Parenting can be hectic. For new parents, quality rest can seem like a luxury, and even sleeping can be challenging. A recent study on sleeping patterns of new parents reveals that only 10% of parents are able to get the recommended 7 hours of sleep, and that most new parents lose an average of three hours of sleep per day. Then, during the day, there are chores to be done: preparing your kids’ meals, feeding, bathing, and organizing your living space so it’s safe for you and the baby, among others.
However, resting is an integral part of parenting as it allows you to regulate your mood, allowing you to handle your kids’ needs more effectively. No matter how much time you have, there’s always a way for you to relax. Here are some relaxation tips for parents whose timetables seem to be overflowing with things to do.
A Few Hours to a Whole Day: Treat Yourself
Believe it or not, but there will come a time in your life as a parent where you get a chance to truly take a break. Perhaps your children are at an age where they can handle being away from you for longer periods of time. Or maybe you’re able to find an excellent babysitter. When you get this opportunity, maximize it by truly pampering yourself. If you are married and have a few hours to spare, try going on a lunch or dinner date.
If you have more time to spare, try something that you don’t often do. For instance, if you’re in Texas, organize an Austin spa day and get a massage or some facial treatments to relieve tension and improve your wellbeing. You can also engage in a new activity, or revisit a long-time hobby that you weren’t able to do since becoming a parent. Pampering yourself is a good chance for you to relax and reset, so when you come back to your children, you’re at a physical and mental space where you’re able to handle your family’s needs with ease.
30 Minutes to an Hour: Go on Walks
If you only have up to an hour of free time, you can try focusing on your physical health. It’s no secret that exercising is good for you, but finding time to exercise if you’re swamped with parenting duties can be challenging. You don’t have to go to the gym or roll out your yoga mat to exercise, however. Try walking instead, which has countless benefits. Studies have shown that walking for at least 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease by 19% while lowering levels of anxiety as well. It’s also something that is not too strenuous and does not require any equipment.
You can even take your child during your walks, as it is a perfect opportunity for you to bond. Taking a break does not really mean separating yourself from your kids. Instead, it can also mean temporarily removing yourself from the place associated with stress, which can be your own home. Walking offers you a chance to do this while also creating a new bonding activity for you and your kid.
1 – 15 minutes: Practice Breathing Exercises
If you’re really swamped with tasks and can only have a few minutes to yourself, you can try to relax by practicing breathing exercises. Proper breathing is an important aspect of emotional regulation. A 2020 study found that breathing exercises enhance certain neuro-cognitive functions that are related to emotional control in healthy individuals. One practice related to this is mindfulness, which emphasizes focusing on your own breathing to calm your mind. To do this, try breathing in and out slowly through your nose, and then following the movement of each inhale and exhale. If you can, notice the finer details of the action, too, such as where you feel your breath the most. You can do this for a few minutes to calm your mind.
The importance of relaxation for parents cannot be understated. Try taking time for yourself to be the best version of a parent you can be