Tag Archives: friendship

Self-Care Parent “Bucket List”

How do you get your own bucket filled so you can pour into your family when you’re feeling like there isn’t much left to pour out?


Below I share a few ideas for quick pick-me-ups to help when you’re running on empty.  But I am fully aware that there can be such a deep dark pit that it takes more than just a few quick bucket-filling ideas to make much difference.  Please do not give up hope and do not give up searching and reaching for the help that you need.  It’s there.  Keep looking and keep looking up (to God and his help and ginormous love for you)!


I found some things were not so helpful before things began to be noticeably different.  Some things were helpful, but it took a while.  If you are interested in more of what helped me rise up out of the deep, dark pit I found myself in not too long ago, please reach out.  I know not everyone’s situation is the same and there will be different needs.  So I don’t presume to know exactly what your situation or needs are.  I’m certainly not a medical person so nothing I say here is intended to diagnose, treat or cure.


But I do know everyone needs Jesus.  And he is the great healer.  He can use all manner of resources or none at all!  That said, here are some quick and easy ideas for bucket-filling on days you need a little pick-me-up.

Self-care “Bucket List”

Dawn’s TOP Ideas for Re-filling a Poured-out Parent’s Bucket

As a mom of seven, I am familiar with the constant need for parents to pour themselves out for their families.  I’m also familiar with the feeling that you are running on fumes. That bucket is feeling pretty dry at times.


We sometimes tend to feel like we are being selfish to do something for ourselves that is more than tending to basic needs.  I’ve felt that way myself at times. But I’m learning that I am my own best resource. And taking care of me as a good steward of my resources is necessary to offer the best I can to those I hold most dear.  When taking care of yourself means taking better care of your family, I don’t think that’s selfish or self-centered.


What exactly is Stewardship?


“stewardship expresses our obedience regarding the administration of everything God has placed under our control, which is all-encompassing. Stewardship is the commitment of one’s self and possessions to God’s service, recognizing that we do not have the right of control over our property or ourselves.”  ~ Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics    


When our self-care is from a motive and perspective of stewardship rather than selfishness we can then understand that taking good care of ourselves is our responsibility.  As a Christian, I know that I am not my own. I belong to God and have a responsibility to him to do the best with what he has given me. If I am an emotional wreck or sleep-deprived shell of myself, I may need to do some adjusting.  


Without further ado, here are a few of my top ideas for getting that parent bucket filled.  You can use this as a jumping off point to add more ideas of your own that will likely be even better as they are personal to you.  This is by no means an exhaustive list.


#1 Connect with a (non-judgmental) friend.

If you can do it it’s great to connect face to face; otherwise take a few minutes to connect in the best way you can whether that be a call, text or video chat.

#2 Let something go so you can get more/better sleep.

However you do it whether you go to bed a bit earlier, sleep a bit later or slip in an afternoon nap it’s ok to get some rest!  Do you know that sleep time is very important for certain hormone production?


At night, I like to use essential oils to help me relax and get some shut-eye:  One of my favorite sleep blends is Cedarwood, Vetiver, and Lavender together in a diffuser or roller bottle topped with a carrier oil like olive oil or in a bedside cool mist diffuser.


#3 Read or watch something lighthearted.

Laughter is good medicine and can be just the thing to lighten your perspective.  Watching a fun movie with the family can be a good way to soften built up tensions with a shared experience.


#4  Indulge in a special snack.

It doesn’t have to be the most calorific snack or anything guilt-laden.  But just as a snack can diffuse the “hangry” in kids, it might help us too!


#5 Deep Breathing.

At one point, during a particularly stressful time, I set alarms on my phone to take a few moments and do some deep breathing throughout the day.  . . . In 2, 3, 4 . . . out 2, 3, 4 . . .


#6 Take a luxurious bath (or at least a long shower break)!

Self-care may be getting back to the basics if you’ve been in survival mode.  Using delightfully scented soaps, shampoos, and bath salts and following up with a light lotion or skin oil can make you feel pretty pampered.  


I like to use toxin-free soaps and shampoos infused with essential oils.  


#7 Get Moving!

Perhaps it’s not resting you need as much as to get moving.  Exercise, even just a little, can be a good pick-me-up. Plus, as an added bonus, exercise can even help you to sleep better —  provided it’s not too close to bedtime.


#8 Drink something.

Even slight dehydration can get you feeling yucky.  So drink water or another hydrating beverage to stay hydrated. *One of my favorites is Ningxia Zing!  


#9 Go Outdoors!

For eons, parents have known to send their kiddos outside for better health all over the world.  Guess what? It goes for adults, too! Fresh air and the sunshine vitamin (vitamin D) are necessary for each of us.


#9 – Listen to Happy Music!

Alone or better yet – – with the kiddos – – listening to music (and even sing and dance along) is a great way to bring on the smiles.


#10 Take time to read a Bible passage and pray.

This is important to me as a Christian.  The Holy Bible is God’s Word, his messages to us.  I speak to him through prayer and he speaks to me through his Word.  


Would you like to know more?  I’d love to share how you can become a Christian and have this personal relationship with one-on-one communication with The God of all Creation!  


And if you are interested in finding out more about how you can get started with essential oils and related products, let me know.  The ones I use and recommend have the Seed to Seal commitment that is an important quality control measure that puts them head and shoulders above the rest.  


See my Virtual Business Card for ways you can contact me for more.



Ally on Their Side

Friends.  Allies.  We all need them.

For my kiddos from an orphanage background, the drive for peer friendships and allies is possibly even stronger in them as well as more difficult for them.  The elements of trust and empathy (ability to understand another person’s perspective) have been missing to a large degree for some of them.  Add in additional delays in social skills and the need for allies, either within the family or outside can come to have a lot of anxiety attached because of the deep fear of rejection that has been imprinted on them from a young age.  As they reach adolescence it gets even more complex.

The need for an ally is so strong at times that (1) they may repel an alliance by going overboard (with hugs for instance); (2) they may self-sabotage from fear of getting too close or getting rejected; (3) they may be willing to “do anything” for this relationship, leading to endangering themselves and/or others.

Helping them navigate the need for friendship and find an ally (or preferably a few) may take more work.  Throw in mistrust of parents or adults in general and it can be even trickier.  What many children learn through trial and error may need to be shown more overtly.  At the same time, they may need help to them un-learn harmful patterns of thinking and behavior.  Establish clear boundaries early on as a given, not as a punishment or judgment on their new friend.  (Example:  “We don’t entertain non-family friends in the bedrooms.” It has nothing to do with this friend or what their family allows.  It has nothing to do with right or wrong.)  Save the rationale for another time.  It will be easier for them to learn from an objective stance than when embroiled in the struggle to hang out with their friend behind closed doors in this example.

Show rather than tell.  Showing our kids through our own relationships the basics as well as the more complex aspects of having a deep friendship, an ally is the way they may learn best.  This will take intentionally pointing out the basics, such as what we are thinking and why we do this and that in a way that seems less teach-y and more casual.

Especially in adolescence adults may be seen as unreliable.  It’s up to us to show them how relationships can be forged and maintained through thick and thin.  Talk about how we are doing in our own relationships, about our feelings and how we interpret the other person’s feelings in an effort to understand, if not agree, and about our commitment and efforts to move forward.

Our kids need to know:  How do you show acceptance of the other person, even in the midst of disagreement or disappointment?  How do you find an ally – – be a good ally.  Accept others.  Show them that you accept them and understand that they might have different wants/needs/opinions/beliefs than you and that’s ok.

Proverbs 18:24 New King James Version (NKJV)

A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

In adolescence, it seems kids may go backward.  They seem often to be toddlers in the bodies of teens.  Rather than thinking of them as young adults (“you should be able to . . .”), perhaps in the emotional/social area we can understand them as large toddlers (“I understand how you feel; let’s think about what you can do next; I can think of these options – can you think of anything else?”)  Having a long-range view can also help our parenting mindset as we navigate emotional flare-ups of our kids.  The road to maturity is a long one.  And take care to take care of your other relationships.  They are learning from you.


Real life is often emotional and kid’s from hard places often have overwhelming emotions.  As a parent, I want to help my children learn to use positive coping skills and give them helpful tools.  We have begun using some fantastic natural products in our family that make a big difference in helping kids cope with overwhelming emotions, to manage and focus.

I’d be happy to fill you in if you think you’d be interested in finding out more.  Click on Contact me above and let me know you want to learn more about our toxin-free natural-based personal care products and dietary supplements.