052 // How “self-parenting” can help your holistic health

Health with Hashimoto’s is your free weekly podcast to discover true, simple, and sustainable tips to improve your energy and health.

As adults and parents, we often focus on the needs of others, often neglecting our own well-being. But what if we were to prioritize ourselves like we do with our kids? We try to make sure the kids are doing what is best for them—even if they don’t want to. How would you prioritize doing what is best for your overall wellbeing instead of prioritizing what you feel like doing? We’ll dive into that topic in today’s episode of Health with Hashimoto’s. Get ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment!

You will find this episode below in audio format and a written summary because I know not everyone is an audio learner. Some links may be affiliate links that will support me without increasing your price.

This episode is pulled from a blog post I wrote a while back. That’s why it has my old brand colors. Each episode of Health with Hashimoto’s is for informational and educational purposes. Please discuss any questions or concerns with your trusted healthcare professional.

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Read the Transcript:

The Problem is Not Usually the Real Problem

When any of my kids start crying over a math problem, I know I have a puzzle to solve.

You see, they’re all good at math. They could do it for fun. (Yes, their mom might be a nerd who has actually done algebra for fun.) So when one of them starts to cry over long division, I know he is not actually crying because of the math. He’s crying because of something else that has impacted his ability to do math well.

I start going through all the possibilities:

  • Is he tired?
  • Is he coming down with something?
  • Is he hungry?
  • Is it spiritual? Is he feeling guilty and can’t concentrate?
  • Is this space too cluttered to think?

As the mom, it is my job to help my kids do their best. And this means in all things—the whole person.

  • Body
  • Mind
  • Spirit
  • Diet
  • Environment

That’s a big job. It’s one I take seriously. I care about my kids and want the best for them.

What about my own health?

But what about me? How do I take care of myself? I don’t know about you, but the term “self-care” always sounds nice, but not critical. Right? It sounds like items that would be nice to add to my day, but if I don’t get to them, well, no harm done.

A while back, I was listening to The Business of Becoming podcast and heard a term that was new to me: self-parenting.

Game changer.

Now, I look at my own health with the eyes of a parent. And it makes a big difference.

Do I let my kids stay up 2-3 hours after their bedtime because they chose to start a good book late in the day and want to finish it? No. Do I do this very thing? Yes. And do I pay for it the next day? You bet. Of course, this leads to “if Mom isn’t happy, nobody’s happy” in the house. My whole family can be impacted because I chose to stay up late.

Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD

My mom told me that nobody under her roof would ever dye their hair. Guess what I did freshman year of college? Yup. I dyed my hair. Just because I could.

Independence and adulthood lead to a lot of freedom. We can choose what and how we eat (dessert first anyone?), how/where we worship, when we sleep, who we hang out with, etc. But with this freedom comes the responsibility to use it wisely.

When I was a kid, I was always looking forward to a later bedtime. When I left home, I had nobody telling me when to go to bed. I had to self-regulate. I chose shifts in the ER that would suit my circadian rhythm. Working until 1:30 A.M. and sleeping late was perfect. A natural night owl, it was hard when my kids were born and wanted to get up before 10:00 A.M. But even with “early” risers, I still stayed up late.

I know the benefits of sleep. I know that your entire body, mind, and even spirit need it for whole health. I know that healing, restoration, and renewal happen when one is sleeping. I know that the immune system works better when you are rested. I know all this in my head. And yet, I still was staying up late–getting 2-4 hours less sleep than I need.

[I think I only survived for so long because I was implementing other energy boosting principles into each day.]

So now I am self-parenting. When my independence-craving, feeling-brain wants to keep going late into the night, my rational, thinking-brain goes into parenting mode and tells me to go to bed.

I’m getting more sleep. I’m waking up feeling rested. I don’t start to slur my words as I struggle to stay awake reading the boys a book.

Self-Parenting

Self-parenting works in other areas, too; I’m a whole person and need to care for the whole. Even if I don’t want to, I still make sure I exercise. (Most days. This is a work in progress.) Even if I don’t feel like it, I will eat my peas. Ok, that’s a lie. I hate peas. Self-parenting only goes so far.

Self-parenting has changed my view (and more importantly, my actions) about my whole health. How will it change the way you take care of your health?

Images used in this post include those from Unsplash: Marcelo Silva, Aaron Burden David PenningtonVasile Tiplea