To be the capable adults life requires us to be, it is vital that everyone takes regular personal time to rest, relax, and regroup. This personal time, or “me” time, allows the mind and body to get a break from the demands of everyday life. Taking time to do something we enjoy or to just do nothing at all is a form of self-care and self-love.
For parents, this valuable alone time is often pushed aside or sacrificed to fulfill the needs of the family. In an article published by the New York Post, a study showed that parents have less than an hour every day to them-selves and many parents must hide from their kids just to get that breather. Being an adult is challenging, and when you add raising a family to that equation, any strong man or woman can breakdown or burnout when they aren’t given the opportunity to recharge. Often, parents feel guilty for admitting that they need time to themselves, but there is absolutely no reason to feel guilty or ashamed. In fact, practicing self-care is one of the greatest acts of love and devotion that any parent can give to their families. It shows that you are aware that your mind and body need the proper maintenance so that you can be the best parent that you can be. Children don’t just need parents; they need healthy parents who are mentally and emotionally available. Personal time helps us be effective parents, spouses, and humans. It allows us to detach and gather ourselves so that we can keep pressing forward.
One of the main things to remember about self-care is reminding our children that we love them just as much as we love ourselves, if not more. Kids don’t al- ways understand what alone time really means and why it’s necessary. They may feel that they’re unwanted, unloved, or annoying because parents need time away from them when that’s farthest from the truth. Kids don’t always understand that it’s not them, but they’ll blame themselves anyway. They don’t always understand that work is stressful, or bills are a mountain to climb. All they know is that mom or dad doesn’t want to be around them. Start by let your children know that sometimes life itself is a heavy load to bear and we all need a break to come back to center. Lisa Damour, clinical psychologist and contributing writer to the New York Times, suggests when parents explain why they need alone time to say something along the lines of, “When I’m with you I really want to be able to focus on you, so I need to do some mental housekeep-ing and I do that on my own. That way I can be much more present when we’re together.”
Practicing self-care can be a learning opportunity for the whole family. Parents should take the time to explain to their children the importance of private time for mental health and even encourage their children to practice their own self-care time. Practicing regular self-care doesn’t always have to mean a full day at the spa, spending lots of time or lots of money. Your alone time should be spent doing something that helps you slow down, relax, and feel like a person again. Here are a few ideas for self-care time:
– Take an uninterrupted relaxing bath/shower.
– Watch a good movie.
– Listen to an interesting podcast.
– Enjoy an entire cup of coffee while it’s still hot.
– Take the long way home.
– Go for a walk.
– Listen to your favorite music.
– Read a chapter of a book you’ve been trying to finish.
– Go shopping alone.
– If you like cleaning, do your favorite chore.
– If you like cooking, cook your favorite food(s).
– Have a conversation with a friend.
– If you have a hobby, take some time to work on your craft!
So, take time to rest, relax, and regroup without guilt. It will do both you and your kids some good!
BY URSULA BRANTLEY