SELF CARE FOR PARENTS
The first thing and probably the thing that made the greatest difference to my health was making a commitment to exercising first thing, every weekday morning. I bought a walking machine so regardless of the weather I could still exercise.
I found a walking buddy and we did a brisk walk of 4-5 kilometres every morning, before we went to work.
That meant I came first every single day. I met my need for friendship and exercise all in one go.
Now maybe you're thinking you have to leave for work too early to do that. But I managed to have two kids into the car and out of the door by 7:30 five mornings a week. And my youngest wasn't always agreeable to getting up.
To begin with I got up really early. I had the lunches and a healthy evening meal prepared before I left for my morning walk.
My children had their baths the night before so all they had to do was get dressed and have breakfast.
I ensured I had the children's clothes organized for them to get into and I had their breakfast ready to add the finishing touches to when I got home.
But what I needed for it all to work was for everyone in my household to be co-operative.
So how do you get everyone in your household to be cooperative?
One day I happened to listen to my four year son talking to my husband. When my husband asked him if he could help him do something he replied 'Yes sure.'
And it was at that moment I realized he was acting the way he had seen me behave. If someone asked me for help if I could do it at all I always said ' Yes. Sure.'
We discussed the importance of everyone cooperating in our household. We discussed the benefits and disadvantages of cooperating and not cooperating. And I let our children experience real life consequences of not cooperating.
For example, if they chose not to cooperate in the morning I had less time available to play in the afternoon. Using the T.V. and computer was a privilege in our household, not a right. I certainly didn't get to watch it if my jobs weren't done.
In addition to daily walking, as my children grew older sometimes I kayaked one afternoon a week, and early on Sunday mornings as well, during the warmer months of the year. And I cycled during the cooler months.
I also attempted going to the gym but it didn't fit my lifestyle at the time. However, as I grew older I joined a gentle exercise group that caters to my needs and I love it.
Adapt over time as your lifestyle changes.
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