Sustainability comes in many forms. Most of the time we’re focused on sustaining the environment and wildlife, but what about ourselves and our family? We invited Sarah Campin the Founder of Nourish, to talk about sustainable self-care for parents…
Before you go on reading, please take ten seconds for yourself to pause. Take a deep breath and let go. Roll your shoulders back and stretch your neck side to side.
Feel better? I know I do.
Right now, parents are facing a huge challenge. We are responsible for schooling our children (when schools are closed), entertaining them (when they cannot see their friends) and looking after their wellbeing (when many of them are anxious, down or worried). We still have to keep up with work, life admin, nurture our relationships, and – if there’s anything left – look after ourselves too. All of this is having a serious drain on our energetic resources.
Self-care is more important than ever. Because we can’t keep pouring from that empty cup. And I don’t mean expensive spa weekends or a luxury mani-pedi. Looking after yourself and recharging your batteries, isn’t about an expensive gym membership or a regular massage. While self-care might be sold to us as a weekend away with friends, it’s actually much simpler and more sustainable than that.
Self-care is about respecting our natural resources
Self-care is nourishment for our mind, body and energy levels. It’s about using small windows of opportunity in our day to recharge – reading a book or practicing mindfulness for 10 minutes instead of scrolling on social media, taking a relaxing bath or mindful shower rather than a quick wash, throwing a yoga pose while the kettle boils, getting outside and tuning into nature’s beauty or simply enjoying three long deep breaths.
Self-care is in fact all about understanding and respecting our own natural resources and embracing the fact that we are all only human. Yes, as parents, we have incredible resources, energy and strength to juggle everything and care for our families, but we also have our limits.
It can help to think of self-care like paying into your energetic bank balance, to prevent you from getting overdrawn and running on empty. By spreading small ‘me moments’ across the day, you are more able to deal with the daily demands of life and parenting, more energised and more focused.
How to make self-care sustainable?
Forming new habits can be tricky. It’s so much easier just to carry on as before, after all, change takes energy too! However, with a little effort up front, self-care can become second nature, so that the habits stick. Then they can continuously replenish our natural resources, ensuring that we stay fit, healthy and happy.
Here are some tips creating sustainable self-care habits:
- Start small and celebrate wins: small daily habits can become life-changing behaviours over time. The change can be small (5-minutes of yoga, breathing, walking, journaling or meditation per day) but the important thing is to stick to your new habit for at least two weeks, so that it just becomes part of your daily routine.
- Assign a time for self-care: be realistic about when you’re actually going to take a moment for yourself, and to be clear in your mind when it will be. Otherwise, it’s so easy to cruise straight through the day and forget all about it. You might find a good moment is when you get up, have lunch, or just after the children are in bed.
- Use visual prompts: Make your new self-care habit really obvious! You can use visual prompts such as pictures, objects or notes-to-self around the house, to remind you to do what you set out to do. Make a list of yoga poses that you can do quickly, or simply right BREATHE on a post-it-note on your kettle!
- Involve others: one of the things that stops us taking moments of self-care is feeling that we need to do things for others first. Getting support from others, who can remind you that you can take time out, can be really helpful. Talk to your family about your plan to take a few moments for yourself every day and ask them to help you do this. No doubt they will be really happy to help!
I discovered from my own experience of parental burnout, just how essential self-care is and how holding onto the belief that self-care is selfish, time-consuming and expensive, only gets in the way of our ability to take care of ourselves, so we can better take care of our children. That’s why my mission is to make self-care easier and more accessible for parents. I created the Nourish app to give you the tools to start your self-care journey at the click of a button.
So, if you are still craving the spa experience, why not try lighting some candles, playing some soothing meditations from the app and filling up your bath to replenish your energetic bank balance in a simple, sustainable way.
We are a collective of wellbeing practitioners (who are also mums) pooling our expertise to make self-care easier for time-poor, busy mums. The Nourish app – our on-demand, self-care toolkit, tailor-made for mums – is easy to navigate and rich with resources as your needs, interests, mood and availability change. Whether it is help to manage exhaustion, overwhelm, mum guilt, or trouble sleeping. Or if you have 5 or 15 minutes to spare. There is something for everyone – from advice on nutrition to yoga, affirmations, mindfulness, yoga nidra and breathing exercises. The Nourish app is free to download and explore, with free and Premium options available.
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