Self-Care Activities

The theme of self-care activities refers to those activities parents use to regain their energy, rest, take care of themselves and recharge their batteries. For some parents self-care activities can coincide with the shared pleasures theme, while for others, such leisure activities seem to depend greatly on support from the social network. A series of 22 illustrations, sometimes associated with a female figure and other times with a male figure, represent different types of self-care activities.

 

 

Using the tools

  • In both individual and group sessions, the illustrations encourage parents to talk about the kinds of things they have already done or to explore together activities they might like to develop further for rest and renewal.
  • This theme also is helpful for encouraging discussions about the variety of activities for relaxation and restoration used by parents from ethnic minority groups.
  • The activities undertaken by some parents serve as a source of inspiration for parents who are less inclined to rest or to recharge.

From the professionals

«It’s in the professional’s attitude that parents can see whether this aspect of the parents’ role is really as important and valued as, for example, the ability to manage their child’s behaviour. They aren’t used to having any attention paid to what they’re doing for themselves».

«Often just thinking about the different possibilities for relaxation makes parents realize that, actually, they almost never do anything to look after themselves».

«I find that this theme offers the most potential for parents in the group to exchange services or to do some shared activities (such as babysitting exchange, walking together with strollers, taking someone to their Wednesday Bingo game)».

 

Clinical relevance

  • The theme of self-care activities is not always a priority for professionals who are themselves overworked and may not have many occasions to relax. Also, the professionals’ mandates are more focused on supporting parents’ skills as educators than on supporting parents’ relaxation and renewal. Professionals need to keep in mind the clear directives of airline emergency safety instructions: parents are required to first put on their own oxygen mask before attempting to assist their children sitting beside them. This conviction will help professionals to remain steadfastly aware of the importance of this aspect in the parents’ lives.