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The Importance of Self-Care and Parenting

It’s no secret that raising a child is one of the toughest jobs in the world, given you’re preparing children to become responsible, successful, and happy adults. While taking on such an important task, it can be easy to forget to take care of you. Your kids need 100% from you most days, but this can be impossible if you have not been properly taking care of yourself first. In fact, I would argue that practicing self-care is an essential part of being a care-giver. This is especially important if you are a new parent; while having a baby is a beautiful, monumental event, it can also be extremely stressful and overwhelming.


Self care can be split into 4 categories: physical, emotional/social, intellectual, and spiritual. These helpful tips can apply to all those raising children. Here are some of my favorites from each category:

Physical

· Take a hot shower or warm bath

· Go for a long walk outdoors

· Sleep as much as you can


Emotional/Social

· Allow yourself to cry

· Spend time with friends

· Prioritize activities that make you happy


Intellectual

· Identify a project that would be rewarding and/or challenging

· Take your child to the library but pick something up for yourself too

· Return to old hobbies


Spiritual

· Meditate every morning

· Write in a journal

· Volunteer or help others

And lastly, I wanted to end with a quote that I think perfectly summarizes a healthy approach to parenting: “Any time you travel on an airplane, the flight attendants announce that if the oxygen masks drop down, you should first put on your own mask, and then assist small children. This is good parenting advice for life in general.” Always remember to take care of yourself first and foremost.




Megan Atkins, author, is a volunteer at the CARE House.


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