Wellness Tips for Parents
August 7, 2015
Hi Passion Fit Crew! I hope you all are doing well. Now that we’re into August and school will be back in session soon for those who are parents with kids (including myself), I wanted to blog today about some wellness tips for parents. Life is obviously extremely busy when you’re a parent and can often times be overwhelming. When you’re trying to juggle your own career, running a household, kids’ school activities, homework, sports practices, music lessons, birthday parties, volunteer projects and more, you need to remember to take some time out for yourself to keep your sanity and maintain balance in your life. If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll end up burnt out, cranky and with little patience…all things most of us as parents have experienced at one point or another. You also won’t be able to fully enjoy your children and all the joys of being a parent.
Now, I’m just as guilty as the next person of often being over-scheduled, running late, putting my family’s needs before my own, even if I desperately need a break and pushing myself to try to get everything done on my work and personal to-do lists, keep my house clean and organized, ensure my boys are properly bathed, fed, have taken their vitamins, are wearing sunblock and have stopped arguing or fighting with each other before we get out the door. Whew – just typing this is making me stressed and exhausted! However, I’m very self-aware and that’s what I want to ask all the parents out there to do as the first step in prioritizing your own wellness. Also, below are some tips based on what’s worked for me as both a parent and a health, wellness and fitness professional. I still have to remind and push myself to do some of these things, which is why I want to share them with you guys. Maybe we can all commit to doing these things as often as necessary and hold each other accountable virtually. 🙂 Alright guys, here are some tips for you!
1. Clearly communicate to your kids and spouse when you need a break. My kids and husband are pretty supportive when I actually tell them I’m tired and need to sit down for a minute. My four and seven-year-old boys will often rub my head, bring me a blanket and say, “You should rest and relax, Mommy…you deserve it,” which is really sweet.
2. Carve out time to exercise as many days of the week as you can. Now, I know I’m biased as a fitness instructor, but this one is imperative for parents. It will provide you with the energy and stamina you need for your kids, will relieve you of your daily stress and will make you more cheerful to be around. I also think your family will really appreciate that last one. 😉
3. Listen to music that makes you happy. I do this all the time in my car or when I’m cooking dinner in the evenings. My kids love it, too and we’ll often have a dance party right in our kitchen before dinner. This one will really lighten things up, give you some perspective and change your mood.
4. Go to bed on time. I know we as parents often want to stay up late because that’s when we can get a little bit of “me” time in. However, plan your evening, including dinner, clean-up, packing lunches, homework, kids’ bath and bed times, etc. so you have your “me” time built in at a reasonable hour and you can still get to bed on time. My boys go to bed at 8:30 p.m. and I try to make sure I have all of the above chores done by 9:00 p.m. I then try to have my “me” time (which sometimes includes a little work in the first half) from 9:00 – 10:30 p.m., so I can be in bed by 10:30 p.m.
5. Try to cook in bulk a few times a week so you have left-overs that can be spread out over two (or more) days. Now, I’ll admit that my family doesn’t love left-overs, but I’ve trained them over the years to tolerate them and kind of like them. 😉 This will save you from the stress of having to cook every night. Also, if you want to eat out or order out once or twice a week (especially on the weekends), that’s okay. Just make sure the food you choose is as healthy as possible and includes lots of fresh vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This one is admittedly tough for me, as I like doing things myself. However, I’ve learned to lean on my girlfriends and neighbors if I need them to watch the kids after school here and there or carpool for sports tournaments or games. It’s amazing how willing people are to help if you just ask. Also, be willing to reciprocate and return the favor so everyone wins.
7. Breathe and don’t be hard on yourself if something doesn’t go according to plan or you mess up. We’ve all been there. I forgot to send my seven-year-old son dressed in his pajamas for “Pajama Day” at camp a few weeks ago and he was so mad at me. He looked at me like I was the meanest Mommy on earth and made me feel very guilty for forgetting. But then I looked around and there were plenty of other kids and camp counselors who also weren’t wearing their pajamas, so I took a deep breath, pointed out to my son that he wasn’t the only one, that I’d try to remember the next time and he should try to remember too. After that, I just let it go. By the time I picked him up from camp that afternoon, he’d forgotten all about it!
Well, that’s it for today, Passion Fit Crew! I hope these wellness tips are useful for all of you parents out there. Remember to take good care of yourselves. I’ll be back with another post soon! XOXO