When Parenting and Life Run you Ragged: Self-care as the Answer

By Natalia Miegoc, L.M.S.W.

Parenting — one of the most undervalued jobs of our time. 

The one that no one is truly ever prepared for. And there’s no easy-to-follow instruction manual. Parenting is also one of the most rewarding jobs a person can have. 

But what happens when you have gotten to your wit’s end? When you no longer have the energy or patience to say, “no, you can’t have another cookie before dinner,” or can’t take another floor-stomping, hand-flailing, ear-bursting tantrum, then it’s probably time for some well-overdue self-care.While parenting can come with many blessings, it also comes with numerous challenges that can really run you down. That feeling when you can’t pick up another toy or imagine trying to make dinner means your energy is exhausted. You need a recharge. And the best thing a parent can do is practice some self-care. 

What is Self-Care

Self-care is simply the time a person takes to recharge their batteries by doing something just for themselves.Practicing self care is a way of taking care of your mental health and physical body. It is meant to protect your health and mental well-being oftentimes during stressful situations to allow you to cope with daily life. There are many types of self-care and they fall into a few different categories: mental or emotional, physical, and spiritual. 

  • Emotional self-care can include talking to a mental health professional or a trusted friend, increasing positive self-talk, taking a bubble bath or shower, reading your favorite book, or putting up boundaries by saying no to the things that add to your stress. 
  • Physical self-care can look like prioritizing physical health by eating healthy, going on a walk or to the gym, taking a nap or making an earlier bedtime, or going to routine medical appointments. 
  • Lastly, spiritual self-care can be meditation, practicing yoga, going to a religious or spiritual service, journaling, or grounding yourself in nature. 

No matter what your self-care will look like, everyone should aim to include something that speaks to them from each category. But most importantly, self-care should not be a last resort when you have already exhausted yourself. It should become a part of your daily or weekly routine. 

What Self-Care Is Not

If self-care is so important then why do so many of us procrastinate or feel bad about it? Because self-care can come with a negative connotation. Some people view self-care as a selfish act because they are putting themselves above others. However, self-care is quite the opposite. It’s exhausting to be a parent, partner, employee, friend or any other hat you wear. Every day you take time for other people but don’t find the time or energy to do the same for yourself. And when you don’t take time for yourself, you are depleting all of your physical and mental energy. This means not only might you lack energy and motivation to do daily tasks, but being depleted can prevent you from taking care of the people around you. Taking care of yourself and ensuring you include self-care in your life will not only make you feel happier and healthier, but will also provide space and energy to take care of your loved ones. 

A Necessity, Not a Luxury

No matter what it looks like for you, practicing self-care on a regular basis is critical to a happy and healthy lifestyle. It shouldn’t be a one-time treat but part of your regular lifestyle. So make sure that in the chaos of parenting and taking care of others, you also take care of yourself. 

If you are looking for parenting or general help for yourself, Child and Family Solutions Center is here for you. Please call us at 248-851-5437 to get started with therapy services.