if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else,” and I believe this to be true.  After all we are role models for our children, what we say and what we do need to match up. So how do parents stay healthy?  And what does parent self-care look like?

I wish I could go to the gym whenever I wanted or make myself perfectly proportioned meals, but that is not my reality right now.  As I reflect, I am realizing that parent self-care looks a bit different.  I think it starts with parents giving themselves permission to take the time to care for themselves and not feeling guilty about making their health a priority.

Reconnecting with who you are as an individual and asking yourself: What do I need to keep myself balanced? What do I need to work through the stresses of the day? What makes me feel happy?

I have found that closing my eyes (just for a few seconds) and taking a deep breath can almost instantly change how I am feeling and how I react in a situation.  I have also started to make my lunches at night and I am recording how much water I drink! “Me time” is still at a premium, but I do love running – it charges me up, so I have given myself permission to take time out and enjoy a run.

I know, reclaiming my health is going to be a journey and when my children are learning something new, I hear myself saying “baby steps and we will get there.”  As I reprogram myself to nurture me, I am going to take my own advice …baby steps toward better self-care and a nurtured body, mind and spirit.

What does your parent self-care look like?

Share with us:

For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About Sarah Flynn RN

About Sarah Flynn RN, MScN. I am a wife, mother of 3 and a registered public health nurse with the school years health team. I have been nursing for 10 years and have dedicated my career to supporting children and families thrive while in the hospital and out in the community. I am passionate about positive parenting and creating healthy school communities for our youth. You can find me in schools and online. Family life and work keeps me busy and on my toes – and I love to chat about it all in my HaltonParents blogs and on Facebook!
This entry was posted in Mental Health, Parenting, Physical Health, School-aged Children, Toddlers and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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