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How to Stay Mentally and Physically Healthy as A Parent

How to Stay Mentally and Physically Healthy as A Parent

At PiperWai we care about health. Aside from our natural deodorant product it's important to us to spread the message of health in all areas of life. We have partnered with Trevor McDonald to bring these awesome tips on parent wellness. 

Overall health might become more important as a parent than when you were child-free. Not only are you modeling good behavior, but the added stresses of being a parent can take a real toll on your health. It’s equally important to prioritize both your mental and physical health as you navigate parenthood. However, it might seem that parent health is all about taking care of Mom. Dads can get left behind, but that doesn’t have to be the case when there are many dads who are dedicated to their child's health and happiness. 

Try to incorporate parenting into your healthy lifestyle as a means of spending more quality time with your child, while also maintaining or building your wellness regimen.
Here are a few tips to prioritizing your health as a parent and as a dad:

Take your child on physical outings with you

Whether it’s a tandem bicycle or taking the stroller with you on a run, children are especially adept at fitting into the cardio aspect of your life. Many parents report that it’s some of the best time they’ve spent with their child. Even if your child is too young to actively participate, numerous studies have shown the benefits of fresh air. If you were previously a gym rat, this is also a great excuse for you to shake up your routine and head outdoors.

Take advantage of the gym childcare

Even before you were a parent, you probably noticed the childcare options at many gyms. Some are free, while others are offered at a discount. However, one of the biggest perks of childcare at the gym is sheer convenience. Most require no reservation and you can drop in at any time. Contact your gym and see what kinds of arrangements they have. It never hurts to ask!

Remember that meditation doesn’t have to take long

If you want to relax your mind with meditation, you don’t need to spend hours in lotus position. Even a few minutes of mindful consciousness can change your day. Three to five minutes is a great period for meditation, and you can increase the amount of time as you get more comfortable with your practice. It's easy to compare yourself to others and their meditation practice, but remember that everyone's path is different. If you're not a fan of sitting quietly, keeping just busy enough to allow your mind to settle is beneficial and can be done while caring for your child while bottle feeding or even changing a diaper (once that becomes an autopilot move).

Get creative when it comes to strength training

You don’t need dumbbells for a great strength training routine. You can even “use” your child for some resistance! From push ups to planks, strength training can be a fun activity to do with your child. Plus, it teaches them to move their body and to take joy in its strength. By utilizing exercises that use body weight, your child's experience is much safer, as it cuts out the heavy, dangerous equipment. Just be sure your child is doing these body-weight exercises correctly! Including your child in strength training might not be as regimented as what you’re used to, but it can certainly be effective. 

Make time for you

It might seem like an impossible feat, but being a healthy parent also means making sure you have time to pursue solo time, relax, and also make time for non-child-related activities. Whether it’s date night, spending time with friends, or one yoga class per week where you can completely focus on your betterment, these times are important. To make this happen, you’ll often have to build a solid support system that can help you adapt to this new facet of your life, as well as schedule these special times in advance. 

Choose family time carefully

There are many options for mental stimulation when you spend time with the kids, from actively being present when you’re at the playground to selecting games that are mentally challenging for all participants. Avoid screen time when you can, and model this behavior so you don’t accidentally encourage technology addiction. It can be prudent to select at least one chunk of time per week that’s screen-free family time. During these periods you can play outside or with tangible toys, cook, play physically and/or mentally stimulating games, or simply practice parallel non-screen activities like reading.

The phrase, “You can’t pour from an empty pot” is incredibly true as a parent. There can be feelings of doubt and selfishness when you’re not always putting your child visibly first. However, your health is a vital part of being a good, participatory parent.

Trevor McDonald is a freelance writer and recovering addict and alcoholic who's been clean and sober for over five years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.

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