In our conversations with Dads and the workplaces that employ them, we find so much feedback and input centres around four key areas of Dad life. Almost every piece of feedback falls in to one of these four zones that we assume to be; money, family, business, and self.
To add to this, our research and feedback from the sessions we host suggest that the very first thing to go when things get harder, pressures mount and overwhelm creeps in, is, well – self. I know from personal experience that when the going gets tough with responsibilities at home, at work and responsibilities around money mean that hobbies go (I can’t spend that much!), our interests wain (I don’t have time for that!) and our health and fitness go out the window (I’m too busy looking after everything else to be so selfish to do something for me!)
An approach to personal wellbeing for Dads – don’t ignore self!
How much time do you spend listening to your own personal needs? Really listening? As a dad, it’s easy to allocate all your time to work and family life. To avoid feeling overwhelmed and burnt out, it’s important to spend regular time looking after number one (yes, that’s you!). Here are some ways to reconnect with yourself and boost focus in your day-to-day life…
THREE SIMPLE WAYS TO RECONNECT WITH YOURSELF
Here are three speedy strategies to clear your mind and alleviate some stress.
1: AWE WALKING
This simple practice of mindfulness grounds you into a single moment away from the responsibility and stress of being a working dad. Disconnecting from social media and technology to interact with your senses gives your brain a moment to switch off from overactive thoughts, channelling them into one steady line.
For step-to-step instructions on ‘awe walking’ follow this link: https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/awe_walk
Journaling can be very therapeutic way to get things off your chest from the safety of your own home. There is some stigma around journaling – that it’s used predominantly by teenage girls in cheesy movie settings, with ‘Dear diary…’ at the top of each entry. But we are out here to break down stereo types! Journaling has an abundance of benefits for all types of people, including you!
Expressive Journaling – this type of journaling is used for anger and stress management, a place to put all your deepest thoughts and feelings. And then you can close the journal and leave it tucked away between the pages. Get it off your chest, really let it out, you can always rip the pages up after.
Gratitude Journaling –a place to write down things you feel you are grateful for. Practicing writing three things a day onto paper helps you to recognise the positives in your life. This can help to balance out negative thoughts and will make you appreciate life in new ways.
Aspirational Journaling – setting goals and aspirations, or even just lists of things you want to do in your week. This concretes things in writing and helps to make them a reality. You could write down things that you want to explore – hobbies, places etc. and then tick them off!
3: MIRROR MOTIVATION
Let’s get this straight – talking to yourself is NOT the first sign of insanity. In fact, talking to out loud when you are alone is a sign that you are more connected with yourself.
When you feel accomplished, try looking in your own eyes in the mirror, and telling yourself that you are proud and that you’re smashing it! If you’re struggling, you could tell yourself that it’s just a bad patch, and things are going to improve soon. Tell yourself to keep pushing through! Simple affirmations spoken directly to yourself in private moments can shift your life perspective and help drive your direction.
Follow this link to read Jessica Stillman’s article on ‘How to Give Yourself a Pep Talk’:
BACK TO BASICS – WELLBEING FOR BUSY DADS, STARTING AT THE VERY BEGINNING.
Now, let’s talk about basic needs. It sounds simple, but these are the foundations to build upon and are extremely important to help the body and brain function properly. These are the things that connect us all together in survival. Without addressing the simple needs – maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise and enough sleep, it will prove to be tricky for you to reach your full potential for growth and happiness. We don’t want to just ‘survive’, we want to thrive!
Psychologist Abraham Maslow explains this in a ‘Pyramid of Happiness’, which is essentially a hierarchy of needs. To reach self-fulfilment in all areas of your life, it’s good practice to consider whether you are paying enough attention to each level of the pyramid, starting with the basics.
Are you angry or are you hangry? Tired or dehydrated? When you feel your mood dipping, ask yourself whether you have met your basic needs today. Is the issue something you can fix immediately, or does it need deeper work? To reach the top tier in which you are hitting your creative potential, in business and in life, the basics needs still come come first!
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN DIET, SLEEP AND WELLBEING
If your wellbeing is suffering due to persistent low energy, consider evaluating your diet and sleep pattern. Being conscious of what you put in your body should improve the quality of your sleep, and thus your mood though out the day. Think of it as taking your role as dad and applying it to yourself – are you treating yourself with the care and compassion that you would your child? It helps to check in on your inner child, because we all know that it’s easy to prioritise working life over self-care!
Follow this link to read up on how diet affects mood and sleep:
‘Food and Mood’ – Mind Charityhttps://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/food-and-mood/about-food-and-mood/
Use this acronym to figure out if you can improve your wellbeing in your day-to-day life as a dad.
Have you pooped, peed, slept and drank enough water today? It sounds simple, but it could quickly fix your mood!
Priory Group – ‘How Poor Sleep Affects Your Mental Health’:
Healthline – ’17 Tips to Sleep Better’:
A study featured by Huffington Post found that ‘fewer than 1 in 10 of us are drinking enough, according to new research.’ Dehydration contributes directly to fatigue, low moods and decreases focus. Drinking two litres of water day will boost your mood and increase productiveness!
Sleep is as important to our health as drinking water and eating in balance. Follow the article links below to read up on how sleep affects mental wellbeing, and how you can improve your sleep!
LISTEN TO YOURSELF
Have you taken the time to listen to your life stories?
It takes strength to connect with your life, your stories, your past.
Are these things you can laugh about, or are there parts that are affecting you still now?
Join one of our forums for a safe space to talk about life as a dad.