When we become parents, we gain an immense amount of love, strength and resilience from our beautiful children, however if we don’t look after ourselves, we also lose a ridiculous amount of sanity.
If you’re like me, you’ll spend most of your time tending to every need of your children and completely forget to eat dinner, drink water or sometimes take that five seconds that your brain needs to cry because you’ve reached your emotional capacity for the day. It took me a while (and when I say while, I fell into the depths of post-natal depression) to realise how important it was to look after myself as well as the kids. As parents, we cannot pour from an empty glass, so by finding simple ways to make sure I was keeping my mental and physical health in check, I was able to start filling up that glass so I can be the best version of myself.
Not all of us have the time to set aside to get to a yoga class or even better, a relaxing holiday by the beach, but adjusting some daily habits and scheduling in ten minutes a day to meditate, read a book or even just sit on the toilet alone, you’ll benefit from it. Our kids feed off our energies, so if tend to throw off stressed out vibes, our kids will notice. The happier we are, the happier out kids are (most of the time anyway!).
Through the last couple of years, social media has developed in incredible ways, one of which being support groups, pages and even things as simple as finding other parents out there in the world who are going through the same experiences as you, making feeling like a “normal” parent, that much easier. Having someone to talk to who can empathise may change your day, and having positive and supportive people around you every day will lead you to living a more positive and more mindful LIFE! As part of the HCF Australia #HCFHealthComesFirst campaign, I've put together my top wellness tips for families!
Here are my TOP family wellness tips that I’ve implemented into my life:
1. Wake up 10 minutes earlier – use that time to meditate (it will CHANGE YOUR LIFE!)
2. When you can, walk with your kids. If you live close to the supermarket, your favourite coffee spot or the park, walk there. Forget the car, get some fresh air and just walk everywhere.
3. Find a parents group in your local area – a great opportunity to meet other parents while the kids run themselves ragged and make friends.
4. Find a form of exercise you ENJOY! Whether this be a group fitness class, a personal trainer or a mums and bubs class, being active will release endorphins therefore making you happier – training is my stress relief.
5. Remember that sometimes it’s OK to lock yourself in the toilet when you need a minute to calm down. Process your thoughts, breathe and calm yourself down before lashing out at the kids.
6. Take the kids grocery shopping and get them INVOLVED! Yes, kids can be complete shitheads at the supermarket sometimes, however by creating excitement and getting them to help you will make it fun and get them asking questions about different fruits and veggies that you’re picking out!
7. Practice gratitude. When feeling stressed and like the world is against you, write down what you’re grateful for. It will shift the focus from what’s giving you the shits, to what really matters in life.
8. Call a mate. You aren’t a burden and you’ll feel SO much better after a bit of a vent, maybe a cry and a good old chat.
9. Find something you’re passionate about. When we become parents, many of us forget to remember the things we loved before we had children. Our passions bring happiness, so if you can find whatever time you have to do something that you love, do it.
10. Read. Develop your mind and switch off the telly and swap it for a book.
One other thing, if you have a partner, make time to be with each other. Do something you both love and take time to appreciate each other. As a single mother, if I do remember one thing that I could have changed when I was with the kids father, it would have been that I wish we had made time to be a couple again. Our children develop certain attitudes towards relationships by watching their mummy and daddy, so whether you’re together or separated, be civil, be loving and do the best you can.
Parenting is such a “monkey see, monkey do” situation. Whether they be good or bad habits, our kids probably got it from us. Yes, I’m responsible for Madi’s first swear word because I have a potty mouth tendency (I’m getting better!), but then my kids have also learnt their impeccable manners and caring nature from their father and I. So look after yourself so you can continue to look after your kids to the best of your ability!