This week is the official start to the New Year. It’s the start of the new semester for kids, Christmas decorations are put away, new calendars are opened, and new schedules are starting. I love this time of year; it’s the time for looking forward to all that will come in the year as well as the time to make goals and resolutions. A resolution my husband and I have each decided for ourselves is to take daily, meaningful self-care time.  

As parents, that can be hard to do with busy schedules. It feels almost selfish, but as parents our jobs are so hard. Self-care isn’t selfish, as it’s not about self-absorption. How can we best care for our family and others if we aren’t also caring for ourselves?  

Just as we would recharge a phone or other device, we are taking the stand to recharge ourselves this year. Self-care is about your total healthSelf-care is also a great way for you, as a parent, to not only meet your own needs, but also to enrich your family by teaching your children through modeling the importance of self-care. So often self-care is targeted only towards women in a cliche way, but everyone benefits from a healthy self-care routine especially if you’re hoping to better your overall health.   

Since this is a resolution for both my husband and myself; we teamed up together to share how both parents can incorporate self-care into their life, as well as how to teach your children about it, too. 

meditating
hike

Six Types of Self-Care 

For most people, when thinking of self-care, they think of it as just “taking intentional time to recharge.”  While this is true, self-care actually encompasses six different areas of your life, all of which are vitally important and associated with overall better quality of life. These areas include: 

  • Physical  
  • Mental/Emotional  
  • Social  
  • Lifestyle  
  • Creative  
  • Spiritual  
zoom call
books

12 Easy Self-Care Activities For Parents 

  1. Schedule an appointment for medical/dental/vision that you’ve been putting off 
  2. Get your body moving by riding the dirt bike trails (Flat Fork Creek Park is our favorite), go on a hike, or head to the gym. 
  3. Connect with the community through volunteering. 
  4. Laugh by watching a funny movie or comedy sketch. 
  5. Acknowledge your limits, set healthy boundaries, and ask for help when you need it. 
  6. Call or video chat with a friend or relative you haven’t talked to in a while. 
  7. Plan a (socially distanced) guys or girls night out with friends. 
  8. Sit in silence and practice deep breathing. 
  9. Read a book for fun. 
  10. Spend time working on or starting a hobby.  
  11. Meditate using a videoapp, or devotional book. 
  12. Create a gratitude journal and set a goal to record what you’re grateful for each day. 

Teaching Children About Self-Care   

The old adage “lead by example” has never been more true when it comes to self-care and your children. Just like adults, children also benefit and thrive from intentional self-care activities. This is a great life skill to teach children early on as it’ll ensure they’ll have an arsenal of skills to manage future stressors in a healthy manner. When they see their parents practicing healthy self-care they’ll be more likely to do so as well. 

Since caring for your physical health is one of the most important aspects of self-care, a great starting point is teaching the basic skills needed to be healthy and that caring for yourself means creating healthy habits like hygiene and diet. Then branch out to the other areas of self-care and sharing the “why” in self-care; how it helps you handle hard or stressful things and makes you feel good. 

boys hugging
hike

6 Self-Care Activities For Children 

  1. Talk about your feelings. 
  2. Make a healthy snack. 
  3. Learn breathing exercises. 
  4. Use GoNoodle to have a dance party. 
  5. Using a journal write daily using prompts . 
  6. Spend time in nature hiking, playing, or just sitting and observing. 
  7. Draw, color, or create something. 
  8. Practice yoga.   
  9. Play with a pet. 
  10. Hug a parent or sibling. 
  11. Make and squeeze a stress ball. 
  12. Listen to your favorite song. 

The biggest takeaway is to remember parenting is hard, and you’re balancing a lot! But you are also important and deserve to take time for yourself. Self-care doesn’t have to be a daily long event; even just 5 to 10 minutes a day will make a large impact on your overall health and life.