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By Adrie Van Wonterghem  

One of the most important ways we can care for our children and the children we serve, is by first caring for ourselves. The moment our children enter our lives, our attention is consumed with their wellbeing, happiness, and prosperity. But in order to be the best caregiver for our little ones, it is important to take time to shift the attention back towards ourselves and make sure that our physical, mental, and emotional needs are met. By prioritizing our mental health and setting time aside to check in with ourselves, we are able to be fully present with our little ones and support their development to the fullest. Here are a few ways you can practice Self- Care this week: 

Pause. Sit. Breathe. 

Find small moments throughout the day to stop what you’re doing and breathe. Often our attention is constantly bouncing from one task to the next, leaving us drained and distracted. Shift your focus and refresh your energy by taking a moment to press pause. Take advantage of the quiet nap time brings and use it to take a mindful minute. Focus on your breath and redirect your thoughts inward.  

Go for a walk.  

Exercise is good for the mind and the body. Whether it’s by yourself or behind a stroller, walking in nature gives us a break from screens and a chance to reenergize our bodies. Exercise releases positive endorphins, and can improve mood, attention, and focus.  

Make a Gratitude List.  

One of the easiest ways to redirect our attention from stress and anxiety is to make a list of the things we are grateful for. Take a few minutes to jot down the things you are thankful for, bring you joy, or simply make you smile. By shifting our thoughts from the negative to the positive, we can relieve stress and remind ourselves of the joys of parenting.  

Schedule Dates with Yourself.  

Alone time is a self-care essential! Finding a couple hours to yourself can seem impossible at times. Schedule time in the week for yourself. No kids, no spouses, no distractions. In order to be fully present in the areas of our lives that matter most, it is important to be present with ourselves as well. Even something as simple as a coffee run can provide a much-needed reprieve and a chance to reflect on your thoughts and feelings. 

When we take time to care for our individual well beings, we not only give ourselves a chance to refresh, but we model for our children behaviors that promote positive mental health and emotional expression. Acknowledge the time you take to care for yourself and encourage your children to be comfortable with alone time and addressing their emotional needs. 

To learn more about parent selfcare, register for our Winter Parent Webinar Series! 

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