As I read an article by Alison Hannah describing how and why she bought herself an inexpensive bouquet of flowers as an act of self-care, I remembered that I used to do the same before I had children.
On my way home from work, I would walk past a florist’s shop with lovely displays of flowers in the window. Inexpensive bouquets of yellow carnations, red roses and pink gerbera flowers were displayed in plastic containers outside the shop. In the spring, bunches of tulips and daffodils would appear.
Every so often, I would be captivated by the beauty of a bouquet and buy it just for myself. I’d arrange it in a vase on my windowsill and enjoy looking at it.
I can’t remember the last time I bought myself a bouquet of flowers just because I wanted to. When you have children, there are so many demands on your budget that non-essential items, let alone little luxuries for yourself, are often out of the question.
All the demands on your time also make it harder to find time for doing things you enjoy. It’s especially difficult if you have a full-time or part-time job on top of your family responsibilities.
Why Self-Care is More Important Than Ever for Parents
This is the time in your life when you need self-care more than ever.
To renew your energy.
To help you keep going, day after day.
You can’t run on empty. If you do, you’ll burn out after a while.
And yet … it’s difficult. Difficult to find time for yourself when you’re putting everyone else first. This is especially true when your children are babies and toddlers. Once they start school, you do tend to have a little breathing space.
Money can also be an issue. Your budget is probably a lot tighter than it was before you had children, but, at the same time, you have more expenses.
If you’ve returned to work part-time, you may be earning less but spending more on childcare. This means you can no longer afford a weekend away with your partner or a spa day with your friends.
Quick and Easy Self-Care Ideas for Busy Parents
So, you need to get creative and find some ways to take time out for yourself without spending a fortune. Try to find at least 15 minutes for self-care every day. Here are some ideas:
- Treat yourself to a pack of herbal or fruit tea you haven’t tried before. Take 10 minutes to sip a steaming cup mindfully in the middle of a busy day.
- Go for a short walk, preferably in a park or somewhere where there are trees and flowers to admire. Notice the warmth of the sun on your skin or a cool breeze caressing your cheek.
- Put on some music you love and just dance — singing along is optional!
- Buy an inexpensive face mask. Take 20 minutes to apply it, relax, wash it off, and apply moisturizer.
- Polish your fingernails — and your toenails, too, if you have time.
- Borrow a book from the library, go to bed early and read it.
- Listen to an audiobook or podcast.
- Curl up on the sofa with a hot chocolate and watch a movie on Netflix.
- Do something creative, such as knitting, crochet, painting or coloring. Or try a craft you’ve never tried before.
- Before bed, relax in the bath, breathing in the fragrance of a calming aromatherapy bubble bath
- Set a weekly “treats budget” and treat yourself to something that makes you feel good, without feeling any guilt. You could buy a bar of chocolate, a zingy shower gel, a magazine or a bouquet of fragrant flowers!
As parents with busy lives, it’s more important than ever to take some time for self-care without feeling any guilt. Remember how busy you are and how hard you work, and tell yourself you deserve time to yourself to just be you and enjoy your life. Anything else — housework, tasks on your to-do list, emails — can wait.
Being kind and gentle to yourself will help you to be a kinder and gentler parent.
What is your favourite way of taking some time for yourself?