Memo to Parents: Prepare A Self-Care List

538127_70065935If you’re a parent, you probably juggle multiple responsibilities: children, spouse and home, career, and community. There are so many people and things to take care of, sometimes it’s easy to forget about yourself.

Are You Emotionally Dehydrated?

We all know thatstaying properly hydrated is important. It gives us increased energy, improves digestion, makes for clearer skin, and faster weight loss. We also need to stay emotionally hydrated. Like a dip in a pool, emotional hydration helps us feel refreshed. Taking care of yourself gives you the break you need to stay strong and supple while you live your busy life.

I’ve developed a self-care strategy that I use for myself and which I often recommend to parents.

milkshakeYou can buy a pretty little notebook from a discount store or use a tablet or laptop, whichever you prefer. Take a seat and pour yourself a cup of coffee or herbal tea, and get ready to brainstorm.

You’re going to create two lists, so divide the notebook (or page) however you choose. A sticky tab can be put in place somewhere in the center so that you have two sections.

List A

Create a list of fun and calming activities that bring you instant joy. I’ve listed a few to get you started. Every activity here costs under ten dollars.

  • Going for a brisk walk with a buddy
  • Coffee with a friend or on your own
  • Frozen yogurt or a milkshake
  • A cold Snapple outdoors in the sun
  • A solo drive to nowhere in particular
  • Riding a bike through a shady park

These activities pack a powerful, stress-neutralizing punch. For a few bucks and an hour, you can bring yourself to a place of calm and centeredness, and everybody wins.

List B

List B is a list of feel-good activities that provide a long-lasting sense of satisfaction long after they’re done. Some of my suggestions include:

  • Visiting an elderly person
  • Cleaning out a closet
  • Going off sugar and white flour for a week—even a day
  • Journaling
  • Meditation

zen rocksAnd, here’s a nice list with some more ideas.

Use these lists when you need them. It’s easier to create them in advance than think of self-care ideas in the the moment, when stress gets overwhelming and time is limited.

Even knowing that you have a self-care list may have a calming effect. You’ll know that when the need strikes, you can simply select an activity to do when you have a free moment.

Even writing the list is a refreshing self-care activity. It encourages your mind to wander and explore, even fantasize.

 

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