As parents, your time largely revolves around your children. From chasing after your little one to planning what they’ll eat for the weeks ahead, it’s easy to forget that other important person in your life — yourself.
It’s important to de-stress for anyone, but especially for parents. It’s okay to take some me-time and treat yourself to something relaxing for a change. It’s good for you, and it’ll help keep you alert and in control the rest of the time. If a hammock and hammock stand is an impossible prospect try these four fun ways to de-stress and relax for parents.
Play some good old-fashioned card games
Sometimes the old ways are the best, and nowhere is that truer than card games. Card games have remained popular for years, thanks in no small part to their simplicity. All you need is a pack of cards and some friends or family to play with.
You probably already know the usual card games — poker and blackjack, for instance — so why not try something new instead? Baccarat, for instance, is a fun and relatively simple game that’s easy to get started with. Plus, it’s James Bond’s favourite game too!
Once you’ve got the baccarat table layout sorted and the rules down, start placing small wagers to up your skill. You could even make it interesting by placing real-world wagers, for instance, having the loser do the dishes for that night’s meal.
Enjoy the many benefits of soothing yoga
Once solely the domain of hippies and mystics worldwide, yoga has spread around the world to become a common pastime for people from all walks of life. It has a range of benefits for the practitioner, ranging from improved core strength and toned muscles to better moods and increased feelings of calm overall.
All you need is a yoga mat (or other soft but non-slippy material) — that’s it! You can find free instructional yoga videos online, so you don’t even need to pay for classes either. That said, yoga classes can be found almost everywhere around the UK, and it’s a great place to meet likeminded people too.
Many places even offer parent-and-baby yoga too, helping you bond and breathe with your child in a new and unusual way.
Try your hand at painting
There’s nothing quite as uniquely relaxing as the simple art of painting. Slowly and deliberately applying paint to canvas in order to create something beautiful is deeply satisfying and hugely relaxing too. And with the plethora of affordable art kits available at most good craft stores, it means anyone can do it too.
As with yoga, there are plenty of instructional how-to videos available on YouTube to help you get started with painting. But this article is about de-stressing and relaxing, so your first port of call should be Bob Ross.
The American painter is renowned the world over for his soothing tones and gentle, accessible approach to painting. UK Netflix viewers can even find his Chill With Bob Ross series on the streaming platform. Relaxing, creative, and a great activity to do with your partner, your child, or simply by yourself — it’s the perfect combination.
Embrace your inner chef
For many parents, cooking is seen as a necessity, a chore that has to be done to feed the many mouths of your growing family. Time and budget take priority over-elaborate dishes or unusual flavour combinations.
While that’s fine for your everyday meals, it’s okay to allow yourself to indulge every now and then and spend the time and money whipping up something special for you and your family.
You could pick something that you’ve never tried before and always wanted to — risotto, for instance, or a rich paella. Or you could try your hand at something that’s outrageously indulgent that you wouldn’t usually cook — a deliciously cheesy lasagne or a loaded burger, for example. The BBC Good Food website has lots of inspiration with easy recipes to follow — well worth checking out.
Cooking is a simple activity that’s fun to do with your partner or by yourself. It’s also a great way to teach your child about cooking, giving them the skills they’ll need as they get older. But beyond that, experimenting with complex dishes also gives amateur chefs confidence and skills to transform their everyday meals into something more exciting too.
As parents, it’s okay to let yourself relax. Try one of the activities above to de-stress and unwind so you’re ready to be the best parent you can be.