‘Making Time’ for Self-Care

Developed by Lynn Beckett, LBSW

Adapted for blog by Neisha Roberts

It’s the age-old conundrum for those named “mom” or “dad” — how do you keep up with all the essential (and some fun) tasks as a parent and still have time to take care of yourself? Research shows that taking a break, rest, or retreat can help prevent decision fatigue; restore motivation; increase productivity and creativity; and improve learning. We could all use more of that!

But how do you implement self-care principles when the idea of doing so just sounds like another task on the to-do list?

First, self-care does not need to be time consuming.

It’s amazing how much time you can find when you maximize moments in your day — time alone in the car, laundry room, or shower.

Next, evaluate what is refreshing to you.

Here are some ideas for when you have:

2-5 minutes

  • Take some deep, cleansing breaths
  • Stretch
  • Name three blessings from God
  • Have a piece (or two) of chocolate
  • Listen to a favorite song
  • Take a step outside and breathe in some fresh air
  • Massage your forehead
  • Text or call a friend that always makes you smile

10-20 minutes

  • Give and receive a foot massage
  • Make and eat some popcorn
  • Take a walk
  • Take a quick nap
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Swing on the front porch or rock in your favorite rocking chair
  • Play with your dog
  • Read a few pages of a good book
  • Write in a journal
  • Spend time in prayer and the Word

You have probably heard it a million times, but it’s worth mentioning again — in order to best care for and respond to your children in loving ways, you need to be filled up as a parent. You need time to recharge your own battery so you are not depleted physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Here are some reminders as you think about each category of your life.

Physical: If your child is not sleeping well, it is likely that you are not either. Close your eyes or take a nap for 20 minutes during the day. Evaluate your diet and make sure you’re limiting sugar and caffeine. Get outside and go for a walk.

Mental/Emotional: Set realistic expectations for yourself, and your child. Reading “The Connected Child” by Karyn Purvis or “The Whole Brain Child” by Daniel J. Siegel is a good place to start. Set aside time to participate in some hobbies you like: get coffee with a friend; attend a book club meeting; join your church choir; start knitting.

Spiritual: Spend time in the Word first thing in the morning, or before you go to sleep at night. Download a Bible podcast to listen to on the go.

It may feel like a big effort to “make time for self-care.” But the important thing to remember is that you will be a better person and a better parent if you make sure you are taken care of. If you find yourself losing control, try to implement some of these quick 2-5 minute strategies to get grounded.

You got this. And even if you feel like you don’t, God’s got you.