Updated: May 21
Many parents find themselves juggling working (at home or elsewhere), their children's education, and more meals at home in this challenging time - myself included. The idea of self-care is an alluring one, especially in this time of vulnerable health and wellness. However, is the Ayurvedic model of self-care realistic for parents? Doesn't it add more pressure and stress for a busy parent who's to-do list seems longer than ever? As an Ayurvedic Practitioner with two very young kids at home, my experience is that self-care can be possible as long as it is realistic, short, and sweet. I find that as long as I'm not asking too much of myself or my clients, self-care can do what it's supposed to: increase Ojas (immunity), not decrease it. Here's a few tips about how to make time for self-care.
1. Early To Bed Getting ample sleep is the best self-care thing you can do for yourself right now. If this is the only take away for you, great! Read on if you'd like to learn more...
Here’s what I do to get good sleep by dedicating the last hour of the day to “me” time. First, we put our boys to bed as early as possible, usually by 7 PM. I try to do only what is absolutely necessary after kissing them goodnight: dishes, clean up, breakfast prep, etc. Then, I spend the rest of the evening making my way to bed; arriving there between 9:00 and 9:30 PM. During this time, I try to do one self-care thing. You might consider taking a relaxing bath, yoga stretching, or just relaxing with a guided meditation or a good book. Keep it simple. Try to avoid doing screens right before bed as it keeps your brain from winding down. Just try it once to see how it feels. I promise you'll want to do it again once you feel the results the next morning.
2. Early to Rise If you’re able to get to bed earlier, hopefully you're waking up a little early, too. Dedicate the first hour of the day (or however long you have until the kids wake up) to yourself and enjoy the quiet, pure energy of the early morning. Again, pick one thing. Maybe you prefer yoga and meditation in the morning, a refreshing shower or writing in your journal. Switch it up a little so you're not getting into a rigid routine. Make these self-care morning routines short and sweet so you get what you need before the kids are up. I like to alternate what I do so I get my basics in over three days or so: yoga on the first, shower on the second and pranayama and meditation on the third day. Rinse and repeat. I’m feeling pretty good if I can get one rotation done in a week! Go with the flow and keep expectations low. That’s my mantra right now.
3. Quiet Time for All This is my favorite time of the day. After lunch is cleaned up, the boys and I gather in their bedroom and read books together for a little while. Then I leave them to read more on their own, rest, or play quietly in their room. This usually gives me about an hour to do something for myself. I might lay down on my bed and get into legs-up-the-wall pose or just relax with a cup of tea. Then I take care of my own business for a little while before the boys are out of their room. It’s a much needed break in the middle of the day. I honestly don’t know how I’d get through without it. Try committing 1-2 hours after lunch to quiet time for the kids and yourself. Stay away from screens during this time if you can and rest the senses that are usually over stimulated by now. Think of this as a practice, not something to perfect. I’m always working at it. Even doing this once or twice a week can be really helpful. I ask all my parent clients to give it a try. Good luck!