Simple Self-Care for Extremely Busy Parents

Self care can take less than 5 minutes. Here are some ideas for busy parents!

There’s no getting around it, these years are tough.

Personal space is limited and your child may literally rely on your help for almost everything!

The suggestion to take time for “self-care” may actually make you laugh out loud. (Or cry, depending on the day.)

Maybe you’ve tried a few things, but you can’t be consistent. Or, maybe no matter how quiet you are in the morning, your child is immediately by your side, eliminating any hope of a moment of peace before the chaos of the day.

Rather than thinking about self-care as one Big Event, let’s think of self-care as small moments throughout the day.

(Of course, if you can get away to a yoga class or take a night out with your friends, that’s awesome! Do it!)

Self-Care for Busy Parents

Here are some things you can do – even with small children in the same room, a baby on your hip, 20 unanswered emails, or a messy kitchen.

  • Take 3 good cleansing deep breaths
  • Close your eyes and visualize a calming scene
  • Study the details on your child’s face, a photograph, or a tree outside your window
  • Massage the arches of your feet, the palms of your hand, or your neck
  • Stretch your arms up, bending side to side, or standing tall
  • Roll your shoulders up and back
  • Sip hot tea or coffee…and really appreciate the flavor
  • Eat something slowly, savoring every bite
  • Pop in some earbuds and rock out to your favorite song or podcast
  • Color or doodle
  • Tense and flex the muscles in your body, one at a time
  • Smell something beautiful, soothing, or that brings good memories
  • Tell a story about a time when you felt relaxed or happy
  • Wrap your arms around and give yourself a big hug
  • Write down 3 things you love about yourself, your child, your family, etc.
  • Rewrite your to-do list, adding at least one thing you actually WANT to do
  • Smile. Hold it for at least 10 seconds.

Here are some suggestions from parents on my Facebook page:

  • Sing something in an opera voice, beatbox, or “whale voice” (like in Finding Dory)
  • Pick a sunny spot and stay in its warmth for a few minutes
  • Apply sunscreen
  • Listen to music (soothing or upbeat)
  • Have a dance party together
  • Sing – silly made up songs or real songs
  • Leave coloring placemats, colored pencils, and pens on the table to encourage a random coloring break
  • Stand on grass with bare feet
  • Eat chocolate (or ice cream sandwiches) while hiding in the bathroom
  • Rub a nice smelling lotion on your hands
  • Lie on your back and put your legs straight up the wall
  • Wash your face
  • Apply fast drying nail polish!
  • Deep breathing while imagining yourself calm and in a nature scene
  • Pray
  • Use the Headspace App
  • Turn on a video for the kids
  • Do yoga together
  • Blow bubbles
  • Ask your kids to apply lotion to your hands or brush your hair
  • Light a candle
  • Use one or two-word mantras as your computer password: smile, peace, honor, serenity
  • Or, check out this list of one, three, or five-minute ideas

Don’t stop now!

Add to this list.

Star your favorites.

Write a few on a post-it note and stick them around your house.

Sprinkle at least 5 “mini” self-care sessions throughout your day.

Self-care is critical. And it’s possible.

Yes. Even, for you.

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Nicole Schwarz (couch 3)

Welcome! I'm Nicole Schwarz.

I'm a Parent Coach, Licensed Therapist and Author of It Starts with You. I help stressed, overwhelmed, confused parents find calm, confidence and connection with their kids. No one is expecting perfection here. But, if you’re willing to examine your parenting, find encouragement, or try something new, this is the place for you.

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