Here are a few self-care strategies to help parents strengthen relationships, be compassionate toward themselves, and renew their energy. For some of these activities, try them after you put the children to bed. If both parents are staying at home right now, let one parent take the children
outside to play giving the other parent a chance to relax. Then, parents can switch the next day.
1. Journal for 20 minutes. Write in a free-flowing stream-of-consciousness style. Notice feelings that are just under the surface.
2. Turn on uplifting music – maybe a song with a strong message you need to hear, some rock and roll song you loved in high school, African drumming, flute music, or a catchy pop single.
3. Write or send a text or email to someone – a “thinking of you” message, a “get well" message, a "congratulations" message, or a “no-reason” message.
4. Make yourself a nice drink like chamomile tea, hot chocolate, or juice – and sip it slowly.
5. Color a picture from a coloring book with or beside your child. Take your time.
6. Go on a social media kindness spree – use 20 minutes to post nice comments on people’s social media or through messenger.
7. Make a cozy spot – make a blanket fort with your kids and climb in it with them (resting and hiding and giggling).
8. Go for a walk (preferably in the woods or near water).
9. Download a gratitude app and record what you’re thankful for - (e.g. a short commute, a great babysitter, a cozy home).
10. Do a short mental health break by closing your eyes, breathing deeply, focusing on your breath, and relaxing your body starting with your jaw, moving down to your neck and shoulders, arms, back, etc. Feel the tension leave your body as you continue to breathe and relax all the way from head to your toes.
11. Do a single tiny household chore that’s been bothering you – empty one drawer or clean one shelf of your fridge. Pat yourself on the back for completing it.
12. Sit on the couch and put your feet up and close your eyes – take a catnap or a daydream nap. Notice what shows up when you close your eyes.
13. Play salon with your child and paint each other’s nails or toes. Play some fun music while doing this – laugh!
These ideas have been excerpted from the book Joy Fixes for Weary Parents, by Erin Leyba, PhD