Parents: A Successful Back-to-School Season Starts With Some Self-Care
In all the excitement and chaos surrounding the back-to-school season, here's a novel idea: this time is just as important for you as it is for your kids. Sure, the kids need new supplies, a functional workspace, the list goes on. But it may be worth it to stop and consider what you need as a parent. It's like the whole airplane oxygen mask metaphor: you need to help yourself first in order to better help those around you.
As you head into a more-hectic-than-usual school year, we're here to help you help yourself. Whether it's carving out physical space for your needs and interests or setting boundaries for your own time and energy, these self-care tips will help you better prioritize yourself and find balance in your life, and in turn ensure your whole family thrives. Say it with us now: your needs matter, too!
Prioritize Me Time
With the whole family spending more time at home, those personal moments that used to be part of your day-to-day — commuting to work, time alone after dropping your kids off at sports practice or play dates — has most likely disappeared. This means it's more important than ever to take back those moments in order to fully decompress and recharge. Intentionally carve out time throughout the day to focus on yourself. Parents here at POPSUGAR love a long shower, but it could also be heading out for a walk or run first thing in the morning, sitting in the backyard to read a book or listen to a podcast in the evening, or even heading to that restaurant or grocery store that's just a little out of the way to pick up food on the weekend just so you can be by yourself.
Carve Out Space For Yourself
Just as important as making time for yourself is making space for yourself. After all, if you're creating a workspace to help your child succeed, why not do the same for you, too? A physical space to call your own will allow you to focus and be productive without distractions, whether you're tackling work, bills, parent-teacher conference calls, online shopping, or simply returning a text message. Keep your space clean by using Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes as directed to kill 99.9 percent of germs that live on hard, nonporous surfaces. You know what they say: clean space, clear mind!
Indulge in Things You Enjoy
Beyond prioritizing necessary personal time for things like showering, working out, or grabbing food, go a step further and make time for things you take pleasure in doing, either alone or with others. In other words, clear your schedule for some purposeful fun! More often than not, these are the things that are likely last on your to-do list — things like attending a (virtual) book club, catching up with a friend, watching that movie with your partner that you've been saving for when the kids are at an extracurricular activity or a friend's house. But instead of waiting for the perfect quiet time, create that opportunity for yourself. Intentionally penciling in these indulgent activities will give you something to look forward to, and chances are, you'll be a much happier person because of it.
If you feel like you're being stretched thin between being a good parent, thoughtful partner, and efficient employee, it may be helpful to consider setting some boundaries and limiting how much time and energy you're spending on other aspects of your life. It's OK to take a little break from anything that's adding to your anxiety and worry, whether that's the news cycle, your inbox, or even that friend who won't stop texting. You could even set aside a specific time frame for dealing with these things to regain balance in your life. For example, you could limit how and when you're getting news updates to only two reliable sources for 30 minutes a day. It's easier said than done, but by dictating when you are expending your energy, you can free up mental space and allow yourself to be more present during the times you aren't.