We take care of our little ones and in doing so we forget about ourselves. Sound familiar? It’s true. And it manifests itself in some funny and not so funny ways. Half of UK parents polled said they often forget to apply sunscreen on themselves, even while they remember to apply it on their children.
But parents neglect ourselves all the time, not just when it comes to sunscreen application. The following are five ways that parents frequently put ourselves on the backburner, and the harm that can come about as they do so.
Put personal friendships on hold
You used to hang out every week, but now times with friends seem more like a distant memory. Some extent of this is natural and can be expected as a new parent, but be careful that this doesn’t turn into a habit. Friendships provide you with emotional support to weather difficult life events. In all the busyness of being a parent, hold on to those friendships that matter to you. Even if you need to take it down a notch for a while, don’t shut that door entirely. Explain your current situation to your friends. Don’t let them guess at why you aren’t hanging out anymore.
Forget to go to the dentist
You miss one dentist appointment and then another. While you would never let your child get away with missing a yearly dental exam, when it comes to you, you feel that missing a cleaning here or there is OK? No, this is not OK. Neglecting your oral health can be hazardous to your overall health, says the American Dental Association.
And when you aren’t flossing or brushing as you should, your teeth can begin to yellow and add 5 to 10 years to your smile. Go in for a full examination. Get dental implants. Do whatever you need to do to regain good oral health.
Neglect personal nutrition
You’d never let Little Johnny get away with not eating his dinner. Or not eating his greens. But when it comes to personal nutrition, all bets are off.
But eating right is what will give you energy for the rest of the day. If you’re feeling sleepy and droopy, the blame could be placed on the chips you ate in place of lunch. To be an effective parent, you need to watch your energy levels, and that starts here—with what you eat.
Don’t get enough sleep
Parent’s already lose enough sleep comforting young children, getting up for early morning feedings, and changing diapers- so it’s critical that what sleep you do get is meaningful. Creating good sleep habits concerning your sleep environment is the first step to catching a few z’s while the kids are asleep.
First and foremost is to make sure your sleeping surface is what your body needs. Many people are unaware of how much a poor night’s sleep can be atttributed to their comfort level. Not all mattresses are created equal, and neither are bodies, and it makes no sense to waste time tossing and turning each night just to find a comfortable position. Take into account the type of mattress you do have, and its lifespan, to determine if it may be the source of your discomfort.
Another issue that may arise is your body temperature. As you drift off to sleep your core temperature begins to drop, and we often get in the habit of tucking ourselves under blankets, or cranking up the heat- especially during cold, winter months. But as you sleep this may create a lot of heat retention that becomes uncomfortable and keeps your body from drifting into a deep sleep. The ideal sleeping temperature is 68 degrees (F) and adjusting your home heating and cooling practices will help you fall asleep faster and ensure a more comfortable rest.
In a world where technological advancements and new gadgets are the norm, it’s easy to find ourselves surrounded by television, tablets, and phone screens. Unfortunately these all create blue light, which mimics daylight and can trick your brain into staying awake longer by keeping your natural sleep hormone, melatonin, from kicking in. But no worries, you don’t have to give up your evening wind down habits, simply ‘unplug’ an hour or more before you go to sleep each night to allow your body to recognize that it’s time for sleep. This is also a good habit to get your children into in order to get them to bed on time and allow you get the rest you need!
Not exercising enough
So maybe you were never big on exercise in the first place. Neglecting it now doesn’t seem like neglect. It just feels normal. But exercise is an important pillar to maintaining your body’s health. If you want your children to have a better relationship with exercise than you have, it starts with you.
Exercising will actually make you feel more energetic, once you get past the post-exercise soreness.The truth of the matter is we cannot be good parents that treat our children with love and fairness if we’re short on sleep, grumpy, and lack energy. Taking care of yourself might feel like an unnecessary frill in the life of a parent, but it’s actually a necessity.