Parenting isn’t always the blissful scene we imagine it’s going to be. Life coach Nadia Scrooby looks at ways for you to get through parenting while also looking after yourself.
The number one reason parents feel overwhelmed is exhaustion. Parenting is filled with beautiful, blissful moments, but the exhaustion can also lead to burnout.
The hustle is real! Here are some practical parenting tips and tricks to avoid burnout and be blissful.
Planning and being present
Having a plan in place will help, even if your plans go awry – that’s still better than flying by the seat of your pants. And planning means including plans B, and C – so that you can cope with whatever today’s planning challenges are.
Plan as much as you can and if planning is not one of your strengths, focus on streamlining your schedule. Make sure you are in the moment, and neither managing your lack of planning or over-planning what lies ahead. And remember to build in some flexibility.
Being mindful is one of the hardest skills to acquire. Your mind needs to be where you are. Don’t sweat the stuff that is not here and now. If you are at home, don’t be at work in your mind and when you are at work, don’t let your mind wander back home. Mindfulness takes practice, but the reward is enjoyment of each moment.
Prioritising parenting duties and yourself remain crucial. Parenting should be an extension of who you are, not a challenge to who you truly are. Take care of each priority and also take care of yourself. Stay true to who you are, because your family needs you, not a burnt-out version of you. To experience bliss you need to give what is needed and take what you need in return.
Breathing through it all
Crammed schedules and stress in all its forms, could create a lack of down-time and we should breathe through it all, literally. You need to determine your stress threshold and also manage predictable stressors and/or stressful times. Breathe deeply and intentionally to clear your thoughts.
Be in touch with your thoughts, to avoid anxiety and also practise sensory awareness. Overwhelmed senses also need a break. Do you wish you had enough time in a day to intentionally breathe, clear your thoughts and desensitise? Envision your happy place and go there often. Take your mind on a vacation, to your favourite memory or your safe space, as often as possible.
In your daily routine, take five minutes to visit your happy place and if you need a break from it all, communicate to your partner and family that you need half an hour each day on your own without interruption. Take time out, don’t boil the kettle, don’t answer the phone, just be with yourself and breathe. Fill your body with much needed oxygen to regenerate and revitalise.
Briefing and debriefing
Feelings create thoughts and thoughts create actions. Our emotions become our choices. Use a technique to “check in” your feelings similar to checking in on social media. Feeling excited at the airport … Feeling annoyed at the mall … Feeling optimistic … Feeling disappointed… We should do it more often in our minds. Brief yourself and check in with your own emotions regularly.
Getting it all done
Separate your “who” and your “do” when you are challenged with a never-ending to-do list. You are adventurous, but you have to do what a parent has to do, even when it may become mundane. You are more than your career and you are more than just a parent, you just have to brief yourself when it feels like all you attend to is your family’s requirements. Stay loyal, but learn to let go and to say no. If something really matters it will be worth all the effort. Keep in mind that your efforts are never in vain, unless you keep pursuing unrealistic demands.
Time management is a parent’s superpower, to get it all done. Be conscious about how you spend your time. Protect your heart and don’t compare yourself to other parents who seem to get it all done. Don’t nurture thoughts that make you feel less of a parent. Think about what you think about and prune negativity.
Negative parents parent negatively, anxious parents raise anxious kids, positive parents parent positively and calm parents have calm households. Make mistakes and try again. Nurture a growth mindset to sustain a peaceful home. Reinforce positive self-talk as well as positive family conversations. Discuss challenges and celebrate small victories.
Tips and tricks
- Honour your pre-parent self by fulfilling your personal appointments (including everything from exercise, beauty/grooming to health-check up regimes).
- Keep your creative outlet alive.
- Read your books, watch your movies and pursue your me-time outings.
- Date at home or go on a date; keep date nights a priority.
- Eat good food, drink enough water and experiment with new ideas in the kitchen.
- Enjoy the outdoors and soak up the sun.
- Identify your support structure and ask for help.
- Get your unique work-life balance and enjoy both.
Remember, having a bad day is okay. Exhaustion is real, but you can avoid exhaustion turning into burnout. When you are tired, learn to rest. Turn blissful moments into a blissful lifestyle.