As a parent, it’s very easy to get completely immersed in your role as world-shaper and master of the universe for your kids. As a result, we wind up swamped by the stress of all the required minutiae of maintaining a household, extra-curriculars, school work, play dates and the precious unstructured time that makes up so many of our most treasured memories. Add economic work and relationship work to parenting work, and the depth of our exhaustion screams out for a remedy. Parents, we take such good care of our littles, our partners, our relatives, our jobs and our friends. We have to change the focus: we have to practice self-care.
For many of us, this last week has been particularly stressful because of the content of the relentless news cycle. I’m sharing some of the tools I use to create space and allow for self-rejuvenation. Please share your tools as well so that we can all help each other to stay mentally and physically healthy.
No Cost Childcare Help:
Do you have good friends who have children who are close to your children’s ages? We have come up with a system where we happily invite our friends’ kids over to play while the parents go out. Those parents are usually happy to return the favor by entertaining our brood while we have date night. It’s a mutually beneficial system where no money is exchanged, but both parties benefit. The kids get a playdate and both sets of parents get a breather.
I get all 20 nails done while relaxing into a kneading spa chair surrounded by cheerful sounding banter that isn’t directed at me so I don’t have to listen. I find that it’s important to make sure to get my fingernails done too, so that I can’t use my phone and I have to completely unplug. It’s a blissful hour twice a month.
Escape from the news cycle:
I shop for furniture online. How I love to imagine that I could inhabit a space that looks like it has jumped out of a magazine! While I’m sitting in a darkened room waiting for my kids to fall asleep, instead of reading another op-ed, I sort through a world of lamps and accent tables, dip-dyed seagrass baskets and shag rugs. I love it.
I listen to true crime podcasts. True crime podcasts have the perfect mix of mystery, story-telling and (importantly for me) distance from my everyday life to offer an alternative to the news cycle while still engaging my brain.
I watch television shows like The Great British Baking Show, Queer Eye and murder mystery shows that are light on blood and gore but full of likable characters and interesting twists like Death in Paradise. I’m looking forward to Dancing Queen because there is no drama that Alyssa Edwards’s thunderous tongue click cannot shut right out of your mind.
I read novels instead of the news. I have a Kindle, and there are tons of free e-books available. There are many thousands more available for under $5 each, making this an affordable indulgence to take my mind off the news.
I switch from Facebook to Instagram and follow awesome accounts like @crazycuteasianbabies.
Rejuvenate for the long haul:
I try to exercise on a somewhat consistent schedule. In all honesty, I don’t look forward to the workouts as much as anything else listed here, but I do love how great I feel after exercising.
Date night is a great way to reclaim your adulthood from the hustle and bustle of caring for your family.