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Looking after yourself as a parent

Parents tend to feel guilty if they take back some time for themselves, but how can you be on top form if you’re exhausted? We look at ways of recharging the batteries and how you can take care of yourself despite having a hectic schedule.

Looking after yourself when you are a busy parent can be hard. Our natural instinct is to be there for our kids constantly, and guilt can quickly take over if you choose to do something for yourself.

Think of it this way though. When you have all of your focus on the kids and nothing on you, feeling tired and burned out is very common. More importantly, if you sacrifice your own well being all the time, you teach your kids that it’s OK for them to ignore their own needs too as they grow.


Sometimes taking time for yourself is the best thing for you and the best way to model good self-care to your kids. So give yourself a break; make a cuppa and take five minutes to read these tips.

Find time for yourself, every week

Making time to take a break and relax helps you be ready to cope with the everyday stresses. Instead of feeling guilty about jobs that 'should be done' when the children are asleep or not at home, use this time to relax and do something you enjoy. You could try:

Try to eat well
Food can be a significant factor in your overall wellbeing. Include lots of mood-boosting nutrients in your diet that can help you feel happier and more energised. It doesn't have to be that complicated or expensive. Try this simple breakfast; one cup each of whole-grain cereal, milk, sliced strawberries or a banana. The combination of lean protein, whole-grain carbs, and nutrient-rich fruit allows the brain to form more feel-good chemicals.
Other mood boosting foods include salmon, probiotic yogurt, leafy greens and blueberries. The excellent news is that chocolate is a great mood-booster as long as it's the dark antioxidant-rich kind.

Get together with other parents
Parents are all more or less in the same boat, so planning some time together where the kids play and you can share experiences is essential to your wellbeing as a parent. Play dates at the local park or local child-friendly coffee shop are great spaces for a chat while the kids are kept busy

Plan ahead
As a parent, there are a million things buzzing around your head at any one time. A good tip to alleviate this is to get a whiteboard, gather the family around and plan the week ahead. That way, everyone knows what's happening and it's no longer in your head.
Try out the tips above and see how you go. But in the end, the most important thing to remember is that nobody's perfect and you need to be kind to yourself. If you feel like you need some extra support contact us on 13 18 19.

Visit our parenting HUB Parenting HUB  | For more tips and practical advice on building positive relationships with your child.

The resources in our Parenting HUB are put together by our family specialists who work with families across Sydney every day.  If you would like to know more about this topic, please fill in our 'Contact Us' form and we'll get in touch.  You can also call our professional Parent Line NSW counsellors on 1300 1300 52 for individual advice.

Disclaimer: This article does not give professional advice.  The contents constitute general information of a summary nature of interest and relevance at the time of publication. You should not rely on the contents as professional advice but should seek, formal advice in particular matters relevant to your particular situation.

If you or anyone you know would like help please call our team on 13 18 19 or contact us online