A simple analogy to make is to the instructions you receive on an aeroplane about fitting your own oxygen mask before fitting the masks of your children. We are so good at looking after, planning for and meeting the needs of our children (as we should) that often we forget about ourselves and find ourselves 'running on empty'. It's hard for parents to make time for self-care, my first thought tends to be, 'Are you serious?! I barely have time to brush my hair!'. However, I do know that when I take that time to do something that looks after me I really benefit and I return to parenting (a little!) more refreshed and it helps me be more present, more patient and feel better.
So, baby steps are the order of the day for busy parents. Some steps in the right direction might include the following:
- taking a bath once a week (making this a time that feels special with relaxing candles, a good book and a lock on the door!)
- painting your nails, heck, even cutting your nails can be a good place to start.
- a walk outside
- reading a chapter of a book at the end of a busy day
Finding the time to be away, even for a short time, will possibly require the support of another adult. It's ok to ask for this help - explain that you need a little time to recharge your batteries. Most importantly it's about valuing your time and valuing yourself. Go on, you deserve it.