Well, COVID-19 is here to stay, that is for sure. But we understand that it has not been smooth-sailing for some.
Parenthood is rewarding but it can sometimes take a toll on your overall well-being especially during these turbulent times of COVID-19. From your child's HBL lessons (Home-based learning) to completing your daily tasks, going through the same overwhelming routine everyday might wear you out faster than you can even say "COVID-19". As parents, prioritising your well-being will, in turn, benefit your whole family.
So what is self-care anyway?
For most of us, the line between self-care and self-indulgence might be blurred with the assumption that self-care means pampering yourself with the finer things from getting a new mani-padi to buying that expensive wallet you have been eying. That might be one of the reasons why most parents tend to neglect taking care of themselves. Besides not having enough time on your hands, the idea of prioritising yourself instead of your kids, even for a short period in a day, seems like a selfish move. However, the difference between self-care and self-indulgence ultimately boils down to the outcome.
Self-care habits helps to keep ourselves healthy and happy, resulting in a balanced, well-rounded life so that we can do our job, help and care for others and essentially, be able to accomplish what we want to in a day.
Self- indulgent habits on the other hand, are short-term fixes rather than real solutions, which might potentially eat at our health in the long run.
Why is self-care as a parent important and how does it affect my child?
Every child will eventually model after their parents. What better way to teach your children about the importance of self-care than to practise it yourself? In fact, self-care can have similar or even the same positive effects to your child's mental and physical health as it does for you. While your self-care habits might differ over time, adopting it early and engaging it together with your child can help you put your best foot forward as a parent.
"Children learn to cope with challenges by watching how their parents manage difficult times," says Dr Lisa Damour, psychologist, best-selling author and a mother.
Cool! So, what is the game plan now?
Now that we have covered some ground on self-care and its benefits for parents, here are 3 tips that you can start out with:
1. Set aside an alone time everyday to do an activity that improves your mental/physical health
Setting aside little pockets of time throughout the day to do an activity that you enjoy will definitely force you to take a breather from your daily tasks. Be it going for a 10-minute walk around your neighbourhood, whipping out a new baking recipe or even doing yoga/meditating, all these activities will do the trick. The only catch is to find the right activities that will keep you rejuvenated and energised throughout the day; instead of tiring you out. However, once you have those decided on, keep a daily schedule with your activities carved in between and you are ready to go!
2. Keep a gratitude journal
According to a study from the journal Psychotherapy Research, people who received psychotherapy were divided into two groups, one of which was instructed to do a daily gratitude practice. Those who did the practice reported better mental health than the rest of the participants in the study
As humans, we have the tendency to focus on the negative side of things. Hence, gratitude practice is one way to combat this by getting ourselves to shift our attention towards the positive things that happens to us. It only takes a few minutes each day to reflect and to write down 3 things that you are thankful for. Jot it down in a journal, type it out on your phone or you could even try keeping a gratitude jar and have little notes dropped in! Whichever way works best for you, be sure to get your kids on board too!
No clue on how you can start the ball rolling with your kids? Hop on down to our FREE exhibition this September to join us in our fringe activities where you and your little ones can experience exciting ways to practice gratitude and embrace positive changes throughout this COVID-19 world together!
3. Stay connected
Believe it or not, but your friends and loved ones might also be on the same boat as you. Keeping your social support network close to you will help ease some of the day-to-day challenges because chances are they could use someone to talk to as well. Plan some time to call them or have a quick Zoom chat to catch up, share stories or even to vent your problems — with or without the kids around! Set a reminder for your call dates each time so that it does not slip your mind!
On that note, keep practising the basic components of self-care: eating a healthy diet, getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night and exercising regularly. While implementing self-care strategies into your daily routine is a good way to go, we must remember to not neglect the basics. For all the times you feel that taking care of yourself is impossible, it is likely that those are the times when you need to practise self-care the most.
All the best and take care, parents!
Iffah believes in two-way communication of ideas when it comes to creative work. Growing up, the subject of Art/Design was taught passively; where there was little room for experimentation and self-exploration. Today, she aims to become the bridge that brings Art/Design to everyone, especially the young generation, to grow into critical and creative thinkers in order to fuel their passions.