by Holly D’Arcy, M.Ed.
Can you believe it? Summer is in full swing here in Hawaii. The water is warm, the sun is blazing, and the kids are home from school. Does that last part evoke mixed emotions for anyone else?!
For many parents, summer break can become a more challenging time of year. In a recent survey I found that some of the most common stressors parents face during summer vacation are:
- Limited access to childcare
- Change in everyday routine and schedule
- Navigating travel and being away from home
- Trying to find ways to keep kids busy
- Keeping the house tidy
- Preparing more meals than usual
Indeed, whether you are a working parent, stay-at-home parent, or a work-from-home parent — summer vacation might mean time off for the kids, but it might feel like a lot of added weight on your shoulders.
During times of increased stress, taking care of yourself becomes more important than ever. Sure, we want to try to tackle the stressors that can be delegated out or eliminated, but some stress is unavoidable. Practicing self-care can help us feel better while we tackle the ups and downs of everyday life. We as parents truly cannot pour from an empty cup, and if we operating at our best, there’s a good chance our kiddos will be too.
In my coaching practice, I work with clients to help them master better ways to care for themselves and improve their health. When it comes to the concept of being “healthy”, you might automatically think of physical health right away, but what about other parts of our health that need to be nurtured? I like to view our health from a more holistic lens of “deep health”. This framework places an emphasis on physical, mental, environment, and social health — just to name a few. Consider this: if we are struggling in one or multiple areas of our health, it can limit our ability to truly thrive all-around.
As we move into the throes of summertime in Hawaii, I am here to present you with some ideas that might provide inspiration for you to practice self-care while the kids are out of school. Your little ones (or big ones) can get involved too. After all, self-care is for everyone. You might already feel strong in one area of your health while another needs a little more nurturing. Try these strategies out this summer, or anytime of year!
Summer Self-Care for Different Areas of our Health
- Move your body on purpose. Try out a local hike or walk around the neighborhood as a family.
- Ask a friend to take turns watching the kids so each of you can workout during the week.
- Keep a bedtime for the kids and for yourself! Aim for 6-8 hours of sleep as often as you can.
- Explore local. We have several amazing farmer’s markets in Hawaii. You can find a variety of nutritious and yummy options for everyone in your family, and it’s a great way enjoy our community.
- Take breaks for rest and play, whatever that means to you. Laugh with your kiddos, and try to see the world from their vantage point.
- Play board games, create an obstacle course, or put a puzzle together as a family.
- Try a mindfulness app like Headspace or Calm, which has guided meditation for kids and adults alike.
- Decompress outside. Go lay under a tree or by the water, and watch all of your worries drift away.
- Create a new daily routine — the summer edition! If your kids are older, you can ask for their input on how they would like the flow of the day to look too.
- Meal prep for yourself and the kids! A little bit of time invested on the front end will save you time and a headache in the long run each day. Younger kiddos can help gather the ingredients and clean up, while older keiki can assist with chopping and light cooking.
- Wake up a few minutes early, before everyone else. This quiet time can help you set the tone for the day in a powerful way.
- We ALL have hard days. Talk to your partner, therapist, or a trusted friend when you struggle. Communicating about our emotions can help us work through them in a helpful way.
- Set aside time to share a meal or meet for coffee with a friend. If you need to bring the kids, a kid-friendly cafe or beach picnic could be perfect. If you cannot meet in person, an old-fashioned phone call or video chat might be a great way to foster connection from a distance.
- Find your tribe or support group locally in your neighborhood, school, gym, or faith-based organization. There are many virtual groups for parents who share common interests and challenges as well.
Hopefully this guide serves as a gentle reminder to take care of yourself during this time of year. The ideas presented here are just a few examples, but I hope they inspire you to take great care of yourself year-round. Please let me know if you decide to employ any of these ideas into your summer days. Even if it is not always 100% relaxing, I hope your summer is filled with plenty of fun and aloha!
Holly D’Arcy, M.Ed. is a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach located in Honolulu. In business since 2015, Holly is the owner of HD Fitness. She is a mother of 2, and loves helping moms and dads find their own version of thriving health and fitness. You can learn more about Holly and her virtual coaching services at www.hdfitnesscoach.com.