As parents, we often think that giving up time to take care of ourselves is part of being a good parent. But the truth is that an important part of being a parent is taking care of yourself, too. The more you take care of yourself, the more you can take care of your family. You don’t believe that? Try taking care of your rowdy three-year-olds with only two hours of sleep. Let’s see if you’re going to survive hours without screaming your head off. If you did survive, all our hats are off to you.
But what happens when it’s not just sleep that you’re lacking? What happens if you have to deal with more stressful things such as your addiction recovery program? Parents aren’t perfect. You should know that by now. Just because you are parents now doesn’t mean you cannot fall into deep problems that need professional help.
What Is Well-being?
Your well-being encompasses your physical, mental, social, and emotional health. It’s a combination of all these things. It is the culmination of how you feel about yourself physically, socially, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. At times, these feelings go up and down because of where you are at a particular point in your life.
But do you know what well-being does to a parent? It enables you to take care of your family better. It makes you happier and more fulfilled. When you are happy, you can be the parent you aim to be for your children.
Think about it. What happens when you are stressed? Aren’t you easily annoyed and irritated? The slightest thing can trigger you to break down. When you thought you were holding it all together, your one-year-old child dropped the cookie jar and out come all the cookie crumbs imaginable. What horror it is for you to clean and wipe everything again. It makes you want to lose your mind.
So you go to the bathroom to cry and scream. Worse, you actually scream at a one-year-old, believing that your kids are out to get you. But you know that’s not the case. If you think about it, you have been feeling exhausted and stressed out for weeks now. The breaking of the cookie jar was the last thread. Your children became your emotional punching bag.
What Does Your Well-being Do to Your Children?
How do your children react to you when you are stressed out? Since their ability to comprehend language isn’t 100% yet, they go by the tone of your voice. When you are angry or sad or frustrated, your children hear that from the sound of your voice. This is what they use to decide how they will react to you.
So whenever you snap at them, that tells them you’re angry at them and not because of the situation. They don’t understand yet that certain things can make you angry and it’s not about them. Over time, due to the lack of communication, your children will feel that they are a burden to you. Because you turn them into your emotional punching bag, they will be discouraged to open up to you about their troubles.
How to Know That You’re Taking Care of Your Well-being?
There’s one question you need to answer: do you have time to take care of yourself or are you wearing too many hats at once? If you can’t remember the last time you sat or lied down without needing to do anything, then that’s a sign that you haven’t had the time you need for yourself. How about sleep? When was the last time you have more than six hours of sleep? Although adults can survive with six hours of sleep every night, getting to rest the whole complete eight hours will rejuvenate and re-energize you.
Check your mental state, too. Are you still hopeful about tomorrow? Do you always feel desolate? Remember that you’re not only a parent. You’re a person, too. You need to take care of yourself if you want your whole family to benefit.
How Can You Improve Your Well-being?
You don’t have to do everything by yourself. Learn to reach out to people and ask for help. Avoid things that stress you out. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to avoid stressful situations. Some people might criticize you for not facing problems head-on but remember that you do what’s best for your family.
There will always be bad days but when those days turned into weeks and months, it’s time to seek professional help. There is no shame in that. But it’s also important to do these things not only for your family but most of all, for yourself.