Caring for Your Kids Starts with You

Self-Care Tips for Parents and Caregivers

If you’re a caregiver, you need to be a care receiver, too.

Devoting your days (and nights) to caring for infants, toddlers, teens, or adults who need it can be both rewarding and exhausting. The hours spent making sure that person (or people) are fed, hydrated, safe, and healthy are worth it. That said, sometimes that effort leaves you too tired to take care of yourself.

You might find it easy to prioritize others, but it can be just as important to move your own needs up that list at times. After all, if you’re worn down, unhealthy, hungry, or too tired, you won’t have the energy to do anything for anyone. And when others keep pulling from your empty well, feelings of resentment might start to build.

Self-care isn’t selfish. You might be thinking that putting self-care on the calendar is just one more task you can’t make time for. But self-care doesn’t have to take hours (or be expensive) in order for you to feel restored by it. Also, caring for yourself can look like not doing everything alone. Whether help is offered or you have to ask for it, letting someone else handle a task might make them feel useful while bringing your own stress level down a bit.

Think about the small, simple things you do for the people you love and how special it can make them feel. Then, think about little things that can make you feel happy, energetic, or loved, and do those things. And consider this: self-care is actually good for everyone.

Here are some easy ideas to try:

  • Meditate, stretch, dance, or do a deep-breathing exercise for five minutes

  • Spend a few minutes every day in nature

  • Sit down to eat your meal — taste and enjoy your food (yes, even if it’s a peanut butter and jelly sandwich)

  • Drink lots of water throughout the day

  • Read a few pages of a book or listen to a podcast

  • Pick a flower or some greenery and keep it in a vase by your bed

  • Ask for help, find help around you, or take someone up on their offer to help

Whatever it is, take a minute to put it on the calendar and then, make it a non-negotiable. You wouldn’t push off a doctor’s appointment for your infant, right? You’d never miss your 3rd grader’s holiday lunch or your teen’s basketball game, either. Now it’s time for you to make what you need a priority as well. And remember, if it’s not something you can do alone, don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need.

The better you feel, the better job you can do as a caregiver. So make yourself a priority today. You, and the ones you care for, will be better off because of it.

BrightLife Kids A CalHOPE programYou can also turn to BrightLife Kids for additional support to help you become the parent you strive to be. All California parents and caregivers with kids ages 0-12 now get free behavioral health coaching through BrightLife Kids.
Chat with a credentialed expert and get answers to the toughest parent questions, like how to effectively manage kids’ tantrums, outbursts, meltdowns, and more.
Sessions are just 30 minutes long, so they easily fit into your busy schedule. It’s 100% paid for by California which means it’s 100% free for you. Visit to get started.


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