6 easy self-care tips for dads


Whether you’ve just celebrated your first father’s day, or you’re a professional dad with years of experience, it’s important that you look after your mental health. There’s a tendency in our society for men to bottle up emotions and just get on with things. But how can you be expected to offer your family the best when you’re not feeling 100% yourself?

To help improve your wellbeing and get you back to being the best dad you can be, we’ve put together six easy self-care tips:

dad self-care

1. Eat well and drink plenty of water

After a busy day juggling parenting, work and any other commitments, it can be tempting to reach for the most convenient food available. While a quick snack from the cupboard or a cheeky takeaway is fine every so often, you may find that too much unhealthy, processed food takes its toll on your general wellbeing.

What we put into our bodies doesn’t just affect us physically, but also mentally. Studies show that foods high in refined and/or added sugars can send way too much glucose to the brain, which can lead to depression and fatigue. Similarly, not getting enough water can have a huge impact on your overall wellbeing. So, if you’re feeling particularly low or tired, practice self-care by looking after your body with healthy fruits, vegetables and plenty of water.


2. Get a good night’s rest

In addition to a healthy diet and good hydration, it’s incredibly important that you get enough sleep. In order for your brain and body to function properly, they need time to rest and recuperate. Of course, if you have a young baby this is often easier said than done.

While your little one is still getting used to a regular bedtime routine, try and get sleep where you can. Afternoon naps aren’t reserved just for newborns – sometimes mums and dads need a little self-care siesta too. Crucially, try to avoid fuelling yourself on caffeine alone. A cup of coffee in the morning can give you a little boost, but depending on it will just cause your mental health and wellbeing to deteriorate. Get plenty of rest where you can to truly look after yourself.


3. Take some ‘me-time’ for self-care

‘Me-time’? What’s that? It can seem like a foreign concept to many of us with young kids! But it’s so important to dedicate even a small amount of your time to self-care. Leave the kids with your partner, a relative or a close friend for an hour or two if you need a little space. Or, if that’s not possible, make the most of those naps and early bedtimes to just sit by yourself for a moment.

Many dads find that the best way to allocate time for themselves on a regular basis is by taking up a hobby. There’s a reason why so many Father’s Day cards seem to be about golf, gardening or football – these are all great ways to make the most of your ‘me-time’. Anything that gets you outside is ideal for fostering a healthy mind.


4. Connect with other dads/friends

We all know what it’s like trying to find time in the diary to meet up with friends. By the time you find a weekend that you’re all free, it ends up being six months away! Still, any opportunity to spend time with your friends will do wonders for your wellbeing. Plus, if they’re also a dad, you may find it helps to discuss any issues or concerns with another parent to get any worries off your chest.

You don’t necessarily have to call in the babysitter to catch up with your mates. Sometimes, a quick phone call is all you need, or even a playdate if you both have young children. Being a dad can be isolating, so keep in touch with those you love on social media, via text, meeting up for a coffee or just waving hi when you pass them on the street. There are few things that can beat the comfort of a chat with a good friend.


5. Practice self-care outside and exercise regularly

Fresh air and exercise aren’t just great for keeping fit – they’re also essential for your mental wellbeing. When you work out, your body releases chemicals that are called ‘endorphins’ – these help to provide your brain with a sense of wellness and happiness. Plus, while you’re literally generating these happy hormones, you’ll also find that you have more energy as you get into the habit of exercising more regularly.

Your self-care exercise routine can be as simple as a regular stroll through your local park, taking your little one with you in the pram if need be. Alternatively, you can sign up to your local gym, where you may find like-minded dads and a motivational environment. Another great way to socialise, enjoy a hobby and get fit is by joining a sports club. Take part in a local football group, or see what classes are available near you.


6. Take time to breathe and focus on positives

Finally, but arguably most importantly, take time to stop and breathe. Sometimes, all you need to do to give your brain some self-care and a much-needed boost is a brief moment of calm. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing (providing it’s safe to do so), stop for a few minutes and take a deep breath. Inhale, exhale. You’d be surprised how much better you feel after a couple of breaths in and out.

If you can, try and use this time to think of at least one positive thing about your day. Did you manage to do the dishes this morning? Did you successfully get your baby to try a new food? A positive thought can be nothing more than getting out of bed. Give yourself a pat on the back – parenting isn’t always easy, and you’re being the best dad you can be!

For more parenting tips and advice, check out our blog page.


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