June 25, 2024

How to Make Time for Self-Care as a Busy Dad

As a busy dad, you sometimes struggle to make time for yourself. Sound familiar?

You’re not the only one!

Whether you have a partner or not, raising kids is never easy. All parents know the struggle of feeling like their children’s needs often overshadow their own.

While it is always important to prioritize your kid’s well-being, that certainly doesn't mean you should neglect your own.

After all, by taking care of yourself, you can show up for your family in a way that just isn’t possible when you’re constantly burnt out.

That said, making time for self-care is a whole lot easier said than done. If you’re a busy dad struggling to find time for yourself, this list of tips is for you.


Make Self-Care A Part Of Your Routine

If there’s one thing about parenthood that every dad knows, it’s that free time does not happen on its own. Unfortunately, a free moment to comfortably practice self-care isn’t likely to manifest itself, which is why scheduling is so important.

Take a look at your daily, weekly, and monthly schedules to work out when the best time is to squeeze in some self-care. It can be anywhere from 15 minutes to an entire day (I know, right, a man can dream!), whichever suits your schedule best.

Try to identify a gap that allows you enough time to unwind without feeling guilty or distracted by all your other responsibilities.


Make The Most Of Your Commute

If you work in an office and find yourself commuting for an hour or more every day, it’s a good solo moment to take advantage of for self-care purposes.

Depending on whether you drive or use public transport, use the time to catch up on podcasts, read a book, listen to your favorite music, or just enjoy the peace and quiet. If commuting by foot or bike or anything else with wheels is an option, do it! You’ll not only get a bit of me time in, but you’ll also get some feel-good exercise at the same time. This will double up the benefits for your mental health.


Delegate Responsibilities To Those You Trust

Even though fatherhood can sometimes feel like you’re everyone else’s rock, it’s very important to remember that you can ask for support and help when you need it.

Identify the people in your life that you trust to lean on when you need a break—you might be surprised by how willing the right people are to provide support. You can ask them to do simple things like pick up the kids from school one day or even babysit them for an evening.

If you’re feeling the weight of life on your shoulders and you know you need a break, reach out to your community. It’s a healthy, normal, and incredibly important part of parenthood.


Connect With Other Dads 

Speaking of reaching out to your community, don’t forget that positive reinforcement and social time can be just as much of a form of self-care as alone time. Connecting with other dads and having the opportunity to fully unwind can be a simultaneously energizing and relaxing experience.

Every now and then, set up a dad’s evening to watch a movie, spend time outdoors, make a meal, or just engage in conversation with other dads in your community. You’ll emerge from sessions like these feeling lighter, happier, and often, more like yourself!


Restrict Screen Time

As tempting as it can be to want to spend all your free time catching up on your favorite series or binging social media content, doing so can eat up your precious self-care time without really doing anything to actually make you feel better.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with including some screen time in your self-care sessions; just try not to make it the core focus. There are lots of other activities that will leave you feeling more nourished and satisfied than a screen ever could. 


Think About What Self-Care Means To You

Self-care isn’t a one size fits all type of thing. It varies from person to person, or in this case, from dad to dad.

Without a clear understanding of what self-care means to you and how you’d like to spend it, you’re at risk of wasting precious time on activities that don’t actually tickle your pickle in a meaningful way.

Spend some time thinking about what activities and experiences bring you the most relaxation, clarity of mind, and joy. It can be anything: a walk on the beach, a glass of wine with a loved one, a delicious solo meal, or some alone time with your partner trying something new in the bedroom. Whatever floats your boat and makes you feel fulfilled.

Once you know what it is, it’ll be easier to incorporate it into your schedule and make sure you have time for it on as regular a basis as possible.


Remove Unnecessary Activities From Your Schedule

If you’re a dad who often finds himself pressed for time, removing unnecessary activities or events from your schedule is essential for practicing self-care. If you look closely enough, there are bound to be things in your schedule that don’t need to be there.

Be honest with yourself about whether you’re spending your downtime (and your active time, really) wisely so that you can reshuffle your calendar as needed and carve out more time for the things that actually make you happy and keep you sane.


Prioritize Self-Care

Ultimately, making time for self-care is about prioritizing your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Sadly, self-care can be difficult to regulate in this productivity-obsessed age—a predicament often exacerbated by the responsibilities of parenthood.

You are the only person who can prioritize your self-care. Understand your limitations and take burnout seriously when its symptoms arise.

Have patience with yourself, and remember that in order to be the best dad you can be, you need to take care of yourself, too.


Final Thoughts

Cultivating a healthy relationship with yourself is every bit as important as showing up for your family.

By practicing self-care and making it a more established part of your routine, you can replenish your energy levels more easily and continue showing up for yourself and your family.

We wrote this article to remind you to make time for yourself, too. You deserve to be spoiled, whether that means treating yourself to an ultra-comfortable High Speed Daddy Woobie Hoodie or some alone time!

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