This can help if:
- You want your family to get into the habit of self-care
- You're worried about time and money when it comes to self-care
- You're not managing to stick to a self-care routine
Why should self-care be a priority for families?
Practicing self-care can make you feel happier and more physically, mentally and emotionally able to deal with life’s pressures and stresses. So for busy, hectic families, making self-care a priority makes sense. It helps parents be better carers. And it role models a positive behaviour for teens that they’ll adopt and benefit from into adulthood.
Work together to figure out the best self-care options for each of you
Individually ask yourselves, what makes you feel good? What would you like to do more of? Self-care is different for everyone:
- For parents – who may have forgotten! – what did you love doing before you had a family?
- For children, remind them of the things you’ve seen them enjoying.
- Think low budget or free. This is about filling hearts with joy not emptying your bank account.
Carve out time for individual self-care
Self-care adds up like coins in a jar. Every 5 or 10 minutes accumulates for good:
- If an idea is too time-consuming, see if it can be pared back. That National Park hike can wait, but perhaps 10 minutes a day in the local park can be fitted in.
- Use ‘dead time’. For example enjoy a podcast in the car, walk or cycle instead of driving locally, seek out an area you like to eat lunch rather than bolt it on your feet or at your desk.
- Use ‘free-time’ better. Zombie social media scrolling and series binge watching can sap your soul. Free a bit of that time up for your happy stuff.
- Be realistic about how much time you need to feel a benefit from your self-care. Some people need more than others, so don’t undercook what you need.
Commit to a routine
Put your individual self-care plans into the family week planner/wall chart:
- See this as an ongoing wellbeing plan, not an emergency response for when things get too much.
- Have the attitude that self-care activities are the last to be dropped from the schedule, not the first.
Back each other up! Tell each other what you’re doing when and encourage the family to help and support each other:
- Maybe swap chores, so someone can go and do the self-care they scheduled.
- Ask for, or take advantage of, help from other family and friends.
- Use local services, like after school care, to make time for self-care.
Reflect and adapt
Schedule a time once a month (perhaps in a regular family meeting) to see how everyone’s doing. Adapt what isn’t working:
- Would a different time of day work better? Earlier can be easier because it’s hard to stop what you’re doing as the day progresses.
- Would a different day be better? What feels great on Saturday morning might not work on Monday lunchtime.
- Encourage your family to keep at it. Be clear that you value self-care and will always support them in being able to do it.