How Looking After Yourself Benefits Your Whole Family

Feb 5, 2024


School drop-offs, packed lunches, play dates and bedtime routines: Let’s face it, parenting can feel exhausting. But while caring for your child is important, focusing on your own well-being is just as vital.

Plus, when you lead by example, your kids will learn the importance of caring for themselves, too. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shares that a child’s healthy development depends on their parents (or other guardians), who serve as their first sources of support in becoming independent in and leading healthy and successful lives.

When you look after your mental well-being and receive the care you need, you’re able to support your child’s mental health. Try these tips to ensure you’re feeling your best so you can be there for your family.

Schedule some time for yourself

Whether you start your morning with a quiet cup of coffee before the kids wake up or read a chapter of your favorite book once they’re asleep, be sure to carve out me time each day. If you live with a partner or spouse, try taking turns — one parent can focus on the children while the other practices some self-care.

Aim for more movement

Exercise has a long list of perks, but parents especially can benefit from the boost in mood, energy and brain function that 30 minutes of moderate activity per day can provide. Go for a walk as a family, follow a fun exercise video during naptime or do yoga before bed.

Read More: Back In Action with Everyday Exercise Activities

Find a hobby

It’s normal for parents to feel as if they’ve lost a part of who they were before they had kids. If you want to get a bit of your “old self” back, pick up a hobby that you once enjoyed or try something new. You may want to choose an activity that your kids can join in on, such as gardening or playing an instrument. If you’re looking for a solo hobby, consider photography, creative writing or sketching.

Ask for help

Not all challenges can be solved through self-care. A mental health professional can help you prioritize your well-being and find ways to feel good about yourself.

If you are experiencing challenges with your mental health, you aren’t alone. In fact, a recent study found that one in 13 children has a caregiver with poor mental health. This doesn’t make you a bad parent, and there is hope. Talk to your healthcare provider about what you’re experiencing. He or she will be able to talk to you about treatments and resources to cope with mental illness.