Parenting Priorities: 5 Tips to Boost Your Well-Being
Hey Parents, I’m dusting off my uniform and writing to you today as your #1 cheerleader!
The headlines this week are a bit alarming. Research is showing that parents in the U.S. are at least as stressed now as they were in March 2020, when coronavirus shutdowns first hit. They are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. They are experiencing increasing frustration with their partners. They’re not getting enough sleep. More and more parents state they are becoming anxious and depressed.
One part of me hopes this is just mainstream media sensationalism. Remember, I’m the eternal optimist. It hasn’t gotten that bad, has it?
Unfortunately, I think a lot of people I know personally would answer that question with a simple, “Yes. It has.”
So I’m getting out my megaphone (aka blog) and encouraging each of you to take a deep breath and find a way to keep fighting through each day.
And step #1 means taking care of yourself. Here’s a few tips to help you along the way.
Our Kids Are Watching
It may seem obvious that you need to take care of yourself in order to be a better parent, partner, sibling or friend. But busy schedules and multiple obligations can easily cut into any “me time” you may have set aside for yourself. And this can have a negative impact on your child’s development.
Our kids are always watching us. They see how much we try to pack into a day. They observe our reactions to good news, bad news or the unexpected. And they’re well aware of our priorities. So how much time do you allocate to your own mental well being on a regular basis?
Amy Morin with Very Well Family shares, “It’s really hard to model appropriate behavior for your kids all the time, and no one is expecting you to be perfect. But you should strive to model the rules and behaviors you want your kids to follow.”
Or in our current situation, to show your kids that it’s ok to not always follow your plan.
5 Tips to Boost Your Well-being
1. Make Healthy Choices
Food choices, alcohol, caffeine and the amount of exercise we get in a day all have a direct impact on our mental health. You need to be intentional about the choices you are making each day. But don’t go overboard. A piece of chocolate or occasionally skipping a workout is sometimes just what we need!
2. Prioritize Sleep
I’ll admit sleep has never been a priority for me. I was always so focused on getting things done, that I would sacrifice my sleep in order to make it happen. But the benefits of a good night’s sleep are huge. Having a bedtime routine (just as we used to do with our kids when they were young) has helped me to fall asleep quickly, and stay asleep longer. 8 hours has become my new goal!
3. Keep a Journal
Expressive writing (aka journaling) has also shown to have a positive impact on our mental health. It’s especially helpful during challenging times when you feel overwhelmed or have an issue you can’t seem to get off your mind. So write it down. Just a few minutes each day has shown to help reduce stress and anxiety.
4. Do Nothing
Making time to “do nothing” each day can also help with our mental health. And you might be surprised at how difficult it is to truly “do nothing.” No distractions. Just you and your thoughts. It doesn’t have to be a big commitment, just start with five minutes each day.
5. Phone a Friend
Keeping our social connections active is one of the best ways to reduce depression and anxiety. And when we’re cut off from our daily routines, it can be difficult to remember to reach out. Carve time out of each week to connect with friends and family. Perhaps it is time to once again revitalize our 2020 Zoom Happy Hours?
Join the Discussion
The pandemic is challenging all of us right now. I have no doubt many of you have been in ‘crisis mode’ for months and it has become physically and mentally draining.
Being intentional about your well-being is critically important for you and the loved ones in your life. Make time for yourself.
Have a favorite activity you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!
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About the Author
Jennifer Larson is the founder and CEO of Hive Digital Minds, mother to four children, and passionate about finding innovative ways to engage parents in their child’s learning journey. Her company’s flagship product SchoolBzz is the culmination of Jennifer’s 17 years in education – working with thousands of parents and educators on their school marketing and engagement strategies. Before founding Hive Digital Minds, Jennifer led the efforts of two successful charter public school initiatives in Douglas County, Colorado. These schools have been recognized nationally for their educational programs and currently serve over 1,800 students in grades PK-12. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics from the University of California, Santa Barbara and also received her MBA from the University of Denver, Daniels College of Business. She enjoys speaking on the topics of school marketing, family engagement, entrepreneurship, and the future of work and frequently guest lectures at the University of Denver and several high schools in her local community. Jennifer can be reached at email@example.com.