One thing that parents and most people who work with children have in common is that you put your children first. Whilst this, of course, is natural and praiseworthy, it is also important to remember that the better shape you’re in, the more effective you are in helping your children.
This can be one of the most difficult things to do. Remember the aircraft cabin crew’s instructions before take-off, when they demonstrate the safety equipment? That if the air pressure drops you put on YOUR oxygen mask first, then help your children put on theirs? Whilst this goes against your instincts, you cannot be of much help to your children if you stop breathing!!
OK, so now that you realise how important it is to keep yourself in the best possible shape to help your children, here are some practical suggestions that I hope you will find helpful:
Firstly, remember that prevention is better than cure. It is also usually easier and cheaper! Whilst this is obvious, we all need to be reminded of the obvious at times – I know I do.
Here are some suggestions to help you :
- Regular exercise and a balanced diet are important in maintaining good health. Whilst this is easier said than done especially if you have young children, eat slowly.
- Listen to your body. It pays to take just a few minutes each day to sit or lie quietly and simply feel what’s happening in your body. Observe how you’re breathing, notice any particular tensions. Doing this on a regular basis increases your chances of detecting signs of stress at an early stage, so you can take corrective action before they cause serious damage.
- Find out what works for you, as what stresses one person may be relaxing for someone else.
- At the beginning of your day, take a minute to ask yourself:
“What is one thing I can do today– or decide not to do today – to make my day easier and less stressful?” Choose something simple, that you can be confident of doing. Even the longest journey begins with a single step!
5. Ask for help when you need it – it is a sign of strength not weakness to ask for help. Counselling and psychotherapy can help you deal more effectively with stress and improve your health and wellbeing.
Remember that your children want you to be well and happy just as much as you want them to be. The better shape you’re in, the better it is for your children.