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Self-care for Parents: Simple, Affordable Ways to Recharge

A black woman's face as she floats in a body of water with her eyes closed.

The minute you become a parent, it is almost second nature to neglect your needs so your child does not go without. This innate mindset to sacrifice oneself can lead to burnout, resentment, and a host of negative thinking about being a parent. 

Yes, the bills must be paid, and your child will need food, medication, or something for school but that does not mean these must come at the expense of your care. Let’s be real, how often have you felt tired, like you could use a pick me up but instead of doing something for yourself, you opted to do something for your child or the family instead. I know I have. 

That thing that’s forever in your online shopping cart, that you won’t purchase because the little one may need something. Or, that time you went to buy something for yourself but came back with things for your child instead. Don’t forget when you just opted to not get something just in case the family needed something “more important” that could come up. 

I understand. It can be hard to break from the innate need to neglect self, we invalidate the importance of self-care items and push through the exhaustion or need for a break. Or, we tell ourselves it will be too expensive to indulge in self-care. But that does not have to be our reality. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore affordable ways parents can recharge and engage in self-care without breaking the bank. 

What is self-care, truly?

With the growth of social media and influencers, the term self-care has become self-indulgence including massages, facials or even lavish vacations. And because of the misclassification, we have been led to believe that we are unable to indulge in self-care without investing a fortune. 

Contrarily, self-care is taking care of yourself to be healthy. It does not have to mean lavish vacations or buying fancy products. Though that sounds great, you may not have the disposable income to indulge right now. 

Budget-friendly ways to practice self-care for parents

It's the simple things that can help you recalibrate and unwind when you're in a crunch. Here is a list of things you can do to recharge that will likely not cost you a penny.  

Spend time outside

It may seem simple but science has proven that getting outside has tremendous benefits to an individual’s health. Whether it is for a lazy stroll around the block or sitting out to soak up some sun, there is just something about being among nature that reconfigures the body, mind, and soul. This simple act can help you feel better, lessen anxiety, improve sleep, boost creativity, and positively affect your immunity.  The best part about it is it’s free! 

Do some journaling 

This may be the right activity for you if you feel like you have 100 tabs open and wondering, “Where is that sound coming from?!” Writing things down can be a significant help in decluttering and enhancing your mental well-being. By doing this you can find inspiration, get an objective view of what you’ve been pondering, and reduce your anxiety, all while keeping track of your progress with an issue. 

Embrace affordable at-home workout 

Physical activity has been touted as the but the mental effects are just as wonderful. The CDC has stated that being physically active can improve your brain health, help weight management, reduce the risk of disease, and strengthen bones and muscles. Studies have shown that a simple aerobic exercise routine like jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, gardening, and dancing, has caused a reduction in anxiety and depression, thus eliminating stress. 

Take up a hobby 

With work, family, and many of our other commitments, life can get hectic. That is why it is important to carve some time out to do something you like, just because. Whether gardening, reading, woodworking, writing, dancing, or photography, dedicating time to your interests can help broaden your expertise and help you refocus.  

Cuddle with someone you love 

A good meaningful snuggle with a partner, friend, or even your child can help your mood. Cuddling releases oxytocin — the feel-good hormone — that helps with reducing stress. Once released in our bodies, we feel happy, and relaxed and experience an improved mood and lower levels of depression. I am no doctor, but schedule that snuggle session STAT!

Practice self-compassion 

Talking positively to combat negative thoughts can be helpful. Your inner voice and how you speak to yourself are critical to your mental wellness. Judging, criticising, or berating yourself is no way to care for yourself. Reciting affirmations is one way you can help to rewire your brain and thought process. Repeat these 15 affirmations for parents daily, to help you practice self-compassion.  

Final Thoughts: Take care of yourself

Remember, taking care of yourself is essential for being the best parent you can be! It does not always require a chunk of your savings. It can be a simple act of kindness you extend to help yourself cope. Though you may believe that delaying self-care for your child’s benefit is best, it isn’t. Your child needs to see you take care of yourself.  In taking care of yourself you are helping to break the cycle of self-neglect and teaching your children the value of self-care.

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