Parenting and exhaustion go hand in hand. Here are 10 simple ways parents can recharge.
Right now I am in the easy years of parenting, but not long ago I had a bunch of little kids who were waking up all night long. Some of my hardest parenting memories date from the weeks after my third child was born. When Lily was born, my two oldest children (who were all of 19 months and 42 months old) caught some bug that I dubbed The Evil Virus in journal entries. That virus stayed in our family for weeks, cycling from family member to family member. We wound up having to take my nineteen-month-old into Boston Children’s for emergency treatment, and my husband eventually came down with Bronchitis.
How do you keep going when you are exhausted and life is hard? These ten simple ways parents can recharge can reset a difficult day. They don’t require any special materials, and none of them take more than a few minutes.
10 Simple Ways Parent Can Recharge
I’ve written before about mindfulness and parenting. The mindfulness-inspired tips I am using today harness the power of mindfulness to reset your day.
Take a moment to walk around the block. If you can’t make it around the block, walk around your house. Even stepping outside briefly or looking out the window to truly see the sky will help. When we take a minute to find a piece of beauty around us – whether it be a leaf on a tree or clouds in the sky – we calm down and are better able to cope with our children’s needs.
Draw or take pictures of nature, people, and even things you love. It doesn’t matter if you use a pencil and paper, DSLR camera or cell phone camera. Making time to notice these details transforms lives.
Listen to peaceful or upbeat music. Choose carefully – music is capable of reinforcing a negative mood, just as it can inspire and uplift.
This can be as simple as grabbing a jump rope or doing ten jumping jacks. Why not dance to that music you put on? Your kids will love it, and you will be surprised at how good it feels to let go and dance – even if you are a terrible dancer, like me. Going on a walk is another excellent reset activity.
Read a page of a favorite inspiring book. This can be a picture book that you read with your child, or a chapter book you read on your own. Sometimes we as parents don’t have the luxury of even a few minutes of alone reading time. I recommend stocking your home with a few pictures books that you can enjoy reading in moments like this. Our list of favorite picture books for toddlers is a great place to start.
#6 Find a Tree
I am a little bit obsessed with trees, but they will calm anyone, even those who don’t adore them the way I do. Find a tree. Look at its leaves and branches. Take a moment to watch how its leaves move in the breeze. Is there a bird hiding in its branches?
Make something. Cook, sketch, sew, crochet; the creative process is what matter. What materials you use and how the project turns out is not nearly as important as making the time to engage your creative mind.
Write down your thoughts and feelings. Write in prose, poetry, stream of consciousness, or create a word map. Once again, the details are not important. The important thing is to get the words out.
Take a moment to text, email, or call a loved one to tell them about something specific you appreciate about them. Snail mail works, too!
Give your child a hug and tell them you love them. This physical connection reminds both us and our children of how much we mean to one another – even on the hardest days.
How do you reset a difficult day? Do you know of more ways parents can recharge when they are burnt out? Let me know in the comments below or by commenting on my Facebook page. Sign up for my newsletter and receive parenting tips in your inbox every week.