Self-care tips for parents

Survive these school holidays with a little self-care. Here are 9 tips for parents and carers to stay calm, grounded and energised.

Polaroid images of woman doing yoga and a daughter hugging her father.
Image: Be kind to yourself and take time for self-care these school holidays.

Every flight attendant says before take-off: place the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping others.

Self-care is incredibly important and can help to strengthen your family. When you're you’re happy and healthy, you can be more attentive and engaged as a parent and spouse.

When developing your own self-care routines and rituals, keep in mind that the more often you manage your wellbeing the longer you will be able to sustain a happy and positive household.

Here are some ways you can look after your physical and mental wellbeing to ensure you have enough energy to continue to successfully parent and care for your children:

Practice gratitude

When you start to feel overwhelmed, try to think about the good things in your life. Even if it’s just little things. This helps you change your mindset and focus on the present instead of potential future anxieties.

Keep a journal

Spend some time every day just writing out your thoughts. This can help you uncover feelings that are just under the surface. Once you know about these emotions and what’s causing them you can deal with them directly.

Meditate

Just 5 minutes a day can help you feel rejuvenated. If you’re new to meditation, you can try one of the many guided meditation options available. If this isn’t for you, breathing exercises, closing your eyes or taking a bath can also create a meditative state helpful for reducing stress.

Create a schedule

Set aside some ‘you’ time in the schedule, whether it's going for a run, video-calling with friends or sitting down to read. If you have a partner, coordinate with them so you both get regular scheduled alone time.

Listen to music or a podcast

Music has the power to influence mood and energise. If you’re feeling anxious, listen to calming music. If you’re feeling sad, listen to uplifting music. The best part is you can listen to music while doing other tasks and you can even involve your family for an impromptu dance party if you feel everyone needs it.

Check out our list of top parenting podcasts.

Start or join a virtual book club

Virtual book clubs have taken off since people can no longer meet in person, once a week/month meet up virtually with friends and family to discuss the book you’ve read. Not only will this help you talk to people outside of your family and help you concentrate on something else, but it will also give you a weekly/monthly goal.

Check out our list of top parenting books.

Start a new hobby or re-discover an old one

Did you used to play an instrument? Have you always wanted to learn how to cook lasagna? Now is the time. Putting energy into a new hobby or skill or rediscovering old talents can help you to focus on the here and now, as well as help you feel a sense of accomplishment in learning something new.

Colour in with the kids

There’s a reason adult colouring books have skyrocketed in popularity across the world. Just like it does for children, colouring clears the mind and channels focus into the task at hand, helping you to de-stress of other worries.

Be kind to yourself

Keep in mind that everyone is under a lot more stress than normal. You won’t have the same level of resilience, patience and mental fortitude that you normally have, and that’s ok. Give yourself a break, and manage as best you can. That’s all anyone can do.

By the way, not all the advice on this list will suit all parents’ needs, and you are in the best position to decide what advice and support will work best for you and your family.

The printed version of the parents and carers toolkit
Image: Download this toolkit to print and keep.
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