We are all stretched to the max as parents. Even when you have a support network of friends who also have kids, your day is so packed with activities and responsibilities that it’s hard to find time for yourself. But making time for yourself isn’t just nice—it’s essential to your health and well-being as an individual. If spending time alone sounds like torture right now, you’re not alone.
Many parents feel the same way about it at first. But we all get used to things, and after awhile spending time on yourself becomes a must-have in order to stay mentally healthy and happy. Once you make space for yourself in your schedule, you might even find that you enjoy it! Here are some ideas on how you can make time for yourself as a parent:
This is a great way to catch up with yourself. Physical activity is an essential part of health. When you go for a walk alone, you have the chance to let all of your thoughts and emotions flow without the distraction of other people. You might discover that you have some anxieties or worries that you may not have even known you had. Going for a walk can be a great way to process that. Walking is a great way to boost your mood, relieve stress, and improve your health. It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out walk, either! If you have a few minutes to spare, just walk around the block. As you walk, try to clear your mind of everything that’s going on in your life and focus on your breath. If stressful thoughts come to mind, just let them go.
When you’re stressed or distracted, your body produces cortisol, a hormone that can raise your blood pressure, increase blood sugar, and make you gain weight. Meditation helps you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, so you can recognize when your emotions are causing you to feel stressed, and work through them. There are many different types of meditation, from mindfulness meditation to guided imagery and even just sitting in silence and focusing on your breath. Try a few different types to see what works best for you. If you have a hard time finding time in your day to meditate, try doing it while your child is taking a bath or before bed.
Read something that isn’t for school or work.
Reading a book you enjoy can help you get out of your head and into a different world, where you can forget about all the stresses of your daily life. This can be anything from a romance novel to a non-fiction self-help book. Try to make time to read at least one chapter per day. This will help you get in a reading groove and you’ll soon find yourself finishing several books a month. Keep a log of the books you read, their authors, and what you thought of them. This is a great way to keep your brain active and engaged. If you have a journal or notebook, you can write down your thoughts about what you’ve read, so you don’t forget them.
Have dinner by yourself.
Dining out alone may sound like a dream for you, or it may make you feel sad and a little bit guilty. You may feel guilty for leaving your children, or guilty for spending money on yourself. Try to put those negative feelings out of your head by reminding yourself that you deserve this time to yourself. If you feel guilty about leaving your kids, let them know you have something important to do before you leave the house. Let them know you’re doing this for yourself so you can feel happier and more relaxed. Dining alone doesn’t have to be a fancy meal at a restaurant. It can be as simple as ordering takeout Chinese or getting some takeout from the deli down the street. You can make it a ritual to do this once a week or once a month, depending on your schedule.
Take a bath.
While many people take baths in the winter, you can do this any time of year, and it will instantly relax you. Make sure your bath is not too hot, so you don’t risk burning yourself. A bath is a great way to relax and unwind, which is especially helpful if you have a hard time sleeping. Add some Epsom salts to your bath water to help with tension and muscle aches. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for aromatherapy, and you’ll be in bath heaven. You can also try taking a shower in the evening instead of a bath.
We all know that exercise boosts your mood and keeps your body healthy. But many parents feel as though they don’t have time to exercise. If this sounds like you, try to exercise first thing in the morning. If you have a hard time getting up early, you can try exercising after the kids go to bed. If you can, choose a time when the rest of the house is quiet, so you can concentrate on what you’re doing. If you can’t exercise alone, you can try joining a mom’s fitness class at a local community center.
Network with friends who don’t have kids.
If you have friends who don’t have kids, try to make time to see them. This is especially important if you don’t have any other parents in your life, or if you’re the only one with children. Having friends who don’t have kids is essential to maintaining your sanity as a parent. These friends will help you de-stress, have fun, and get a new perspective on life. If you can, try to find friends who also have children but who live a different lifestyle than you. This will help you avoid comparing yourself to others and feeling like you’re falling behind.
Making time for yourself as a parent is essential; it keeps you sane and happy. You don’t have to spend hours alone with your thoughts; you can get your alone time by going for a walk or having dinner by yourself. It’s not easy to make time for yourself, but it’s worth your effort. It will help you stay healthy and happy in the long run.