Sometimes parents and carers spend all of their time focusing on their kids’ wellbeing and forget to look after themselves. But your psychological health is important, too! When parents and carers feel good, they’re more likely to provide their kids with the best care possible.
Mental and physical health go hand-in-hand, so it’s important to eat well, exercise regularly and get sufficient shut-eye. Eat a balanced diet of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, oily fish, low-fat dairy products and small amounts of healthy fats like olive oil. As a general guide, stick to fresh, unprocessed foods found in the outer aisles of the supermarket and cook meals you and your kids enjoy.
Experts recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise daily – walk your children to school, take up a team sport or cycle to the shops. If you’re especially pushed for time, three 10-minute blocks of exercise is a great compromise. Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep a night, but it’s important to listen to your body and monitor how you feel during the day to calculate your optimum quota.
Parenting can be a stressful caper, and too much stress over a long period of time is bad news for your health. Recognising signs of anxiety and finding ways to combat stress is an important part of looking after yourself. To stay calm, try these strategies:
- Build positive relationships with other adults and enjoy regular child-free time.
- Find an activity you enjoy and practise it regularly – take a yoga class, read a book or go for a walk first thing each morning.
- Practise relaxation – this can be as simple as closing your eyes and breathing deeply for several seconds while imagining a calm place.
You may like to read further about the importance of positive mental health and wellbeing for parents and carers.