Fathers typically put the needs of their partner and children ahead of their own. If you have to choose between what’s best for you and what’s best for your family, you probably put your family first. While being a father is a great responsibility that often goes unrecognized, there is a certain satisfaction that comes with the inherent self-sacrifice. But that satisfaction isn’t enough. To be the best father and husband you can be means adopting habits that nourish your well being.
It’s easy for fathers to put self-care on the back burner. Between work and family and other responsibilities, self-therapy can seem like a luxury or selfish. But taking better care of yourself mentally and physically gives you the tools you need to be a better husband, professional and, most of all, a better father. Eating healthy, reducing stress, exercising regularly and taking a time-out when you need it are touchstones of self-therapy that help keep your body and mind healthy and balanced.
Why Self-Therapy Matters
Self-Therapy Helps You Realize Your Worth
Self-care is important for developing and maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself and others. It creates positive feelings, boosts your confidence and strengthens your resilience. Self-therapy shows you and others that your needs are important which leads to a greater sense of self-worth.
Self-Therapy Helps You Balance Your Life Roles
Working yourself too hard leads to stress and exhaustion that makes you less productive, disorganized and emotionally disconnected. The results can be personal and family relationships that are neglected and unfulfilling. Habits like intermittent breaks at work, setting professional boundaries and nurturing your family relationships all help you balance the important roles in your life.
Self-Therapy Helps You Manage Stress
While stress can give us the motivation we need to meet deadlines or finish overdue tasks, constant stress can cause a range of mental and physical issues. Smart habits like eating healthy, connecting with loved ones and giving your mind a break reduce the effects of stress, improves your mood and ultimately leads to stronger relationships.
Be a Better Father When You Make Self-Therapy Part of Your Routine
1. Develop healthy sleeping habits.
Sleep can have a major impact on your physical and mental well-being. Stress and distractions can lead to insufficient rest and even insomnia that can leave you feeling depleted and ineffective. Look at your habits such as consuming sugar or caffeine too close to bedtime, going to bed too late and more to see where you can improve.
Your sleeping area should be free of distractions like your TV, laptop and cellphone. Your goal is to create a sleeping sanctuary that is uncluttered and peaceful so you can get a good night’s sleep. Remember the three major requirements for restful sleep: a cool temperature, darkness and quiet.
2. Exercise daily for mental and physical self-therapy.
Daily exercise contributes to your mental and physical health in a variety of positive ways. From boosting your mood and reducing anxiety to sound sleep and losing weight, daily exercise is one of the best self-therapy habits you can develop. Getting to the gym every day may not be practical, but it’s easy to get some daily exercise if you commit yourself.
Walking, biking and other exercises can be enjoyable activities with a great return on your investment. 20 minutes of cardio per day will get your body moving and your heart pumping to create healthy doses of endorphins for a calm mind. Whether you exercise before work, at lunch or after work, dedicating 20 minutes per day for exercise will have a positive impact on your family life.
3. Make healthy eating a priority for self-therapy.
Healthy eating habits can keep us healthy and alert, while unhealthy eating contributes to weight gain, depression, and physical illnesses. A healthy diet can minimize short-term memory loss, decrease inflammation and more. Nourishing and beneficial foods include fish, berries and fruit, nuts, vegetables, and other natural foods—the key is to avoid processed food and minimize your intake of sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats.
If you commit to changing your eating habits by substituting healthy alternatives for unhealthy foods, you can create a beneficial habit. One of the easiest ways to change your eating habits is to skip eating out and prepare more meals at home. Not only will you be a healthier father, but you also get the chance to cook and eat as a family and set a good example for your children.
4. Declutter your environment to declutter your mind.
Decluttering and getting organized goes a long way toward feeling more content and less stressed out. Decluttering and organizing at work and home creates a range of positive benefits. The mere act of decluttering can help reduce anxiety and an uncluttered space helps create an uncluttered mind. You’ll be a more organized father, and in turn, have more time to be a better father.
Creating a checklist of things you need to do can also help create a calmer mind and less anxiety. From keeping track of personal and family events to reminding yourself to take time for self-therapy, a calendar or to-do list can do a lot to keep your life manageable and enjoyable.
5. Take a self-therapy break by getting outside.
Spending time outside reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and gives you plenty of fresh, clean air. Research shows that getting outdoors can also boost your immune system, enhance creativity and minimize pain. There’s something about being in nature that melts away stress and puts things in perspective.
Get outside for hiking, walking, camping, and other activities and combine beneficial exercise with your outdoor excursions. While getting outdoors is a great way to spend some time alone, you can also enjoy your outdoor experiences with people you care about to share the self-therapy benefits and enjoy closer relationships.
If you want to be a better father, and a better man, make self-therapy a part of your normal routine. Begin developing self-care habits and you’ll be more mentally and physically fit, better able to handle stress and more content.