Self-Care Isn’t Selfish: 3 Reasons For Caregivers To Prioritize Self-Care

Self-Care Isn’t Selfish: 3 Reasons For Caregivers To Prioritize Self-Care

It’s easy to forget about self-care

Let’s admit it - parenting can be exhausting at times! Whether you are raising a toddler or a teen, parenting can be very demanding. 

You might feel guilty or selfish for taking time just for yourself, so you don’t do it. After a while, you can start feeling irritable, tired, and overwhelmed.

When you become a parent, it can be easy to stop doing your hobbies and seeing your friends. Admittedly, if your child is very young, you probably don’t have hours and hours just for yourself. But even a few minutes of intentional self-care here and there can make a big difference in your well-being.

We all need time to relax and recharge. Self-care is not selfish because you must be well enough to care for your child.

What is self-care?

Self-care is anything that you enjoy and do intentionally to improve your well-being. Since some of us like reading and others skydiving, self-care looks different for all of us.

Self-care activities can enhance physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional health.  Physical self-care includes exercising and sleeping well. Mental self-care can consist of attending a counselling session or practicing self-compassion. Spiritual self-care is about nurturing your spirit, belonging to a community, and connecting with others. Emotional self-care nurtures and processes your emotions, for example, through journaling.

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Why do caregivers need self-care?

Here are 3 reasons why parents must take time for themselves:

  1. Self-care makes you a better parent. Parenting is a full-time job that requires a lot of energy. If you don't take time to rest and rejuvenate, you'll eventually burn out. And when you're burned out, you're not able to be the best caregiver you can be. When you carve out regular time for self-care, you will have more energy and patience. Self-care can also make you more present to enjoy all the fun little moments with your family.
  2. Your self-care helps your child to be more independent. Your child won’t be little forever. It is important to have a bit of separation from your child so that they can become their own person. By having hobbies and interests,  your identity also isn't completely tied to your child.
  3. You set an example for your child. When you take time for the things that improve your wellbeing, you show your child that taking care of yourself is essential.  You can teach some age-appropriate self-care skills to your child, too. On the other hand, if they see you neglecting your own needs and not taking care of yourself, they may think that's what they're supposed to do, too.

How to get started?

If you have been overlooking your self-care, it can be challenging to get started. The good news is that you don’t need to carve hours for self-care - even just a few minutes can reenergize you. You can also do many activities right at home.

Are you interested in starting or improving your self-care routine? Our next 2-hour online class Self-Care for Parents begins on June 15.

As our facilitator puts it, “Parenting is hard work, and as parents, we often put ourselves last. The Self-Care for Parents class helps you understand why taking care of yourself enhances your success as a parent and teaches you tangible skills to incorporate self-care into your daily routine."

Check out more parenting tips here.