If you’re struggling with self-care, you might learn something by watching your kids. Ever notice how they live a carefree life. Sure, they don’t have to “adult” but they seem to take in the small things in life so much easier. Even if they refuse to eat Brussel sprouts, they know important facts about how to keep our bodies and minds in top shape.
As adults, we sometimes neglect ourselves because we’re overwhelmed by responsibilities or feel like we don’t deserve to be treated with kindness. See how children can remind you to make yourself a priority.
Ways Your Kids Can Teach You About Self-Care
- Play games. Self-care offers serious benefits, but the process can be light-hearted. Turn your work into a game and plan fun activities for your leisure time.
- Enjoy food. You’re more likely to stick to a healthy diet if you like what you’re eating. Think of food as your friend instead of something that sticks to your hips.
- Sing and dance. Music relieves stress and makes tedious tasks more pleasant. Create a playlist for routine paperwork and household chores. Sing in the shower, so you can start and end each day in a much better mood.
- Tell a joke. Give yourself a reason to laugh. Tell a funny story to your family or friends. Watch cartoons, sitcoms, or funny videos. Look for the humor in challenging situations.
- Go barefoot. Do your feet ache by the end of the day? Going barefoot feels liberating and strengthens your muscles. Remove your shoes as often as possible. And every so often, treat yourself to a pedicure and foot massage.
- Try new things. What would happen if we gave up because we fell down the first few times that we tried to walk? Do you let your kids give up immediately? Give yourself credit for trying and value learning from experience.
- Make friends. Schedule your own mom-dates. Invite a new mom out for lunch. Introduce yourself to another student in your yoga class.
- Speak up. Let others know what you really think. Have deep conversations with your loved ones and contribute to business meetings.
- Be creative. Experiment with different art forms. You may rediscover your love for finger painting or move on to metal crafting. Maybe you’ll prefer writing a novel or performing stand-up comedy.
- Express enthusiasm. Do you feel awkward about showing your appreciation? Brighten someone’s day by paying them a sincere compliment. Give yourself a round of applause for cleaning out the garage or throwing a dinner party.
A few other ways I have learned about self-care from my kids:
- Stay active. If you’re trying to push yourself to exercise, think about how children keep moving throughout the day. Working out will get easier if you make it a regular habit.
- Say no. A toddler’s favorite word can help you to honor your limits. Set boundaries and enforce them. Let others know how you expect to be treated. Turn down projects that would interfere with pursuing your main goals.
- Ask for help. You can accomplish more when you’re willing to accept assistance from others. Encourage teamwork at the office. Tell your family and friends what kind of support you need to manage health conditions or recover from a breakup.
- Take breaks. Adults need recess too. Use your vacation days and pause between tasks. Allowing yourself adequate downtime reduces stress and increases your productivity. When I work, I always plan in a 10-minute break once an hour. That might be having a non-work related conversation with a co-worker or to get up and walk around to get the blood circulating.
- Share your toys. Serving others is one of the most effective ways to enhance your happiness and wellbeing. Use your strengths and resources generously. Volunteer in your community and donate to worthy causes. Feed birds, pick up litter and help your neighbors with yard work.
Children may lose their minds at times, but they usually remember to take care of themselves. Allocating some regular me time in your busy schedule will help you to feel more connected to yourself and others. And this connectedness will bring more joy and less overwhelm.