8 Reasons You Need to Take Time for Yourself and Your Kids Do, Too
2020 was the year of many things. Among others, it may go down in history as the year of family togetherness at home.
However, as much as you love your spouse and kids, sometimes, a little too much closeness can grate. Everyone needs to be alone with their thoughts occasionally for multiple purposes. Here are eight reasons you need to take time for yourself — and so do your children.
1. You Lose Focus Without It
You might think the only way to complete an arduous task is to put your head down and bulldoze your way through it. However, you could be hindering your productivity, not helping it, by grinding too hard.
Human beings perform best and are most productive when they alternate between intense focus and intermittent renewal. That statement sounds like a mouthful, but it boils down to this: you work better when you take breaks away from everyone and everything.
2. You Can Decompress From Stress
Stress causes hormones like adrenaline and cortisol to flood your system. Short-term, these chemicals improve your energy and focus — they’re the substances that kept you alive in the days when bears were daily threats.
However, when you become accustomed to elevated stress hormone levels, you become numb — it’s similar to how an alcoholic needs more and more drinks to feel any effect. The only way for you and your kids to hit the reset button is to step away from obligations and schoolwork to think about nothing but engaging in fun activities.
Taking time for yourself, therefore, is vital to keeping your reaction times sharp. Providing the same for your child helps their hormonal and nervous systems develop as they should.
3. You Can Figure Out What You’re Feeling
Understanding your emotions is critical to taking positive action to resolve negative feelings — if you don’t know why you’re sad or “off,” you can’t fix the problem. However, too often, folks hide their genuine reactions under a fake veneer of positivity instead of taking the time to process.
Taking time for yourself lets you learn to deal differently with negative feelings. Instead of avoiding or trying to control them critically, you can take a curious, loving-kind attitude and listen to what your intuition is telling you through your emotions. Once you understand the source of your distress, you can figure out how to make things better.
4. You Can Work Through Conflict
“Wait a second,” you might be thinking, “if I have a conflict, don’t I need to address the other person?” The answer to that question is both yes and no. Think back to your high school English class — remember how some forms of conflict are internal? You might need time alone to decide things like whether to accept a promotion if doing so means more time away from home.
Furthermore, you tend to react with anger when you feel threatened, attacked, frustrated or powerless. Understanding this phenomenon doesn’t stop your hostile words from hurting those you love. Time alone lets you calm down first and approach the conflict from a “how can we both win,” instead of a “you hurt me, and I want revenge” perspective.
5. You Activate Your Imagination
If you want imaginative children, you need to give them time for their young minds to run free. Think of Locke’s tabula rasa or blank slate theory of child development. If your little one’s mind is indeed a canvas, you want it to include their unique artwork, not a haphazard jumble of other people’s overlapping brush strokes.
Start your children with active playtime from an early age. The trick is not associating the phrase “go to your room” with punishment, but rather, reward. As your toddler starts outgrowing naps, continue to put them down, but let them play in their crib if they prefer not to sleep.
6. You Find Ways to Self-Soothe
Self-soothing is a vital skill. Without it, your stress levels can spiral out of control, causing significant health problems — and children aren’t immune to these effects.
Everyone’s routine looks different. Active sorts might self-soothe by going for a run or taking a challenging Ashtanga class. Others might lose themselves in an engrossing novel. Only the freedom of unscheduled time lets your child discover what works best for them.
7. You Have Time for Mind-Body Care
Everyone needs self-care that encompasses both mind and body. However many folks put off treats like giving themselves a pedi or taking a bath, given today’s hectic lifestyles.
In this lifetime, you only get one body and brain — you owe it to yourself to care for both. Please don’t consider your teenage daughter’s grooming routine as vanity. To her, it might be necessary self-care. Please let her indulge — at least until you need the bathroom to prep for your shift.
8. You Improve Your Overall Health
Finally, heart disease remains the number one killer of men and women. Researchers from the State University of New York at Oswego and the University of Pittsburgh analyzed a 9-year study of over 12,000 men at risk for coronary heart disease. They found that those who took an annual vacation had a lower risk of death than those who skipped them.
With COVID-19, it’s understandable if you don’t take the family to see the famous Florida mouse this year. However, skipping the travel portion of your holiday doesn’t mean going without taking time for yourself — and giving your child the same.
You and Your Kids Need to Take Time for Yourself for These 8 Reasons
The eight reasons above show why it’s vital to take time for yourself and let your children do the same. You’ll enjoy a healthier, happier family as a result.