I’ve touched on self-care several times previously but today I thought I’d share the (sometimes) random activities I partake in as a means of looking after my emotional wellbeing.
Self-care is important for everyone but especially for parents, and even more so for parents experiencing mental health problems. It is extremely individual and it can take some time to establish what small things you enjoy and what brings you comfort, relief and a chance to reconnect to yourself.
Here are some of the methods I use. Some are common and some, I admit, are not:
A pretty common one, especially among anyone who suffers from anxiety or insomnia (as I have). There are plenty of free programmes on You Tube but I actually use two apps mostly. One is the very popular Headspace, I haven’t bought the subscription but I may do in future, instead I just use the free Take Ten series. It’s designed as only an introduction to mindfulness but I’ve listened to them again and again and find it really helpful.
I also have Glenn Harrold’s app, and I’ve downloaded several tracks including Relax & Sleep Well. I found these especially helpful when I went through an anxiety setback last year. Glenn’s accent can take a few minutes to get used to but I kind of love it now!
Watching crafting, organising and vlogging videos on You Tube
I don’t really craft much, except with Caterpillar, but I really want to and I think I partly watch these from an aspirational point of view, as if I had more time I would craft (poorly!). But mainly I just find watching these videos really relaxing and I don’t even know why. My current favourite You Tube crafter and organiser are The Frugal Crafter and Do It On A Dime respectively. Likewise, I love daily family vlogs like Daily Bumps.
This is very in vogue at the moment and you would have to be walking around in the dark to not have seen the countless adult colouring products out there now. I was actually doing it before I realised it was a craze when I found it really relaxing to colour in my son’s pictures of Pixar characters! It has a very magical way of quietening the mind.
TV box sets
We used to have Netflix and now we have Sky, either way I have access to a whole host of brilliant telly that helps me to zone out of Mummy World and into Laura World when Hubs takes Caterpillar for his nightly bath. Current favourites are Modern Family, The West Wing and Scandal but it changes frequently.
Making loom bracelets
This is probably the oddest of all. Remember the craze from a year or two ago? Yep I still do it, and subsequently get my supplies very cheap now today’s kids have moved onto other pastimes! I love making intricate patterns, again by following You Tube. There is something about the creativity and repetitive nature that really soothes stress and anxiety. Don’t laugh until you’ve tried it! Here’s my favourite “loomer.”
Self-explanatory but just to say that when I first had Caterpillar, and I was at my most unwell, those hour long walks along the seafront with my newborn were a saving grace.
Riding the bus alone
I don’t drive so Caterpillar and I travel everywhere by public transport. Sometimes this is fun but often it’s stressful so on the odd occasion I’m on the bus or train alone, it’s bliss.
As above, for the same reasons. With the added bonus of the potential to spoil myself, I recommend this for all parents.
Not sure if this should be advised for self-care as it’s not exactly good for you but a chilled glass at the end of a day dealing with tantrums (Caterpillar’s and mine!) definitely helps me.
This blog has brought me more joy and more opportunity for self-care than anything else. Creative outlets are so important for our minds.
Seriously. Cooking in general calms me but especially the repetitive, time-consuming nature of risotto. I’m weird that way.
Putting on my make-up
The reasons are three-fold I think. Firstly, it’s repetitive and creative as most of this list is. Secondly, it’s a great daily opportunity to practice mindfulness. And finally, and importantly, it’s about doing something for you and making yourself feel more special.
Sitting in silence
Sometimes after dealing with lots of noise and activity all day simply sitting in a comfortable, dimly lit, cozy room in silence, or with some soft music if that’s your thing, can reduce stress levels tremendously
I hope these ideas are helpful to you. Essentially, it’s about you trying to find whatever it is that means self-care to you, and brings you calmness, and then trying to find a small slot of time each day to do it. Feel free to share your own ideas in the comments below.