Tell me why I don’t like Blue Mondays, is it The Hazy Shade of Winter?Jan 16, 2022
Let’s be honest, the dark days of Winter can get to us all. I’ve certainly felt it this year. It’s not stopped raining for weeks here in Wales.
Going outside is often challenging with bad weather, which means a lack of sunlight and less exercise for us and our children to burn off that excess energy which builds up from being stuck indoors.
Plus, as parents of children with different needs, we often spend a lot more time on sorting out support for our children than we do ourselves. And this is important, because quite often, those ‘needs’ are amplified or exacerbated at this time of the year. Especially as we are trying to settle back into a routine after the Christmas season.
These are what I call ‘energy drainers’. Those time consuming meetings, form filling, conversations with schools/experts, planning routines, you know, the things that many parents/carers don’t have to think about such as the 49 page form I had to complete recently!
What I find most draining though, is that all the time we are doing this, we have to keep highlighting the negative aspect of our kids needs vs their wonderful aspects and individuality. This can have a huge toll on our well-being and mental health because we can’t just turn off the feelings that come up and those feelings can be transferred into our behaviour around our children; which as we know they pick up on.
I often hear many parents share how they have no time to themselves to look after their own wellbeing. It can be hard thinking about what we can do to look after ourselves, especially when we feel we don’t have any spare time.
I’m going to encourage you to consider some of these self-care prompts you can do on a daily basis when thinking about wellbeing tips you can do for yourself. These can be popped into your everyday activities, so you don’t need more time… just utilise what you do have!
Weaving in self-care as part of your daily routine is a win-win, it’s a lot easier to add to something you already do which means you are more likely to keep it up and reminds your own brain that you are important.
Mix and match what works for you.
- Washing up or sorting out the dishwasher: Think about your gratitudes or blessings, say them out loud if you can. You can’t be grateful and worrying at the same time.
- Preparing food: Acknowledge an achievement you had that day, however small, this not only loosens up any ongoing stress, but reminds us we are doing a good job and boosts our self-esteem. Saying it out loud gives our children the opportunity to learn it is ok for all of us to be proud of an achievement.
- Brushing your teeth: tell yourself three positive things about YOU. Encourage your children to do the same if you can. This is a great habit to create in a family.
- On the school run or walking around the house: Say thank you for something you have really appreciated recently. This one always amazes me however tired or grumpy I am, it lifts my spirits.
- Sitting with children who need you there to get off to sleep: think of a happy moment; this could be a past holiday, outing or just a happy memory and positive feelings.
- Sitting at traffic lights or watching TV: Do some simple neck stretches - looking to your left and right to help release the tension in your neck and shoulders.
It’s amazing how these activities can change our energy levels and have a positive effect on our children as we are happier to be around, and this can help them too.
Other things to consider are finding a moment to focus on your breath. Rhythmic breathing has been proven to calm the nervous system which in turn can relieve stress.
Breathe in for the count of 4, hold it for the count of 4 and then breathe out to 4 counts. Repeat 4 or 5 times. You can use however many counts suits you as it can take a few tries to get in the rhythm, but it is extremely calming and a great way to end the day as well as a positive way to start to the day.
Smell can also evoke calm and positive feelings; lots of cultures create habits as well as rituals with making tea, which in itself, can be soothing as well as the aroma can feel like a hug in a cup. Essential oils are also great for this too.
Or pop some music and have a dance. Moving is such a positive way of releasing stress, shifting cortisol hormones and energising yourself. It is such a great way to boost your serotonin levels even if your unable to get outside.
Did you know that even watching nature programmes can calm the mind and bring you similar benefits to actually going outside; something to think about on a rainy day.
And finally, laughing, reading through some silly jokes on the internet for a couple of minutes can be a better boost than reading through ‘how to solve….’!
When you need to boost your happiness or mindset, pick one of these ideas and create a positive new habit for 2022.
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