Last week, we looked at the importance of being caring and supportive parents during times of uncertainty. (Actually, most parents want to be caring and supportive all the time.) To best do that, we need to be in a good place emotionally ourselves. During stressful or busy times, often the first thing to go is prioritizing our own personal needs. That’s okay in the short term if a crisis situation arises, but it’s not sustainable for the long term. As parents, we need to look at our own self-care. Self-Care is not the same as selfishness. Selfishness is a lack of consideration for others, whereas Self-care is about making sure that we are well and healthy so we can be available to help others.
What is Self-Care? Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health. (Unfortunately scrolling on our devices does not count as self-care. Constant exposure to social media is more likely to contribute to stress and an escalation in anxiety levels.) While we ‘re all very different, there are certain things that are beneficial to all of us. These include things like getting outside in nature, exercising, eating healthy foods (physical care) reading, engaging in a hobby, connecting with others (emotional care), prayer, meditation, Bible, (spiritual care) reflection, fun times and sleeping (all areas). Listening to music can be a wonderful type of care as it helps us express our inner states or feelings. It affects our bodies and brains quite subtly, affecting our breathing, heart rate and moods.
Working out what rejuvenates you personally is an activity worth pursuing. What makes you feel good, is likely to be different from what makes your friend feel good. The Black Dog Institute has put together a great resource on the importance of self-care planning. It also includes a couple of templates to help you create your own self-care plan. Can I urge you to have a look at this? https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/covid-19_self-care-planning_black-dog-institute_editable.pdf?sfvrsn=8
Nobody else can do Self-Care for you – it’s something you have to do for yourself. Do you think your family deserves the best you?