Resiliency – one of my favorite concepts – is the ability to recover from and adjust easily to change. Parenthood provides plenty of change (challenging change) at every stage. Effective and sustainable self-care practices provide the resiliency you need to roll with the changes and challenges of parenting and not get lost in the process.
Though we all know self care is important, it’s still difficult to make the time for it. There is, however, no substitute for taking care of yourself. It’s a must if you want to feel whole-heartedly connected to yourself and others.
A somewhat scientific approach to self care works really well. This approach encourages you to experiment with different practices and analyze what works and what doesn’t. It also helps you build awareness about yourself so you can make choices that build your resiliency. Finally, this approach supports your unique self; what works for someone else might not work for you.
You don’t have to be a scientist to be scientific. Just keep these tips in mind to find what self-care practices are worth your time.
1. Decide what needs to change
Take a few moments to sit down and consider how you’re feeling. Be really honest with yourself – there is no right or wrong way to feel or be. How are things?
What’s working well? How can you nurture that so it continues to benefit you?
What isn’t working as well? How can you lessen its impact?
2. Change a variable
As in a science experiment, pick one change to practice at a time. I suggest you start with something small. Changing too many things or something really big can become overwhelming, and resiliency is the result of consistency.
3. Analyze the result
Depending on what you’ve chosen, it might take some days or weeks to notice the effect of the practice. Once the result is clear, weigh the effort of maintaining the practice against the impact of it.
4. Keep, tweak, or ditch it
Is the practice worth maintaining? Does it need a little tweaking to be more effective? Or is it not really the thing for you at this point in time? Remember, in order to build resiliency, self-care practices and routines need to be simple and effective enough to be maintained over time. They should make life more manageable, not more stressful.
5. Repeat and build
As you experiment with what works for you and what doesn’t, you’ll get to know yourself really well. A little bit of solid self care can go a long way. As you feel better and more connected to yourself, you’ll be more likely make choices that build your resiliency.
Life and parenthood are guaranteed to change and challenge you. If you take the time to find self-care practices that work for you that you want to maintain, you’ll become more and more resilient and thus able to respond to and handle those changes without losing yourself in the process.
Leslie DeGrande is an expat, mom to three crazy kids, and a yoga therapist who helps people reconnect with their bodies and themselves. She offers one-to-one programs and workshops. You can learn more about her at lesliedegrande.com.