Skip Nav

Self-Care For Parents

11 Ways to Truly Take Care of Yourself as a Parent (Even When It's Hard!)

This post, written by Lianne Avila, was originally featured on YourTango.

Stop, take a deep breath, and try these.

Parenting is no easy job. You don't have any PTO that you can store up and use. It's something you have to learn to get through. After a while, you end up putting yourself last on the list. This can lead to resentment and burnout.

I know you need to do the dishes, take the kids to school, and go to the grocery store. You're thinking, "How can I fit any time in for me?" Or, "My husband never helps out around the house anymore and the house still needs to be taken care of."

So, you must do all the chores. Again, how can you carve out a few minutes for yourself?

The best way is to just start. First on your list should be getting enough rest. Here are 11 tips on how to take care of yourself:


1. Stop and take a deep breath.

This can help reduce cortisol levels, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. If you can, close your eyes and try to clear your mind.

Just focus on your breath. Pay attention to where it is in your body and follow it. This will help keep you in the present.

2. Listen to music.

Research has shown that listening to music can help reduce stress. Listen to music with positive lyrics that has a soothing sound. Try not to think about what is stressing you out while you are listening to music.

3. Go for a walk.

Get outside in the sunshine, if you can. The fresh air is good for your brain. Try and keep your mind off of what is stressing you out. Stop and look at a flower or a tree. Take time to notice the details.

4. Spark some scents.

Aromatherapy is a good way to reduce stress. If you have some of the oils, put a little behind your neck or underneath your nose.

Then, take a few deep soothing breaths. You can also close your eyes. This will help block out distractions.

5. Hang with your pet.

Studies have shown that pets help reduce stress. This is also known as pet therapy. Your cat or dog loves to spend time with you. You can hang on the couch or play with your pet. Time with your pet is time well spent.

6. Write it out.

Keeping a journal can help reduce stress. This will help get your feelings out. Nobody has to see it, so you can say what you want. If you'd like you can pick a subject to write about, or write a poem.

7. Hug it out.

If you are around a loved one, give them a hug or ask for a hug. Touch is good for you. We have gotten away from it in our culture.

I love it when my 7-year-old nephew hugs me. It's even better when he doesn't want to let go.

8. Do an art project.

This will change your focus. All you need are some pencils and paper. Pick an object to sketch or sketch your pet. You can also color.

I love all of the coloring books that are out now for adults.

9. Try mindfulness.

This is a form of meditation. There are many apps out there for mindfulness. Download one and try it out. You can start with five minutes and eventually go up to thirty minutes.

Mindfulness is about being in the present. You can't go back and you can't predict the future.

10. Try some light yoga.

With yoga, you get the mind and body connection. This is a great way to reduce stress. Start with a few gentle poses. Simply rotating your neck can do wonders.

11. Laugh it off.

Laughter can reduce some of the physical effects of stress on the body, like fatigue. Watch a short video clip on YouTube or read a comic strip.

Start with one of these today. Experiment with them, and see which ones work best for you. Remember to go easy on yourself. Parenting is one of the most important jobs. You are responsible for another human being.

Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Mateo, CA. She has helped many parents reduce stress and thrive as a parent. For more information, please visit Lessons for Love.

More reads from YourTango:

Latest Family