One of the biggest myths that keeps us from nurturing ourselves as parents is the notion that self-care takes a lot of time. Sure, long kid-free hours to relax can be lovely, however, they can be very difficult to arrange. One way to make self-care part of your daily life is to begin looking for ways you can do self-care in bite-sized (manageable!) shorter bits of time. Let’s take a look at how bite-sized self-care can bring a little ease into your life.
As a parent, opportunities for self care often come in bite-sized moments. It’s not easy to get hours to yourself, but you might be able to grab 10 minutes. If we accept that self-care is critical to our well-being, we can begin to look for those unexpected moments of downtime and take advantage of them to do “bite-sized” self-care.
For instance, if your kids all get quietly involved in a game, you may be tempted to “be productive” and do one more chore on your list. Experiment with what it feels like instead, to give yourself a little breather and nurture yourself. Set a timer for just 10 minutes if it helps.
Self-care isn’t selfish
Self-care isn’t selfish – it can, in fact, enhance your parenting by giving you more patience, clarity, and energy. You set a good example for life long health when the kids see you take care of yourself.
Here are some ideas for bite-sized self-care that are easy to begin, and fairly easy to interrupt (I find this important since kids will often interrupt us 😉 ). Kids can be nearby or join you even. Take a look, then make your own list of 5-10 bite-size self care ideas.
Bite Size Self Care Ideas:
- Drawing or Coloring (with or without your kids)
- Reading a novel
- Eating a meal outside
- Going on a walk or run – with older kids this is a way to increase fitness and get a chance for talking together.
- Badminton, tennis or racquetball with your kids
- Knitting, Crochet, or other handwork
- Watching a show with the whole family
- Doing Legos with your child (or sorting pieces for them – allowing your mind go blank for a bit…it’s like Lego meditation.)
- Choosing your favorite: Sitting in your favorite chair, using your favorite mug, plate or bowl, choosing your favorite ice cream – allowing yourself to have a preference in a time when usually you’ve been catering to everyone else.
- Noticing and enjoying silence when it happens
- Sitting down with a cup of coffee and just drinking – enjoying without being ‘productive’
- Watching birds
- Vacuuming, folding laundry or some other house-care that you actually enjoy doing
- Taking pictures
- Making daisy chains while at the playground
- 10 More Ideas for Self Care You Can Do With Kids Nearby – from Confidence Meets Parenting
The primary way to make self care happen is to simply to change your mindset; realizing that choosing an activity that nurtures you is an option when you have a moment of peace. You may also find it helpful to create a basket full of things you love to do and have it at the ready.
Self care may look different now than it did when you had no children. Especially when kids are young, their needs dictate a level of selflessness that we may never have experienced before. One of your most important jobs is to continue to have a self to give from. Your ideas, your care and your love MATTER to your family. Safeguard yourself by looking for bite-sized moments to nurture who you are, so that you can continue giving the love and care that allows your family to thrive.