Common stereotypes about stressed-out stay-at-home parents who barely have time to even feed themselves can ring true sometimes. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, you know that finding time to take care of your health and wellbeing is hard enough as an adult, let alone when you have kids to take care of.
Now more than ever, there is a lot of focus on self-care for everyone, including busy parents. It’s not selfish to take time to focus on your mental health, and there’s nothing wrong with incorporating therapy into your routine, even if you haven’t been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.
For a busy stay-at-home parent, online therapy can be a great choice with flexible scheduling. For more information, you can click here: https://www.mytherapist.com/advice/therapy/.
How is it possible to start incorporating online therapy into your schedule, let alone any time for self-care when you have kids to look after all day? Stay-at-home parents are often tasked with helping the kids with homework, taking them to their after-school activities and appointments, and doing other chores around the house. All of this adds up to a full-time job.
Therefore, it’s important to set aside designated time for your own self-care. This can include doing hobbies you enjoy, getting in some well-deserved time to rest or relax, or spending uninterrupted time with your friends or partner.
What you do to unwind is up to you, but finding the time to do it can take some practice. Here are some tips to help stay-at-home parents find time for their self-care.
1.) When the kids sleep, you sleep.
The old practice for parents of infants can actually apply to many different scenarios. If you have kids that go to a dance class for an hour, instead of sitting in the waiting room wishing you had time to relax, take that time to focus on yourself. Take a refreshing walk around the block, go get yourself a nice lunch, meet up with friends (maybe other parents), or even practice a quick guided meditation, maybe from a YouTube video or podcast. Taking even the brief moments when your kids are occupied can really add up to make you feel better.
If your children are too old for you to be able to nap while they nap, this concept of utilizing the time they are busy in order to care for yourself instead of constantly worrying about others could work well for you.
2.) Don’t hold yourself to the highest standard.
So many parents hold themselves to an unreasonably high standard, which causes them to miss out on some down moments. If you see any moment of free time as an opportunity to tidy up around your already sparkling home, it might be helpful to calm those racing thoughts and take the moment to focus on yourself instead.
Maybe you feel like you need to be driving your kids to and from school instead of allowing them to take the bus because you want to feel like an excellent parent. Your kids will still think you’re an awesome parent even if you’re not perfect all the time, and a parent who cares for their mental health will likely serve as a better caregiver and role model in the long run.
3.) Take advantage of the little moments.
When all else fails, take those five-minute moments to practice some deep breaths or give yourself a mental break. Don’t feel guilty about eating a treat or wearing your comfy clothes all day. Even small ways to practice self-care can work just as effectively as some longer self-care sessions.
Call on your partner, friends, or family to help you out with a chore around the house if need be, but never let your own self-care go without a little bit of attention. Setting an example of a person who cares for their own mental health may encourage your children to be thoughtful people who recognize the importance of loving themselves.
Making time to do anything outside of the normal routine as a stay-at-home parent can be difficult, overwhelming, and even feel downright impossible sometimes. However, incorporating small self-care practices into your daily life can become a habit over time. Even just small practices will add up to give you some relief and boost your mental health.
If you truly cannot manage to create these moments and struggle with your mental health because of it, consider talking to a therapist in person or online.