Parenthood has many wonderful and beneficial attributes, but allowing for self time for rejuvenation is not one. If your family time was anything like mine, with the coming of spring came, swimming championship weekends for one child and the beginning of a new season for another. Add to that the pressure of completing the overly
complex and stressful tax process, it is no wonder parents everywhere respond to health coach recommendations to magically find more time to rest and recharge to maintain good health with a “sure…right…I will add that to my mile-long-to-do-list.”
We don’t have to add more hours in the day for over scheduled parents to enjoy the benefits of me time. No magic required.
I know you are asking what kind of magic I have to help frantically hard working parents fit everything into their iCalendar. It’s not about time, and more about focus. I call it the lifesavings procedure ocean beach lifeguards know all too well. Don’t jump in to save others if it risks your own life. In the center of this courageous act, is a lesson all parents should learn early on in their days as a parent. Focus on ourself is not always a selfish act. A small investment daily can pay huge and long-lasting benefits in the long haul process of raising children.
I know this because I was a parent of three, with the youngest born when I was 37 and my oldest was 7. My corporate work pressure had reached full capacity, I had too big of a mortgage like most everyone, then healthcare expenses, and recession was coming just around the corner. That said, I speak now after decades of searching for ways to find my better self. I battled the guilt feelings of “selfishness”, bad diets, unhealthy habits and sleepless nights. But found in these years was a set of foundational skills for my life. It was a long journey even through the parenthood years, but every small moment that I invested in myself, eventually paid off big.
I realize now that I always found ways to support just me. Whether it was at the gym at 6AM, or listening to self-care tapes during the commute, or before bed. I let the skills of others to coach and train me thru the chaos. By listening to others, who have dedicated their time to helping me, they positioned me to help you in your time. Make learning how to live a happier, healthier, more productive lifestyle your practiced priority. I know for parents, finding time for ourselves is challenging, but is also essential. Before you skip this priority remind yourself that caring for yourself first can better you to help others. Caring for others does not mean neglecting ourselves. If you do, you will quickly find your emotional bucket will run dry and since they count on you…this could put you all at risk.
With the change of each new season —no matter how packed with events, carpools, parties, swim meets, jamborees, and school projects, you can build on what you have learned to strengthen yourself, emotionally, physically, or spiritually. The bake sale, ball game, are all minor events in the big picture. You got this….You can do it. You just cannot have score every time. Your have a choice jump in today, unprepared, or with the strength and skills needed to know you will succeed more often each season. That’s what training for the big game is all about. Winners are created in the training sessions, not just during the game.
Here are a few ideas to start your training this season by refocusing your routine…
Mental Health (i.e. Emotional Intelligence)
Pre-game prep. starts with Prayer, Meditation, Yoga or Self Hypnosis – As a young athlete (and parent), I assumed the only training I needed was physical training.
Today, mental preparation is practiced by most world class athletes. I thought things like yoga would be too stationary and boring for me. Turns out…I was wrong!
“The two related but distinct practices of yoga and meditation are becoming a lot less alternative and a lot more mainstream. According to two new studies from the CDC, both practices have risen in “prevalence” from the year 2012 to 2017.” -Alice G. Walton, Forbes, Contributor.
In fact, yoga and Meditation use has grown to over 14% of the U.S. Adult population.
Makes you wonder what benefits this rather large group of adults are getting that you are not. So maybe you should give it a try. You may get hooked. Before spending any money to join a class, you should know there are tons of videos available online. Starting with beginners and higher. If you can find 10 minutes or an hour in your busy day, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find yoga will slow everything down and help you find focus.
What are the benefits of Meditation?
“[A]necdotally, supposed to smooth your way to a happier, more healthful life.” After researching this topic it appears that people who are interested in participating in meditation expect it will help them “feel calmer”, more balanced and less stress in daily life. That said, reports indicate science finds the following risks and benefits on the mind and body:
- Resilience to Stress
- Improved Self-control
- A healthier Brain
It should also be noted that some individuals to most likely practice this alone, (I;E. not is a group) report experiencing unwanted emotional effects like anxiety or panic attacks, event physical pain, depersonalizations, symptoms of depression and dizziness. For me, this proved it is more powerful then I thought and therefore considered more useful. Like most forms of treatment, there can be unwanted side effects. Participants should be mindful and always share there negative experience with qualified professions.
Physical Health (i.e. Stamina or Strength)
This one’s so easy. Start a daily regimen, and you’ll feel better simply knowing you’re giving your health a boost. Do a little research to find what type of supplement could best benefit you and what you might need to avoid if you have certain medical concerns. Your regimen could include herbs, minerals, vitamins, or shakes. Check out the Juice Plus+ full lineup of products!
Another simple one. Keep a glass of water at your bedside, and drink it as soon as your eyes open. I do this, and I don’t know if it’s changing my life, but I feel good about it. So, let’s file this one under “If It Feels Good, Do It.”
Sounds like more mental health training, but that’s not the physical part. By relaxation I mean sleep. I remember when I needed all I could get to get thru the parent season. Like most parents they don’t get enough sleep. In fact,
“According to the CDC, more than a third of American adults say they get less than 7 hours of sleep. CDC data from the last two decades show sleep apnea and insomnia have become common sleep disorders among American adults.“-Margarita Martin-Hidalgo Birnbaum.
The experts suggest “cutting back on screen time” before bed time, and the market place is full of sleep products “promising” better sleep. These range from smartwatches, beds and bedding, as well as sleep supplements like melatonin.
Socialize (or not)
This is the literal time your take for yourself. Make dates with your partner or with your friends. Do it at least once a month, (or twice, if you can, is even better). For those who need some solo flying time, take yourself on to do what you need to reset your psychological focus or energy level. For me some of the most enjoyable days I’ve ever had were created when I was able to set this date and forget about all the other times. As a parent, remember to set up this time so you really don’t have to worry about anything else. That means getting the back up parent you can fully trust to do it all for at least the length of time you are in this other world. Turn of the phone and focus on on your special event. Make it an uninterruptible priority.
Seems like a good place to stop. Could go on for many more ideas, but what really matters is that you get this message that you need to schedule and execute self time for your unique and special sell-care activities. Save yourself to save others.
What self-care activities are your favorite? Inspire us and other readers by sharing them in the comments below!
Sources and Inspiration
“Yoga and Meditation Continue to Gain Popularity in the U.S.”, Forbes.
“Use of Yoga, Meditation, and Chiropractors Among U.S. Adults…”, CDC.
“What does science say about the effects of Meditation“, Medical News Today.
“Products Promising Better Sleep Blanket the Market“, WebMD.
“Melatonin: Benefits and Uses“, Dr. Mercola.
Disclaimer: In fact, before starting any exercise, diet or wellness program, be sure you consult your doctor and be sure to learn the proper techniques for that diet before starting a new wellness program.That would defeat the whole purpose of the activity and your injury may even increase your health insurance cost not reduce them. This post and site is intended to be for educational & entertainment purposes only and is not intended to be considered medical advice. Readers should understand the links to products may or may not pay commissions to the author of the post to defray website costs or the time of the writer and/or coach’s time. Linked products are not endorsements of the product unless specifically so designated.