Sarah Leitschuh is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist located in the Twin Cities in MN. She has experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and family. She has provided individual, family, and group therapy for individuals who have experience depression, anxiety, abuse, struggles with relationships and difficulty managing anger. She is also has experience working with individuals who have been involved with the child protection and juvenile justice systems. Lastly, she tailors her therapy approach to the needs of each individual client or family.
It is essential for parents to make sure that we are paying attention to our own well being, so we don’t get burnt out. A parent who is overwhelmed and not taking good care of themselves is not in the position to be the best support to their child. Below you will find 5 self care tips to hep you prioritize your own self care, even when time, resources and energy are limited.
1. Adjust your expectations about what self care may look like given the needs of your family. Self care is any purposeful action we take in order to ensure our well being (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health). It may not be realistic to take an hour out of your week to get a professional massage, but are there daily routines that you could implement which would help improve your well being? For example, could you listen to calming music in the car or go for a walk while your child is in a therapy appointment?
2. Start by focusing on the basics. Get as much sleep as you can. Eat well. Stay hydrated.
3. Find a way to be active. If you are unable to get time away to focus on exercise or some other form of activity, consider how you can include your children in your routine. Engaging in exercise or activity with your child can benefit both you and your child. Being active can help with a child’s symptoms of depression, anxiety and irritability.
4. Build your support system. At times, being a parent can be overwhelming and isolating. I encourage you to focus on building strong connections with other parents that you feel comfortable sharing openly and honestly with. It is so valuable to be able to give and receive feedback from other parents while also receiving validation that you are a good parent and that your struggles are real. This support may come from family, friends or formal support groups. Your child’s school, pediatrician, or therapist are all good resources for finding a parent support group that may be of benefit to you.
5. Maintain your own interests. We all have interests that energize us and make us feel content, but we may have put some of them on the back burner because of limited time or resources. I encourage you to think about the activities that bring you the most joy and get creative about how to incorporate these activities into your daily or weekly routine.