In my various years of experience as a counselor I have repeatedly heard the phrase “practice self-care.” My professors presented this concept in graduate school to help future counselors avoid burn out or compassion-fatigue. I have been mindful to practice self-care and to teach this concept to others. In my current position at Arizona Charter Academy (ACA), working with students, parents, interns, and staff. I constantly speak about practicing mindful self-care. Therefore, I would like to respectfully share the concept of self-care to parents. As parents often put their needs aside to meet their children needs first. It is important for parents’ wellbeing to, as much as it is possible, make a practice of self-care. Self-care can take different forms and it does not have too be costly, and the benefits could impact your mental health in a positive way. Here are few activities parents can choose from to start a practice of self-care:
· Establish an in-home movie night just for parents.
· Select the best time to take a walk with your partner or alone.
· If you like to run, select the best time when you can run.
· If possible, establish dinner dates with your partner or alone.
· When possible, take a half a day or a day trip nearby.
· Treat yourself to a cup of coffee at a café and read or listen to your favorite music.
· If you practice meditation or prayer, do this whenever you can be alone or with your partner.
· If you are able, establish exercise routines.
· Join a parents support group.
· Journal your experience as a parent.
· Treat yourself to a massage.
· When you are able, sleep as much as you can.
These are merely suggestion that may or may not fit in your family schedule. You are the only that can decide how and when you can implement a self-care practice. However, a conscious effort to practice self-care must be made if we are to gain its benefit. Here are few articles that may give you more ideas of self-care activities for parents:
Thank you for you for reading this psychoeducational article.
Author: Dr. Noé Vargas
Behavioral Health and Wellness Director