Self-care for parents is almost an oxymoron at different stages of parenting. When you’re sleep deprived or juggling a busy schedule it can seem impossible to find time for yourself. The best way to view self-care is to get back to the basics. We’re going to keep it real simple, because the last thing you need is more stuff on your to-do list. We partnered with Trish Twiford Perfetto of The Well Space to share 5 tips for parents to have a healthy & peaceful holiday season:
Yes, we know you do it all the time, but we’re talking about conscious breathing. Intentional, on purpose deep breathing can reset your nervous system and take you from frazzled to peaceful in a matter of minutes. Intentional deep breathing is a great way to start and end these stressful days with a peaceful mind. This is an easy practice to do with kids. Ask them what animals they can breathe like. Breathe in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and out like a snake sssssssss or a cat prrrrrrrrrrr. They will have you all giggling in no time!
Tip: When in the car, use every red light as a reminder to STOP & BREATHE. Instead of getting upset that you are delayed, use it as a time to find your center.
The holiday season can bring tons of sugar and processed foods along with it. Research shows that eating excessive sugar can actually deplete the immune system. Indulge a little, but remember that eating as many whole foods as you can will keep you healthy. Have a healthy snack, for yourself or your kids, before events you know will be full of sweets. A full belly can help you to eat less sugar. You can also throw some healthy snacks for the whole family in your purse, car or diaper bag for on the go. According to ancient Chinese medicine, it is best for your body to eat warm, cooked foods during the winter months. So stick with soups, stews, roasted & steamed veggies when you can.
Tip: Herbs & supplements are your friends! It can be hard to eat well while we’re on the go, so using high quality supplements is so useful. My favorites are Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Elderberry Syrup & Ginger tea.
We know you hear it all the time, but this is KEY. DRINK WATER. Hydration will strengthen your kidneys and increase your energy. Drinking water when you first wake up is a great way to start the day. Keep a water cup on your desk or counter to remind you to sip regularly. Make sure to bring a reusable water bottle (preferable stainless steel or glass) around with you everywhere. If you’re packing one for the kids, pack one for you too!
Tip: Reach for your water bottle instead of your phone! Taking a sip before you scroll will help you stay hydrated all day long.
4. Say No
Yes, the holidays are crazy. However, we do have a choice to make them really crazy, or actually enjoyable. Remind yourself that you don’t have to say yes to every party, event, gift exchange etc. Do the ones you truly WANT to do, not the ones you feel HAVE to do. Setting boundaries and knowing how much energy you have to spend is so essential.
Tip: Keep these limits in mind when you’re planning events. Sometimes post holiday get togethers are the most fun!
Remember, wintertime is actually a time of hibernation. Since we are a part of nature, listening to what this season is telling us is important. We want to conserve our energy more than spend it. Saying no to doing ALL the things and saying yes to resting and spending quality downtime with your family might be the best self-care for this season.
Tip: this is a great time for family game nights, cooking together, making crafts or gifts, or even planning your spring adventures.
Remember that as you work at improving your self-care, your little ones will learn from you! Happy and thriving parents = happy and thriving kids. Give your whole family the gift of self care this year!
Trish Twiford Perfetto is Co-Owner of The Well Space. She holds a Masters degree in Acupuncture from the Tai Sophia Institute in Laurel, MD and is licensed by the state of Maryland Acupuncture Board. She is also certified in Chinese Herbal Medicine from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. In addition, Trish is a certified NADA (National Acupuncture Detox Association) specialist and is trained in Core I of Zero Balancing. Her post-graduate studies include Chinese herbal medicine pediatric acupuncture, cancer support, pain management and studies with a noted master of Chinese Medicine, Jeffery Yuen. She also is currently a teaching assistant at Tai Sophia Institute. Trish also holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park and is a certified TEFL teacher.