As a parent, there are daily sacrifices being made. These sacrifices eventually take a toll on our overall wellness.
We always intend to pour out all we have, yet we forget to fill ourselves to avoid burnout.
We might find ourselves less patient, more irritable, and even sometimes doing regret-filled actions such as yelling at our kids with a ton of guilt and shame afterward.
What if there was a way to incorporate wellness into your life as a parent where you can be filled daily while you pour out daily?
We will address wellness in a way that will build awareness and intentionality in our day-to-day lives without impeding on the tight timelines we all face as parents.
Here is what you should know about wellness as a parent.
Wellness is the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal that includes emotional, social, occupational, spiritual, financial, environmental, physical, and intellectual dimensions of wellness.
Wellness is holistic and it should be something we grow in.
It can be intimidating to hear the words goal, health, and growth because it takes effort.
What if I told you that having awareness and knowing how to incorporate wellness within our busy lives as a parent is actually something that takes minimal effort if understood?
When we hear the word health we think of mental and physical health 9/10 times.
There are actually eight dimensions of wellness we will be going over, and do not worry, once explored we will find that these dimensions of wellness can overlap and intertwine with one another.
After all, as parents, efficiency is something we value with our limited time.
The physical dimension of wellness not only includes exercise and nutrition but also incorporates sleep and, if applicable, functional medical management.
Are we able to eat and sleep well?
You may be chuckling to yourself, I have kids.
What is sleep?
What do you mean to have time for meals?
This is where we will need to really consider strategies where we can do our best as parents to address these deficiencies.
Some questions we can ask ourselves include:
Am I able to set small goals to track what my body consumes? (Sometimes as parents, we skip meals or even eat what is easy and unhealthy instead of bringing about a strategy that can make meals easy and hearty, even if its one day more than we have ever done).
Are my expectations for exercise too high? (Sometimes we find ourselves feeling obligated to set an hour a day aside for the gym, when in reality, going on a walk or even taking kids to the zoo, if possible, can be a way to get the exercise we need).
Am I getting sufficient sleep? ( We always think of sleeping too little; however, there is also a such thing as sleeping too much).
Am I maintaining my medical management? (This includes taking needed medicines, vitamins, supplements, and attending yearly physical and dental appointments while avoiding harmful substances such as excess alcohol and/or substance use).
Intellectual Wellness encompasses intellectual expansion and brain activity.
Are we examining personal interests?
Do we have an interest in expanding our education?
Some questions we can ask ourselves is:
With our current personal interests, am I finding time to pursue the interest further with others or within myself? (Ways we can do this include teaching or being part of a club)
Am I interested in continuing my education? (This does not just mean going to college or trade school, but can also mean obtaining certifications such as First Aid and CPR).
Am I engaging my brain in intellectual conversations with others or through other means such as brain exercise activities such as reading a book, memory, etc?
Financial Wellness examines our understanding of finances and our resources.
Hearing the word finances may have just caused your chest to tighten.
I encourage you to take a big deep belly breathe and continue in this section.
I have kids!
Oh boy! Am I right?
Questions you would want to ask yourself as a parent include:
Does my work or source of income meet your financial needs to the extent where there is an opportunity to also do things that you enjoy?
Do I have my finances organized the way I need to for my family and me to live functionally and comfortably? (Here you would examine banking options and ways to address financial goals such as debt and potential retirement).
Have I accessed affordable resources to expand my financial wellness? (There are many free financial services to aid families in educating them about investments such as retirement and/or savings).
Environmental Wellness is involved in addressing needs in our environment to feel safe and comfortable.
This ranges from our basic needs of clean air, food, and water to being able to occupy a pleasant, stimulating, and relaxed environment.
With kids comes great chaos. How can this be managed when my kids make my living space tornado aftermath?
Questions to ask yourself as a parent include:
Am I living efficiently? (This could overlap with financial wellness in saving energy by simply turning lights or water off when not being used).
Have I been engaging too much indoors or outdoors?
Is my home and/or work environment organized and enjoyable to live in? (Do I have too much stuff or not cleaning the way I need to be? We always think of exercise as an investment for our physical wellness and not enough of cleaning being an investment for our environmental wellness).
Spiritual Wellness is a look into our sense of meaning and purpose through examining our values and personal beliefs.
Some individuals have diverse faiths and foundations for their beliefs.
What brings us purpose may also bring my children and the rest of my family purpose.
What are my values and do I prioritize them in my daily living?
Am I involved in a community with others who share similar beliefs as me?
Do I get to take time to examine and explore different views on meaning, purpose, and value? (Some ways to do this is to explore truths and learn about different belief systems and their truths).
Social Wellness involves having healthy relationships with others.
This can include meeting the needs of others and connecting with others with appropriate boundaries,
Sometimes as parents we may have difficulty finding any time in the day to do anything.
We may feel so burned out with our kids if we are in isolation for too long.
Questions to ask ourselves about social wellness include:
Have I set time aside to spend intentional and quality time with others who can fill me up while I do the same? (Friends and family can have seasons of emptiness too and it can either make social wellness harder to obtain when there are continual expectations of pouring out to other areas in our life).
Are there support groups or communities I can be a part of? (Notice here, that this could also overlap with spiritual wellness when sharing similar beliefs and senses of purpose/meaning).
When is the last time I have gotten to meet anyone new? (You may be thinking, how? I have kids! Going to family events with family can also be a way to connect with new people).
Occupational Wellness is finding congruence with our personal values, interests, and beliefs in our employment and activities we partake in.
Sometimes as parents we just work to pay the bills. Could it be possible to pay the bills and enjoy the work we do?
Questions to ask yourself as a parent for occupational wellness include:
Does my work allow for growth within the work environment and for myself? (This not only includes raises and/or bonuses but also includes connecting with other fellow employees and self. Are my gifts and talents being used in a healthy way?).
Is my timing with work, family, and leisure appropriate? (I get it, some circumstances make us tight on money. Can there be room for other aspects of life beyond work?)
Do I feel accomplished at work? (Is work a job or is work an enjoyable career?).
Emotional wellness is the ability to express our feelings, adjust to challenges in our emotional circumstances, cope with life stressors and appreciate life.
Now when do I have time to talk about my feelings?
If I just survive the craziness of a child-filled home each day, I am good with that.
Can we address emotional wellness and survive the home with children?
Children can be influenced by how we respond to our emotional challenges by watching their parents.
Questions to ask yourself as a parent in regard to emotional wellness include:
Have I created or allowed for an environment to have space where others can share their feelings and emotions in a healthy way? (This includes you! Emotions are internal responses that are similar in how physical responses signal something happening to our body physically such as an itch).
Am I engaging in activities that help me manage my stress? (Again, role-modeling appropriate coping for our children is key for our children to learn to cope).
How do we manage challenges and do we see them as growth opportunities? (Sometimes the lens through which we see our experiences dictates the way we respond to our experiences).
Whew! Seems like a lot, huh?
You may have noticed that different wellness dimensions may overlap one another where we are being filled.
We are hitting sometimes one to even eight birds with one stone!
For example, if we went to the park with friends and used a stroller to push kids around, we are hitting social, environmental, and physical wellness.
Throw in an intellectual conversation in there or a homemade and/or inexpensive picnic and you are hitting four, maybe even five wellness dimensions!
That is more than half of the total number of dimensions of wellness!
I hope this information encourages you in your journey of wellness as a parent.
It is possible!
When you start applying what you may have learned today, you may start seeing a change in your burnout and an increase in your energy.
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