5 simple practices to help busy parents unwind every day

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It is natural to worry about your child’s wellbeing at this time — but don’t neglect your own. Here are five daily habits to try during lockdown

If it feels like your days are completely taken over by caring for your children while they’re out of school, then that’s a sign you need to incorporate some me-time into your day. Yes it may feel counter-intuitive, adding another item to your to-list, but as we learned from yoga and wellness instructor, Lydia Sasse, taking time for ourselves to relax will benefit everyone in our household.

When what you can do might be quite limited, it can be tricky to find ways to unwind. Perhaps you’re missing your usual yoga class, or can’t get to your favourite place to stroll. Sudocrem is working with Lydia Sasse as part of the Sudocrem Soothing Families campaign, to encourage parents to find some zen moments in their day to soothe themselves. Here, Lydia shares five simple daily practices to help you unwind a little bit every day. If you find it hard to carve out time in your day for these relaxing rituals, try these tips from Lydia.

Lydia’s 5 soothing essentials for parents:

  1. Take a movement break every day. Taking at least 15 minutes twice a day to move your body can promote positive changes in the brain that improve concentration and creativity, but also releases endorphins that lift your mood and make you feel good. This could be a simple yoga routine, some gentle tai chi or just dancing to your favourite music in the kitchen with your kids.
  2. Find some time to slow down and connect to your breath. Take a few minutes every couple of hours just to place your hand on your stomach. Check that when you inhale, your belly fills with air and on exhale, your belly button is drawing back towards the spine. This can do wonders for a frazzled nervous system. Sometimes when we are stressed, we reverse breathe, filling the belly with air on the exhale instead, which puts us in fight or flight mode. Taking time to practise correct breathing, even just for a minute, will help get our nervous system back to a point of healing and relaxing. 
  3. Create a nightly ritual before bed for better quality sleep. The actions that we take in the hours before bed can directly affect the quality of our sleep and simple changes can make a huge difference. Things like switching off electronic devices an hour before bed, using a lavender essential oil in a diffuser in your room or having a relaxing cup of chamomile tea are some of the ways we can build a pathway to a more restorative night’s rest.
  4. Ground yourself in nature. Get outside when you can and stand with your bare feet on the earth. You can also connect with nature when counting daisies with your children or in the quiet of the evening while you gaze at the stars. Research shows that when we are grounded, our stress hormones reduce, our sleep and circulation improves and inflammation decreases.
  5. Create a gratitude journal. Make a list of things that bring you joy and do one every day. It’s such a simple task and yet it can shift your whole mindset in a short amount of time. To get started make a list of all the things big or small that bring you joy. This could be making overnight oats for your breakfast the next day, reading a favourite book or baking with your little ones.

Take a look at what’s inside the new issue of Irish Country Magazine here.

Main image: James Wheeler on Unsplash