With dark, cold days that seem to stretch on forever, the end of January cannot come quickly enough! The weeks following a new year are often the time when the pressure on parents and families reaches breaking point, with divorce and separation rates at a peak.
To avoid becoming a statistic, the key is to be realistic. Even though it can feel impossible to fit any me-time or self-care into your packed schedule, the theme of mindfulness is one that remains prevalent in parenting forums. And it’s no wonder.
This technique is one that helps you to stay present, gain a renewed sense of calm and an ability to deal with stress more easily. For parents of toddlers, this is certainly worth considering! But we’re not going to advise you to take an hour out of your day to meditate as that is just not realistic. Read on for our top mindfulness and self-care tips that are do-able for even the most stressed-out parent…
When we are stressed, we often fail to keep a healthy diet and give in to cravings for junk food. This causes our blood sugar levels to spike, leaving us more sluggish and stressed than ever before.
Do a food shop and stock up your kitchen with healthy snacks that are easy to grab on the go. Think apricots, carrots and hummus or frozen fruit and Greek yoghurt.
When you eat, don’t just shovel the food even if you’re in a rush. Notice the taste, appreciate the texture and savour every mouthful. A healthy relationship with food is key to mindfulness and will give you a post-meal satiated feeling that is quite unlike the brief, unhealthy high you gain from chocolate, crisps or takeaways.
As busy parents, we often find ourselves completing one task while we’re already thinking about the next one - and the one after that! This thought pattern is exhausting and exacerbates anxiety.
Buy a large board and sit down every Sunday night to write down all the activities that will take place that week for every member of the family as well as any major work or social commitments, household chores and errands that need to be done. Once it’s all laid out in front of you, it will help to maintain a sense of organisation and avoid that harassed, overwhelmed feeling.
This is a very stressful time of year for relationships as we recover from the financial and family pressure that the Christmas season often brings. Don’t let your relationship fall by the wayside.
Put aside quality time with your partner at least once a week. If you’re not able to get out for a date night, cook a meal together after the kids have gone to bed and watch a film or documentary that will keep you engaged. There’s nothing worse than putting endless episodes on repeat of a boxset you’ve both seen a hundred times to leave you feeling restless and unfilled.
Finally, we would advise you to make a list of your favourite self-care activities and carve out time for at least one every week. Whether that be a nice bubble bath, a yoga class, or reading a book that you just can’t put down, taking out even 15 minutes a week for yourself can make a whole lot of difference. Just like the oxygen mask theory tells us, we can’t look after others properly until we’ve looked after ourselves.
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