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Practices of Self Care

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1:32:02 PM
First article, CTPEN, Jan-Feb, 2013

The National Extension Parent Education Model (NEPEM) identifies six categories of priority parenting practices to be learned by parents and taught by parenting educators: Care for Self, Understand, Guide, Nurture, Motivate, and Advocate. The topic of this exploration is CARE FOR SELF. Whether you are a Parenting Educator or a Parent you know that your job is tough and challenging but it also brings the greatest rewards. It can be emotionally and physically exhausting.not to mention STRESSFUL! I could list all the diseases that are caused by or exacerbated by unhealthy, unmanaged stress and lack of self care, but I prefer to be solution focused and write about my favorite subject: Practices of Self Care.

Whether you are a parenting educator or a parent, you are a role model and teacher; and as such, teaching others to care for themselves begins with taking the time to care for yourself. As you are reading this, I can almost read your mind. I know what you are probably thinking because it is always my first thought when I consider the subject of caring for self, "When do I ever have the time?".

Each month I will provide some ideas for self care that won't take up a lot of your time. In fact, self care practices can be infused in your existing daily routines to support an on-going healthy body, mind, and spirit. When you take care of yourself, you are more likely to be a great parent and/or a great parenting educator.

Practices of Self Care

TIP FOR AN ENERGETIC BODY: To feel healthy and energetic and have fun doing it, explore eating vegetables and fruits you have never tried before. On your next shopping trip to the grocery store, spend a little extra time in the produce section and enjoy the beautiful and NATURAL shapes, colors and smells of the fruits and vegetables. Pick out one new fruit and one new vegetable to take home and try. See how many colors in the rainbow you can serve for dinner!

TIP FOR A MENTAL BREAK: LAUGH.it does wonders for your emotional health. Seeing the funny side of life renews your energy. Sometimes the saying "FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT" comes into play here. If you have lost your funny bone, find a mirror and make faces into it.

TIP TO RAISE YOUR SPIRITS: Start an appreciation or gratitude list. As you go through your day, take a moment to appreciate something.anything.anybody (don't forget the "Fake it till you make it" trick if need be). We have trained the brain to latch on to the bad stuff. Re-train the brain and latch on to the good; it will make your spirit soar.

I offer you three challenges. (1).Try one new fruit or vegetable, (2) find one really silly moment in your day and (3) find one really obscure situation to be grateful about. Please tell us about them. If you are an overachiever, in addition, you can send us a self-care practice idea that doesn't take you a lot of time to do!

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