It can be hard as a parent to do anything other than snatch sleep and food in between work and childcare. When something is as important to you as your little one is, it can be difficult to have the time or the mindset to take a moment to yourself. But self-care is important.
Self-care is one of this year’s buzzwords, with good reason. And it is equally (if not more) important if you are a parent. So drop the guilt and take a moment to yourself. Take at least five minutes a day to do something that makes you feel a little more ‘you’, even if you have to fit the five minutes in while your child sleeps. Instead of washing up, messaging people back on social media or doing any of the other little jobs, do something that enhances your wellbeing.
There are various reasons self-care is important. The main reason as a parent is that if you don’t look after yourself, you can’t look after others. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty vessel. Taking just five minutes to do something for yourself can give you more energy to take on the world… or at the very least the energy to enjoy a toddler party and cope with anything the day throws at you. It is important to enjoy the little moments in your child’s life, but to do this you do have to take moments to recharge.
Self-care is very personal – it means different things to different people. But one of the most important aspects of self-care is to really embrace the moment, turn off your phone (or more realistically, switch it to silent), turn off the TV and radio, and use the moment to empty your mind of all the worries and everyday intrusions.
One method of self-care is exercising. Stretch-based exercise such as yoga and Pilates is popular, and you can do it in your front room if necessary. You don’t have to go to an hour-long class if you don’t have time. Simply start the day with a Sun Salutation and end it with Child’s Pose, and let it grow from there.
Another excellent method of self-care is meditation. Meditative moments can help you think more clearly and feel revived. Do you find meditation hard? If you do, begin by focusing on something. Focusing on an object such as a plant or a candle can help you empty your mind. Another good thing to focus on is your own (calm) breathing.
It is important to look after the outside as well as the inside. What makes you feel good about yourself? It may be something as simple as shaving your legs, deep-conditioning your hair as a treat, moisturising, or just putting your mascara on.
If none of the above appeals, read a book or a magazine, enjoy the scent of a natural fragrance candle, spend five minutes in your garden, listen to a song you love…. The options are endless and the most important thing is to choose something that makes you feel good. So put yourself at the top of your to-do list… even if it is just for five minutes. You owe yourself the love you give to others.
Elizabeth Barker comes from the Midlands and is surrounded by some amazing mums, all of whom need to take more time to look after themselves and self-care. She runs the online ethical homeware and gift shop Home of Juniper. To see the unique range of products or read the Home of Juniper blog, visit homeofjuniper.co.uk, or @la.juniper on Instagram.