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It’s easy to let Father’s Day come and go in a blur of barbeque kits, power tools, and the latest gadgets. This year, we’re celebrating a different side of the day by recognizing how dads can still find time for their wellness amidst the crazy ride of having kids.
Nothing can quite prepare you for the massive life change that’s thrown at you when you become a father. The things you once prided yourself on having—the fastest beer chug, a high score in a video game, multiple hours in a day to workout—are quickly cast aside for this new, all-consuming responsibility. But the unique opportunity to foster and help develop a new person in this world is pretty freakin’ badass. (Just like the beer chug you may still have.)
Society doesn’t often group “parenting” and “me-time” in the same sentence… which is kind of crazy when you think about it. How can anyone who dedicates all their time to another human have any gas left in the tank if they don’t stop and refill themselves every now and then? Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s one of the most important things you can do for your kids. Whether it’s big or small, finding some time to reset and recharge is crucial to keeping your spirit—and your sanity—intact.
Feeling like you have zero time for yourself? You’re not alone. We caught up with some of the dads of MINDBODY to see how their self-care has changed since they became a father, and asked what they do now to take care of themselves (even if it’s only for a few minutes).
“Becoming a dad means you’re no longer the most important person in your life. It has challenged me to be a better person. In fact, being a dad has challenged me to be the best version of myself every day. It has also changed my outlook on the future, as I have committed to investing in a future that exists far beyond myself.”
Me-time method: “Reading a good book or watching a good show or movie. I love stories that give insights to this amazing, complex, messy, wonderful human experience.”
“I no longer buy whatever I want whenever I want, and I take better care of myself than I ever did before. Time for myself is laced with a thread of responsibility to the family. Whether taking care of the budget, the house, or my own health, it’s mostly done with them in mind. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Me-time method: “Yard work… you won’t be disturbed because no one else wants to do it!”
“Being a father has added stresses. Finding healthy ways to cope with those stresses is even more important so I can remember to be kind and compassionate to those around me.”
Me-time method: “I work out my mind with an hour of meditation. Afterward, I often feel relaxed, fulfilled, and calmer than when I started.”
“I found that the reduction in free-time wasn't felt until I stopped to think that I had little time to do for myself. Weekend mornings before the rest of the house is awake has been a good time for me.”
Me-time method: “Whittling down my extremely tall stack of books on my bedside table, listening to podcasts/audiobooks while I exercise, going on dates with my wife, and watching sports with my son.”
“It's been a shift in perspective. Before kids, ‘time for yourself’ is for you. After kids, it’s all about investing in yourself so that you can have more energy and mindfulness to invest in your kids.”
Me-time method: “I get up early to get a workout in while my wife and kids are asleep. This gives me energy and the time to spend with my family throughout the day.”
“It’s important now to find ways to feel more grounded, and to be a part of a tribe of people who share your values and interests.”
Me-time method: “Taking the time to hang out with the guys on a day off. Just as girls need girl time, guys need guy time.”
As hectic as life gets, dads (and parents) always need a little self-care, too. We make it easy to treat yourself or the father in your life to the gift of wellness. Whether it’s a massage, HIIT workout, or yoga class, book the best for him on the MINDBODY app or search on MINDBODY.io.
When you think of self-love what do you think of? Bubble baths, walks on the beach, facemasks, or what? Self-love can mean so many different things but when we think about self-love, we have to acknowledge loving ourselves both on the outside and on the inside. The way that we show ourselves love is one of the most important things we will ever do.
How do we treat ourselves? How do we talk to ourselves? What foods are we putting into our bodies? How are we thinking about our overall well-being when practicing self-love?
As self-love defines and redefined itself for you over the years, here are a few foundational tips to think about when easing into your self-love journey.
Don’t we love this one? Loving ourselves has a lot to do with the boundaries that we have for ourselves, with others, and for others. Take time to think about your own emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs when setting boundaries that reflect your personal needs. Boundaries don’t have to be big and scary; they are here to remind us that you get to have your lived experience and still have expectations about how you’d like to be treated and what you’d like to feel.
When thinking about your boundaries, ask yourself:
In a world where perfectionism and curated existences have been rewarded, begin to cultivate compassion for yourself. You are a soul having a human experience and it’s totally okay if things are not perfect.
Mindfulness exercises such as Breathwork, self-care activities, and self-compassion, all help train the mind, emotions, and even the body’s stress chemicals to be able to deal with undesired situations. Self-compassion means, can you be nice to yourself? Can you find empathy and kindness for yourself in the middle of what feels chaotic, stressful, or unwanted? Self-compassion means that we get to make mistakes, have our plans not work out the way that we wanted, and we still get to celebrate that we are doing the best that we can and it is enough.
When thinking about self-compassion, ask yourself:
In every sense of the word “nourishment”, begin to learn what nourishes you and what depletes you. Nourishment doesn’t just mean food for yourself; it means that whatever you are consuming whether it be media, podcasts, people, energy, information, etc. all impact the way that we think, feel, and experience life.
Nourishing yourself definitely goes right along the lines of having your boundaries intact and practicing self-compassion.
When thinking about nourishment, ask yourself:
That’s it. Those are the foundational steps to cultivating a self-love practice that you can ease into your daily routine. Come back to these questions often, because like anything else, self-love is a practice and it takes effort, time, and intention to maintain.