We ask our kids to love themselves unconditionally but it often feels very hard to do this ourselves, doesn’t it? So how, as a parent, can you accept yourself as you are, flaws and all? Well this may not be entirely possible, because everyone has a harsh voice lurking deep inside that threatens the peace. Rather the challenge is to ask, how do you take care of yourself, in spite of self doubt, fear and weakness. Here are six ways to begin to be nicer to yourself.
Say “No” a little more often
Respecting your own limits as a parent is a big part of taking care of yourself. It is so easy to fall into the trap of allowing others to take advantage of you or trying to please everyone, all the time. When we respect that voice inside that is whispering “No” we learn to listen to a part of ourselves which is asking for some relief. That in itself is an incredibly caring act.
Look after your body
Taking care of your body is an important way to show up for yourself. This includes doing moderate exercise, drinking enough water, and eating healthy foods that will keep your body strong. You need to be healthy so you can actively take care of your kids and you can’t do that if your body feels weak or broken.
Try be grateful
Thinking about what you’re grateful for is a great way to remind yourself how great life is and how well you are actually doing. Loving the little things in your life is a nice way to be reminded of all the good things you have going for yourself. Consider keeping a gratitude journal and making it a daily practice to name a few key things a day that make life worth living.
Sleep enough, dream more
Sleep is not only an important time for your body to switch off, but it is also the crucial time where dreaming happens. When we sleep, our minds get to work dreaming. Buried deep inside these dream stories are our deepest conflicts and worries from the day. Sigmund Freud talked about how the fantastical aspects of our dreams are there to code our worries so we don’t recognise them. This protects the dreamer from realising what’s on her mind and actually waking up. Meaning that the weirder the dream, the deeper the sleep and the greater the rest! So let yourself sleep, and trust your mind to take care of the rest.
Figure out how you feel and talk about it
It is crucial to figure out what’s going on in your mind and talk to someone about it. There is nothing wrong with having conflicts and confusion. In fact this is an ordinary part of life. It is actually our responsibility to validate these feelings and make sense of them in a safe space where meaning can be made.
Be kind to yourself about learning
It can feel crippling to realise that as adults, we still have a long way to go. This may be felt financially, in relationships, or even professionally. But it’s really okay if every day is a learning experience where you grow incrementally. Come to think about it, how boring would life be if we had achieved everything already!
The bottom line
Self-love begins by letting yourself be ordinary, vulnerable and fallible. When we place incredibly high expectations on ourselves, we set ourselves up for failure. Start with baby-steps and introduce a few of these self-care practices into your day and then watch to see how much more energy you feel for yourself and the loved ones around you.