Today it hasn’t gone unnoticed by myself that it’s World Sleep Day, and when you’re a parent, sleep (or rather decent sleep) is one of the things that we get so used to not having and we tend to forget that it’s so important when it comes to our health and self-care.
I must admit that I got scarily used to functioning on minimal sleep when Arlo was going through a bad sleep phase as a baby this time last year. He’s been poorly this past week with tonsilitis, and as a result we’ve had several bad nights and that period last year has come screaming back to me! I’m also my own worst enemy in the sleep department, staying up late to work or to feel I’ve had some ‘me time’, and I definitely don’t get enough. Throw in two jobs, 3 children with demanding schedules and social lives, a house move and general life admin, and I must admit that I’ve felt dreadful these past few days and super-tired, and it’s made me realise just how much you need to look after yourself when life is busy and sleep is often in short supply.
Here are some ways you can look after yourself as a busy parent – my go-to ideas I need to make sure I stick to when times are tough juggling-wise like they have been lately!
Breathe (and deeply!)
When I’m feeling stressed and uptight I often realise that I’m just not actually breathing properly or deeply, and that by taking just a couple of minutes to reset myself in the lung-department, I very quickly feel calmer and my body feels less tense.
Fuel yourself properly
Sounds obvious but eating well and making sure your body gets what it needs is a surefire way to give your body a fighting chance when you’re busy, busy, busy. Often when I’m under pressure it’s very easy to grab something rubbish to eat, or to pour another drink in order to ‘relax’, when actually that’s the worst thing you can do. By drinking loads of water, eating plenty of protein and veg I fuel my body the best I can.
Take a supplement
Whilst I do try and have a balanced diet, I’m a big believer in taking the right supplements to compliment the food I’m eating. This past month I’ve been trying Zenflore in addition to my meals. Zenflore contains 1714-Serenitas culture which is a good bacteria that is scientifically proven to support a healthy mind and body. I’m a big believer in anything that helps me increase in my energy levels, and I’m convinced I’ve felt perkier since taking the capsules- I will report back though on social media in another couple of months! I also like the fact that Zenflore contains B vitamins which help give you an energy boost. Zenflore can be bought online or in various health food shops- certainly worth a go if you’ve been feeling run down, something that happens easily as a busy parent!
Go to bed earlier!
I must take my own advice with this one- get to sleep earlier, woman! Preferably with a good book. World Sleep Day highlights the need for better and more sleep, so I really need to prioritise this, especially with an unpredictable toddler.
If I find myself losing the plot and needing some time out (if only this was prescribed to parents like we dish it out to children as a form of calming down!), I find going for a walk or run really helps. We live near some beautiful woods, and getting out and about in nature is really good for the soul.
Have a healthy morning routine
I am definitely someone who thrives on a bit of routine (I know, I’m ker-azy), and starting my morning in a calm manner means that I’m more likely to leave for the school run cool, calm and vaguely collected, rather than a screaming banshee. Getting up at 6.15am, jumping in the shower, then hot water and lemon followed by a coffee and healthy breakfast means I get the best possible start to my day, whatever is on the cards later on.
Connect with friends
Lately I’d been feeling on a bit of a hamster wheel and that the evenings seemed to slip away in a blur of eating, chores, work and then slumping in front of the telly or messaging on What’s App. Last week I actually picked up the phone (shock horror!) and called two friends on successive evenings for a chat for nearly an hour each, and came away afterwards feeling fantastic- we laughed, talked and connected and you forget how much you need that contact with your friends. Will be doing this more often!
How do you look after yourself as a busy parent?
See some of my other health posts.
Disclosure: This is a paid partnership with Zenflore.