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7 Tips to look after you this Self Care Week

Being a foster parent is a hard and often stressful role.  It's important to take care of yourself every bit as much as the children in your care. So here are some top tips to ensure you stay healthy both mentally and physically.

October 21 2019 - 4 min read

Being a foster parent is a hard and often stressful role.  It's important to take care of yourself every bit as much as the children in your care.

Often as carers or parents we put the needs of children and our families first and neglect our own needs.  So here are some top tips to ensure you stay healthy both mentally and physically.

Tip #1 - Exercise

Most of us hate this word - but exercise doesn't have to mean endless gym sessions and spin classes - unless you enjoy it.  To get the best results from exercise you need to be having fun - so think back to your own childhood, what did you enjoy doing - Ice skating?  Shooting hoops? Kick about in the park? Or even dancing around the kitchen?  Just 30 minutes of moderate dancing will burn the same amount of calories in a two finger kit-kat and you'll feel invigorated and happy too.

Tip # 2 - Take your time

We are always being told to watch what we eat, and ensure we are eating a balance diet and all of that is great advice.  But it's important to enjoy what you are eating every bit as much as what you are eating.  By taking time over a family meal and eating more slowly we improve our digestive system and it also allows our brain time to register when we've had enough to eat.

Tip #3 - Get enough sleep

Sleep is the best thing we can give our bodies, yet most of us don't get enough.  Not getting enough sleep has been linked to many things including our ability to focus, deal with stress, weight gain and even dementia.  This website has some great tips if you think your not getting 8 hours a night.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-tips-to-sleep-better

Tip #4 - Feel loved

We may not all be in a loving relationship with a partner, but we can all feel the benefits of love.  For couples, holding hands and hugging has been proved to lower blood pressure studied have shown a link to being hugged and your ability to deal with stress.

For singles a 10 year study has shown that people with strong friendships live longer than those without.  So make time for your friends and your partners - it's good for you.

Tip #5 - Laugh out loud

Laughter reduces blood pressure, anxiety, boosts you immune system, makes you breath better and is great for your cardiovascular system.  So if you don't already ensure silliness is built into your daily routine with the family and make sure you enjoy at least one great big belly laugh each and every day.

Tip #6 - No slouching at the back

At the risk of sounding like a grandmother or head teacher, they were definitely on to something.  We spend a lot of time with our heads down in the modern age, looking at our mobiles and tables.  But standing up straight is really easy to do once you get into the habit and it's extremely good for us.  Your core will become stronger and more toned, digestion is improved, neck and back pain can be avoided and best of all it can improve self confidence too when we feel taller.

Tip # 7 -Relax

Some people feel guilty when they relax, like they are wasting precious time.  But wasting time is good for us too.  So go on - Binge watching the series on Netflix, reading a book, take a long bath or just sit on the sofa with a face mask!  And if you get caught by one of the younger members of the family - there is one of those daily belly laughs right there too!