4 Essential Ways Busy Parents Can Practice Self-Care

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4 Essential Ways Busy Parents Can Practice Self-Care
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The health and wellness of parents don't always get prioritized in this day and age.

When you have a family and a career, it doesn't leave much time for yourself. Even if you love your family and career more than anything, you may still be feeling stressed out from non-stop parenting.

You are so busy taking care of everyone else that you can't do the same for yourself, and that takes a toll on your mental health.

But taking part in some self-care habits will not only help reduce your stress and anxiety — you will also start feeling better about yourself.

RELATED: Burned Out? Here's Why It's Hurting Your Kids (Plus, How You Can Stop It)

The first thing to remember is to go easy on yourself. You can't do it all, and you shouldn't feel like you have to do it all.

If you are around people that make you feel that way, then you should rethink who you spend your time with.

Research about self-care has found that it does help reduce stress — and stress is the number-one killer these days. But this doesn't mean that everyone has a self-care plan.

People are busier than ever. Your calendar is packed with things to do for your family and work. You feel like you don't have time to spend simply on yourself.

But once you start delegating tasks and learning how to say "no," you can clear your calendar and allow more time for yourself.

Here are 4 essential ways busy parents can practice self-care.

1. Allow plenty of time for rest and relaxation.

Studies have found that we need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. This is how your body and mind recharge.

You also need to schedule breaks during the day. You are not a machine, so you need to stop from time to time.

If the weather is nice, get up, go outside, and go for a walk. Stop and look around. You can sit in a park or by a lake or pond and look at the water, trees, or flowers.

Allow yourself permission to do nothing. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

2. Eat healthy food and drink plenty of water.

This means stay away from processed foods. It's easy to pick up something on the go, but you aren't getting the nutrients you need.

Make sure you are eating lean protein, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and healthy carbohydrates.

You also want to make sure you have some healthy fats — this is how you feel full. It will also help reduce cravings for foods high in sugar.

Make sure you are hydrated. This is another way to prevent cravings. Carry your water bottle with you and keep it filled with water.

You also need to set aside time for meal prep, so this means chopping up fresh vegetables and preparing lean protein early in the week. Then, it is easily available for meals.

RELATED: Why Being A 'Good Enough' Parent Is Actually The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Kids

3. Get moving.

This means you need to schedule a time for exercise. You can go to your favorite cardio class at the gym, go for a swim, or simply go for a walk. The more the better.

Get your heart rate up. This is good for your physical and mental health.

Go to a yoga or pilates class. If you can't make it to the gym, then watch a video. It doesn't have to be very long. Start with 10 minutes. You will notice a difference almost immediately.

You may feel like you don't have the time, but you do. It will eventually become a habit.

Exercising regularly will also help with sleep.

4. Surround yourself with positive people.

Being around positive people is good for your well-being. Start to take inventory.

Who are the five people you are closest to? What are they like?

Do you look forward to seeing them? If not, ask yourself why you keep them close?

Studies have found that pets are also good for your well-being. They have a lot of the characteristics that a healthy relationship has. They love you unconditionally and look forward to seeing you when you come home.

Parenting is a hard job, but rewarding to parents everywhere. But you can't take care of everyone else without taking care of yourself, too.

So, starting today, prioritize your self-care plan. Not only will you feel better, but your family and friends will also start to notice.

You will attract people who want to be around you and are emotionally healthy.

RELATED: 11 Ways To Truly Take Care Of Yourself As A Parent (Even When It's Hard!)

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Lianne Avila is a Marriage & Family Therapist helping people in San Mateo, California who are looking to create a life that is happier and more fulfilling. Please subscribe to Lianne’s newsletter on Lessons for Love to learn more about her services and expertise.

This article was originally published at www.LessonsforLove.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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