How to look after yourself

25 Jun 2020

When you’re looking after others.

We all work so hard to be holistic in our care for children. We look at all the different parts of their lives to make sure they’re doing OK in all the different aspects. But what about ourselves?

It’s important to look after ourselves, so we can continue to look after our little people. You know what they say on an aeroplane, we need to fit our own oxygen masks before helping others!

self care for parents

Sometimes, though, we can get in a rhythm of looking after only SOME aspects of our lives and not acknowledging ourselves as holistic beings too.

E.g. some of us are great at nutrition and physical health, but not so much in emotional health. Or some of us are great in our professional lives, but personal lives suffer.

It can help to think about the different aspects of our lives, and give each one a score out of 10 to help us know which are might need a little more attention.

The different areas include:

  1. Physical – safe housing, eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep, take time off, turn off your mobile, get “me” time”.
  2. Psychological – self-reflection, think about your positive qualities, draw or paint or find something creative, relax in the sun, practice asking and receiving help.
  3. Professional – whether paid work or an at-home parent take time for lunch, learn to say no, do a course, get support, take time off for longer breaks.
  4. Emotional – practice self-love, laugh, cry, tell yourself about your positive qualities, watch a funny movie, cuddle a pet, find a hobby.
  5. Spiritual – be inspired, go into nature, play with children, volunteer, foster self-forgiveness, practice mindfulness or pray, watch sunsets.
  6. Personal – figure out what you want in life, plan short and long term goals, foster friendships, spend time with family, do things you enjoy

Think about one area that doesn’t get as much attention, and focus on it for a little while, even small things can make a big difference.

This self-care wheel courtesy of Olga Phoenix is a great tool to print off and have somewhere handy – pin it to your desk, fridge or next to your bedside as a reminder to build in a little bit of self-care each and every day.

Self Care for Parents

Printable here: Self Care Wheel by Olga Phoenix

Self-care does not need to be big huge activities, start small and grow from there.

Written by Stephanie Ingram, a Child & Family Counselor at The Shepherd Centre and Regional Manager, South West Sydney

Stephanie Ingram is Regional Manager of The Shepherd Centre

Find more tips from our clinical team:

The Shepherd Centre is 50 years old

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