It’s no secret that when you’re a parent, self-care tends to take a back seat to the many responsibilities you juggle every single day. In fact, many parents view self-care as more of a luxury or a privilege than a necessity.
In 2020, when everyone is stressed and frustrated with a very fluid COVID-19 reality, taking care of yourself is more important than ever. Sometimes anxiety keeps people in “go-mode” where you keep yourself busy with taking care of others and their needs. The truth is when people are hyper-focused on taking care of others, they often absorb the other person’s stress, piling it on to their own. This is a sure-fire way to burn out!
On an airplane, when the flight attendant is giving the safety protocol for the upcoming flight, they always remind you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping the child next to you. What a powerful metaphor for self-care!
The truth is, if you can’t breathe yourself, you won’t be much help to the people around you!
Not taking care of yourself has devastating consequences. From increased stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and burnout to legitimate physical health problems.
Here are six simple ways to start to incorporate self-care and make it a priority … starting now!
- Make a NO list
What are the things in your life that you definitely don’t want? Make a list of those things to help remind you to set clear boundaries and reduce stress and anxiety.
Get a new journal and call it your gratitude journal. Each day, write down at least three things you are grateful for. Writing down what you are grateful for helps to focus your attention to gratitude, and forces you to find something to be grateful for each day. Some days it may be something that seems small. Other days there are significant events or accomplishments. Write them down!
- Go Off the Grid
Take a break from your phone, the internet, and social media. Put your phone in a drawer or shut it off for a little while. It’s also helpful to go through the people and pages you follow and remove or unfollow the ones that spark negativity for you. What you focus on will persist, and when people find themselves surrounded by negativity in their social media it tends to influence how they think and feel!
- Fresh Air
Take some time to get outside each day! Studies show that as little as 10 minutes of sunshine each day is enough to elevate your mood and even your self-esteem!
- Practice Mindfulness and/or Meditation
Mindfulness is practicing focusing on the present moment. Meditation is often a sure-fire way to help your mind get into the here and now. As little as 5-10 minutes of mindfulness meditation during the day has been shown to help in reducing stress and anxiety. It can also put you in a better mood! There are many excellent apps that offer guided meditations that last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. Calm and Headspace are two very beginner-friendly apps to try! There are both free and paid versions of both apps.
Bonus: Are you an educator? Good news! Both of these apps are free for educators!
- Schedule Yourself In
Schedule time in your calendar every day for yourself to do something you enjoy. It can be a few minutes or as many minutes as you like. The important thing is to schedule it in your day and treat it like an appointment. Just as you would honor an appointment with a doctor or client, honor your appointment with yourself. It is just as – if not more – important!
Your time can be dedicated to a bubble bath if that’s your thing; a yoga class or yoga at home; breathing exercises; a phone call with someone special. It’s up to you!
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the chaos and busyness that tend to happen, especially when other obligations take up a great deal of time and energy. Remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Fill yours with something healthy that brings you joy. Self-care is essential and can help to lower stress and anxiety. During the COVID pandemic and the constantly changing state of the world around us, it’s extra important to take care of yourself!
If you find yourself experiencing an unhealthy amount of stress and the thought of starting regular self-care habits causes even more anxiety and stress, reach out to a therapist who can help!
Call or email us today to set up an appointment with a therapist who can help you.
940-222-8552 or email [email protected]
Teen Social Anxiety