(WTNH) — “Oftentimes you might have a parent come home from work and feed their kids then figure out ‘it’s 9 o’clock and I haven’t eaten dinner yet.’ So, they’re not taking care of themselves and focusing on themselves,” explained Dr. Ryan Loss of Connecticut Behavioral Health.
And now, during a pandemic, it’s more important than ever for parents to practice self-care. Loss said depression and anxiety have spiked in recent months.
“Parents, in particular, when they’re putting their attention to other people, they’re not often taking care of themselves and that will only create more and more stress,” he said.
So, take of yourself on a physical level. Eat well and exercise often. Take a break from the house and get outdoors.
“You might have to push yourself to do things you might not have otherwise done,” said Loss.
Pay attention to your psychological side, too. Connect with friends either outside or online. Make time for your partner.
“There are times when you need to give yourself a break,” said Loss. “If you need a little time to do something and you know that letting your kid watch a movie is going to give you that time, that’s OK.”
Feeling bored? Freshen what you can.
“If you’re feeling trapped in the space you’re in, are there things you can do to your space to clean your space or re-arrange things to make that space feel new and different and fresh?”
Most importantly, be gentle on yourself and make time for you.
“You’re going to be your best self when you’re taking care of yourself and focusing on yourself, and focusing on yourself doesn’t mean that you’re neglecting others, it just means that you’re also taking care of yourself,” said Loss, who suggests a daily check-in with your feelings.
Start every day with a plan and a goal. Focus on what worked, not always on the frustrations.