Every parent knows that it’s easy to put the kids first and yourself last – but when you are also juggling the added responsibilities and mental load of blended family life, self-care can often be thrown to the wayside because you already have too many things on your to-do list.
But here’s a vital truth: prioritizing self-care as a parent is not only beneficial for your own well-being but also essential for creating a happy and harmonious blended family life – so let’s run through some tips to help you prioritise self-care within your blended family.
1. Recognise the importance of self-care
Parenting in general requires immense physical, emotional and mental energy. Neglecting self-care can lead to burnout, increased stress levels and even a reduced ability to meet your family’s needs effectively.
Remember: prioritising self-care as a parent is not selfish; it is an act of self-preservation and love for your family. By taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally, you ensure that you have the energy and resilience to meet the demands of parenting – allowing you to foster a healthier, happier environment for yourself and your blended family.
TIP! If you’re struggling to make time for yourself, why not block it out in the calendar? It could be a weekly half hour coffee catch up with a friend, a massage once a month or whatever you enjoy.
2. Prioritise physical wellbeing
Taking care of your physical health directly impacts your ability to care for your family – but this looks different for everyone.
It could mean making time each day to exercise – perhaps a 30 minute morning walk to kick off the day and boost your mood. It could mean making sure you’re eating a nutritious diet (or making sure you’re not skipping meals because you’re always on the run) and it may even be as simple as scheduling that doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off because your schedule feels too hectic.
Whilst exercise does improve your physical well-being as well as boosting mood and reducing stress levels, that’s only one piece of the puzzle.
3. Nurture your mental and emotional well-being
Blended family life is not easy and involves navigating a wide range of emotions. It’s essential that you nurture your own emotional well-being in order to maintain a sense of balance and perspective.
Think of it this way – when you’re stressed or upset, little things tend to bother you much more than they otherwise would. A comment from a co-parent could derail your entire day or you may find yourself questioning everything.
Engage in activities that bring you joy and allow you to recharge emotionally. This might be hobbies, meditation, journaling or spending quality time with those you love.
Blended family parenting requires constant scheduling, decision making and problem solving. Taking care of your mental and emotional wellbeing allows you to think clearly and make sound choices.
4. Build a Support Network
As cliché as it may sound, it really does take a village to raise a child – and perhaps even moreso in a blended family.
Self-care thrives in a supportive community. Connect with other parents who understand the challenges you face and can offer support and advice. Share responsibilities with your partner, family members or close friends to create opportunities for personal time. Consider joining blended family parenting groups or seeking out online communities where you can find advice, encouragement and empathy.
5. Remember that it’s okay to say no
As parents, we often feel like “no” is the most frequently used word in our vocabulary (especially in those toddler years!) – but we often forget to use it when it’s most important.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to be everything for everyone, however, setting boundaries and learning how and when to say “no” is a vital component of self-care.
Know your limits and learn to delegate or decline responsibilities when needed. By prioritising your wellbeing and ensuring you’re not overextending yourself, you are able to become a more present and engaged parent.