March 11, 2020 — By Wendy Sachs

Snuggly giggles, warm hugs and buoyant smiles all make us happy as we spend much time and energy helping to raise children. It’s not always smiles and snuggles and can truly be a draining job both emotionally and physically.

This is why it is essential to make sure you take care of yourself. It’s a buzz phrase ­– self-care — and pictures of candles in a massage room spring to mind, while those to do lists swirl ever present. Well, let’s take a different look at taking care of you.

Set Boundaries

The first step in truly taking care of you is to know that it is ok to say no. When you care for small kids, you won’t be able to do it all. Give yourself permission to not feel guilty and just carve out space and time for yourself.

It’s Ok to Ask for Help

Juggling it all might be great for a circus performer, but for moms and dads (and nannies!), it leads to burn out and frustration. Consider what tasks make you the most stressful and outsource. Buy a meal plan kit subscription, hire a housekeeper for your own home for a few hours, or hire someone to organize your own closets. Letting go of tasks like these not only relieves stress but it also gives you the gift of time.

Pay It Forward

It may seem counter intuitive, but volunteering or donating to others in need gives you a boost at the same time. Bonus is that you can do this with your kids for a great lesson in taking care of others at the same time of taking care of yourself. By spending just an hour every month doing some sort of volunteering, you can boost self-confidence and help keep that gratitude mindset…which actually feels great!

Incorporate Small Self-Care Habits

The most thing for the most impact that we can do is to make self-care a habit. It doesn’t have to take much time, and it can be a part of an everyday practice. Make it a ritual that before you get out of the car in the morning before work and in the evening before rushing to the door you stop and take 3 deep breaths and thing of one good thing in your life. Keep a stack of post-its in the kitchen and write something happy every day to post on the wall. Set aside a time of the day to consciously smile. Tiny habits will yield great results in how you feel.

Share Your Journey

Most of all, it’s ok to let those in your life know, that while they are all supremely important, your health is important too. Let kids know that you need a minute to yourself sometimes. Let them practice yoga with you and talk to them about the fact that we all need help. Not only will this lessen your taking time for yourself guilt, but it will help them learn to take care of themselves as well.