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5 self-care tips for parents to switch gears from overwhelmed to empowered

Self-care helps parents regain the strength to cope with stress. It doubles up as a booster dose towards effectively enjoying and investing in your parenting journey

Prioritising self-care isn't selfish. It's a gift you give not only to yourself but also to your children and your family. Photo: Unsplash

By Sukhna Sawhney & Apurva Desai

LAST PUBLISHED 01.10.2023  |  01:00 PM IST

In today's fast-paced world, juggling work, family duties, and the needs of young children can get overwhelming for parents. It's easy to feel drained and exhausted, torn between competing demands. You end up compromising on that one task, which should be high up on your priority list: taking time out for your well-being. Taking care of yourself isn't a luxury, it's a necessity. 

Self-care helps you find your center and regain the strength to cope with stress. It doubles up as a booster dose towards effectively enjoying and investing in your parenting journey. 

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The concept is rather straightforward. To take care of others effectively, you first need to take care of yourself. Prioritising yourself and actively finding moments for your own well-being also serves as powerful inspiration to the kids, who are always looking up and learning from you. Here’s how you can make small changes for a big impact: 

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Step 1: Set boundaries and say no when needed

You don't have to say "yes" to everything and everyone. Sometimes, it's okay to say no without feeling guilty. Word to the wise: ensure that taking care of yourself is on your priority list for the day. For instance, if you're already swamped with work and household chores, politely decline additional social commitments that may overwhelm you. By setting and communicating clear boundaries, you ensure you have the energy and presence to be an engaged and attentive caregiver to your kids.

Step 2: Block your own calendar

Imagine this as scheduling a date with yourself. Whether it's spending time reading, enjoying a soothing bath, or practicing mindfulness, treat this personal time as something sacred. It should be a non-negotiable part of your daily routine. Designate a specific time each day when you focus solely on yourself, even if it's just for 15 minutes, and see how this small investment in self-care can yield big returns for your overall well-being. Scheduling this time and communicating the same to others can help everyone know when you’re not available. 

Step 3: Mind and body TLC

Mindfulness practices like meditation and deep breathing are your secret weapons for reducing stress. They help you stay calm and composed, even on the most chaotic days. Picture this: Your child is throwing a tantrum, and instead of losing your cool, you take a deep breath and respond with patience. And don't forget about exercise, which is like a mood-boosting potion. Just a simple walk or some gentle yoga can do wonders. 

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Step 4: Build your support squad

Your spouse or partner is your teammate on this incredible parenting journey. Keeping the lines of communication open and sharing parenting responsibilities can make a world of difference. If you're feeling overwhelmed, don't be afraid to ask for help. Lean on friends, family, or even professionals when needed. It’s like your own warm blanket. 

Step 5: Practice self-compassion

Treat yourself with the same kindness you want your kids to show themselves. Remember, it's okay to make mistakes and to feel overwhelmed. Self-care is a lifelong journey of self-improvement and investing in yourself. If you slip up, don't beat yourself about it. Instead, acknowledge it, learn from it, and move forward with self-compassion.

When you prioritise your well-being as a caregiver, it has a positive ripple effect throughout your family. Your home becomes a more harmonious place, and your children feel secure, loved, and supported. 

Lastly, remember that prioritising self-care isn't selfish; it's a gift you give not only to yourself but also to your children and your family. By taking care of yourself, you become happier and more resilient. It's a win-win journey. 

Sukhna Sawhney leads content and curriculum while Apurva Desai heads communications at Rocket Learning 

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