From the book Joy Fixes for Weary Parents, by Erin Leyba, PhD, here are a few self-care strategies to help parents strengthen relationships, be compassionate toward themselves, and renew their energy:

  1. Turn on uplifting music – maybe a song with a strong message you need to hear, some rock and roll song you loved in high school, African drumming, flute music, or a catchy pop single.
  2. Write and send a sweet card to someone – a birthday card, a “thinking of you” card, a “get well” card, a “congratulations” card, or a “no-reason” card.
  3. Make yourself a nice drink like chamomile tea, hot chocolate, or juice – and sip it slowly.
  4. Schedule at least 1 uninterrupted hour with a close friend – out for coffee or a drink, on the phone, out for dinner, or out for a walk. Reach out to someone for childcare.
  5. On a single piece of paper, write down 3 things that are weighing on you, or stressing you; put a dash after each one with a single action-step that may help relieve it.
  6. Let yourself be blue for a bit. Cuddle under a blanket, play sad bluesy music, eat chocolate ice cream, or cry.
  7. Call a friend or loved one – say, “I’m having a hard time with this. Do you mind if I talk this out with you?”
  8. Download a gratitude app and record what you’re thankful for – (e.g. a short commute, a great babysitter, a cozy home).
  9. Make a cozy spot – make a blanket fort with your kids and climb in it with them (resting and hiding and giggling).
  10. Colour a picture from a colouring book with or beside your child. Take your time.
  11. Engage in a small bit of service – e.g. make fudge for your grandma, muffins for a neighbour, shovel someone’s walk or get a partner’s car washed.
  12. Do a single tiny household chore that’s been bothering you – empty one drawer, give away one bag of clothes, or clean one shelf of your fridge. Pat yourself on the back for completing it.
  13. Share your worries. Join a parent discussion group/workshop. (Okay I added this one, J)
  14. Go for a walk (preferably in the woods or near water).
  15. Follow the “rule of three”: always be consciously aware of 3 things that you’re looking forward to.
  16. Think of one activity you could cut out of your schedule that you wouldn’t miss at all. Cut it out of your schedule.
  17. Choose something that you’re going to savour today – taking a shower, drinking hot chocolate, chopping wood, reading a celebrity magazine, etc. “Savor” it instead of just “doing” it.