By Hallie Avolio
How many times have you said, “I’ll go for a run when my child starts school.” Or, “I just don’t have time to make food for me so I just eat the snacks my kids eat.” Or, “I’m so tired. I just don’t have the energy to focus on me.”
Once? Twice? A hundred?
The reality is that parenting is a hard job, probably the hardest one that exists because there is no rule book. Sure, there are millions of parenting books, but each kid, each family, each parent is different. Therefore, there is no exact roadmap and just when you think you have it figured out, boom! Something new hits you.
So parenting is hard … so what? Is that your excuse to stop living the life you had before you embarked on the parenting journey? Is that a reason to forget who you are as an individual? Is that a reason to stop paying attention to your own needs, your own health and your own values?
If you want to show up as the awesome parent that you are, you have to show yourself self-love and practice self-care. In fact, this is even more important as a parent because you are modeling for your children.
When you show your children through your own actions that you value yourself enough to put yourself first, guess what? They will begin to do the same and this will continue throughout their lives.
Advocating for self-love and self-care among parents, especially moms, sometimes feels like an uphill battle. Let’s break it down into a simple, sustainable and fun strategy that almost any parent can implement to increase self-care, improve overall happiness and create a healthy lifestyle.
Tip 1: Begin to follow a morning routine. A morning routine is one of the simplest strategies you can begin because all you have to do is decide to start doing it. Some key components you will want to include to really start your day right:
– Get up at least 30 minutes before your kids
– Use this time to focus on you
– Improve your mental wellness through meditation, journaling and/or practicing gratitude
– Improve your physical wellness through a workout routine.
If 30 minutes seems like an unmanageable concept, start with 5 minutes, write down three things you have gratitude for, and build up from there!
Tip 2: Stay hydrated. One of the best things we can do for our bodies is to drink enough water. Sounds pretty simple, right? But remember that night last week when you were shuttling kids from school to dance to soccer, trying to squeeze in a quick trip to Trader Joe’s? Then you rushed home to make dinner and nearly collapsed when it was all done? Yep! You need lots of water to keep up with all the demands of parenting. Keep at least a 40-ounce water bottle with you at all times and refill it two or three times per day.
Tip 3: Sleep! With the exception of parenting a newborn (when sleep just has to happen whenever it can), it is critical that you get seven to nine hours of sleep each night to fully function each day.
Are you getting that much sleep? If you are not, you are seriously compromising your mental and physical wellness, and your energy levels probably reflect this.
Our bodies need rest, especially when we are constantly in demand as parents. Make sure that you set boundaries with your children so they know you value your down time and sleep time. Don’t stay up late scrolling social media in an effort to stay connected when you really need to refresh your body.
Sleep should be a non-negotiable, and it will improve your mood, your metabolism, your temperament and your overall health!
Bottom line is this: Just because you are a parent doesn’t mean you are a victim. You are not at the whim of everyone else in your family at the cost of yourself.
You need to put yourself first and not have guilt around it. When you want to be the best parent, the best partner, the best anything, you have to be the best you first.
No one needs to give you that permission slip, but in case you are still wanting it, here you go: You have permission to take care of you.
Hallie Avolio is the creator of Sassy Healthy Fit. For more information, go to www.sassyhealthy.fit , e-mail Hallie@sassyhealthy.fit or follow her on all social media @sassyhealthyfit.