To prove that I practice what I preach (that caregivers should engage in regular self-care), I thought I’d share what I do to help me manage the stress and anxiety of adulthood/parenthood.
1. Exercise – this is the most important one for me. I can tell a HUGE difference in my mood if I don’t exercise 2-3 times per week. When it was nice outside I would jog or walk with the baby and dog. Now that it’s cold, it’s more difficult to get in, but I try to get on the elliptical or treadmill a few times per week.
2. Read – when I’m not SUPER tired (so maybe 3-4 times per week), I try to read before bed. Earlier this week I finished Dan Brown’s new book, Origins.
3. Get out of the house – I get real bad cabin fever if I don’t leave the house every few days. Yes, it can be a pain to get the baby out, but I get pretty grumpy if I don’t get out and make an extra trip to target or hobby lobby, or just walk around the mall.
4. Play games on my iPad – this is going to sound soooo childish and I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but I’m hooked on Cooking Fever and it’s one of the first things I do after the baby goes to bed. It just helps me disconnect from the stress of the day.
5. Play the piano – full disclosure: I don’t get to do this as much as I want to. Every time I start playing the piano, the baby crawls over and wants to bang on the keys. I’m happy to let her do that, but I cannot play and hold her in my lap at the same time!
My challenge for EVERYONE is to do at least one thing each day that is for you only and makes you feel happy, calm, and/or less stressed. If you make it a priority, you’ll see positive results!