|Nurture yourself with our personal MOT checklist
Being a parent is tough and being a carer adds another layer of stress and tiredness but below are some simple tips for nurturing yourself.
Seeing one friend laid low with an illness this week and recently reading statistics about carers suffering higher incidences of cervical cancer because they find it hard to carve out time for routine health checks, got me thinking back to my own unexplained period of ill health a few years ago.
I pledged at the time to make more time for me, to regularly build in respite, to look after my health, enjoy little hobbies, to nurture myself, but time passes and old habits slip in.
So I decided it was time to push my wellbeing to the fore once more and try to ignore the nagging guilty feelings when I do.
'If Momma ain't happy,
then no-body happy."
Here's my simple checklist of ways to get you nurturing yourself again:
- Book routine health checks – Are you up to date with your dentist, smear tests, contraceptives or breast checks? Do you need your blood pressure monitored? Is it time to review any medication you are taking? Set aside half an hour with a phone and a calendar and get booking those appointments.
- Look after your back - See a physiotherapist and do some stretching daily. Dust off a back brace or hip belt if you have one. Splash out on a lumbar support for your chair and do a few of those stretches you’ve been told are good for you. Failing that, simply lying on the floor eases my aches and pains.
- Drink more water – we all know we need to do that one. Tap water will do, it’s free. Read our tips for encouraging your child to drink more here.
- Get more sleep – often easier said than done. I am a huge fan of the short afternoon nap mind you. Learning not to feel guilty about it was tougher than fitting it into my routine. For ways to help your child sleep read Sleep Solutions from Scope here.
- Say no more often – Why do we feel so guilty when we say no to others? Be realistic about what you can and can’t take on, know when you have reached capacity and be honest about saying so.
- Get some fresh air – stick your head outside and grab a few lungfuls of air if you can’t get out for a walk each day. Opening the bedroom windows for a few minutes to change the air in the room stops me feeling stale too.
- Ditch the negativity - Mute acquaintances who drag you down on social media. Instead call a friend who makes you feel happy or watch an old favourite film. Life can be challenging sometimes and it’s nice to be with someone or do something that helps you see the good things in every day.