Self Care for Parents

So you finally got your kid into therapy and they're responding wonderfully. But what about
you? I mean, you have feelings too, you know? What are you going to do to take care of you and your
emotional needs? Well, we're going to talk about that today on tips on teens. My name is Kent
Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I specialize in helping kids,
teens, s and families to live happier lives. I lead two organizations teen Therapy Center and
the nonprofit 501 c three organization, child and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills,
California. Every Wednesday at noon, I jump onto Facebook Live to answer your parenting questions.
Let's answer today's. My child has been in therapy for six months and is helping a great deal.
At times I feel like I need some help too, but I don't have the time or money to seek therapy for
myself. I'm wondering if there are any kinds of therapy techniques I can do myself. Can you suggest
some self help strategies for me? Yes. Thank

you for asking your question. First, I want to congratulate you on getting your kidney therapy
and finding a good fit. It's really encouraging. It helps. Kind of give you that sense of hope
at the light at the end of the tunnel. But what about you? What you're saying is you don't have
the time or the money for your own self care. That's already a flag that you should be paying attention
to because something's out of balance. Now I understand the demands of a parent. I'm a parent
myself, and I get it. It's hard to find spare time just to go to the bathroom. And you're putting
all your time and money and resources into your kids, and you keep sacrificing yourself and
yourself and yourself. And it's tough, especially if you're a single parent. It's incredibly
challenging. It's not impossible, but it is challenging. So you're not having the time or the
money to seek therapy for yourself. So what can you do? So the basic things there is no silver
bullet in all this. There's no easy shortcut,

but the things that we tend to forget about, but like the basics of self care. Are you sleeping
enough? Are you getting 8 hours of sleep a night? If you're getting 4 hours sleep a night, it's
hardly hard to feel balanced. Are you eating relatively healthy? I'm not a nutritionist. I
can't tell you exactly what to eat. But we kind of all know that less ice cream and more broccoli
is a pretty good way to go. Are you getting a moderate amount of some kind of physical activity?
Basically the core things here are once you get past those basic needs of am I getting enough
food or the right food? Sleep. Do you have interesting creative outlets in your life? Doesn't
have to be extravagant. Doesn't mean you have to go put your paintings in a gallery. Could be
just you drawing? Could be you doing a journal, could be you don't have to show anyone. But is
it something that helps you express your feelings? Also? Are you getting a healthy amount of
exercise? Could be just taking the dog for a walk a couple

of times a week. Doesn't have to be amazing, just something positive physical activity, positive
creativity, that helps us center ourselves a lot. Again, it's not about being good, especially
with creativity. Don't worry about being good. Good is not the point. It's just about doing
it in the process. Good can come later down the line. Make sure that you're connecting with people
who you trust, whether that's your friends, your extended family, maybe it's your religious
community or religious leaders or whoever that may be. People that you feel you can connect
to and relate and they can hear you and you can hear them have reciprocity in relationships.
These are all some basic things you can do. Another thing if you're handling all those things,
is breathing. Meditation. You can do that by yourself. Again, you don't have to be at a master
meditation to just sit and breathe and just be aware of your thoughts, let the thoughts go. And
if you are meditating I'm not a master of meditating, but

what has been described to me, and I've always held onto it, is it's not about clearing your mind
for extended period of time. Really experienced people can do that. Most of us can't do. That
what it really is. If you sit and you just focus on your breathing and every time your thoughts
go somewhere else, you recognize your thoughts there and then bring back to center. Now that's
going to be every 3 seconds. But that's the point of the work, is just to recognize I'm off center,
let me come back, let me come back. It's the coming back that's the work of meditation. Again,
there's much more elaborate ways you can do meditation, but if you're just kind of starting
out, that's a great way to do it. Just sit there for five minutes and listen to your breathing
or in your body, out of your body. And every time your brain goes somewhere else, work, kids,
whatever, recognize it's there and come back and just focus on the air going into your nose,
into your body and out. These are a few simple steps

you can do. Obviously find what works for you. What works for you may not work for the next person,
but if you keep searching and finding ways to do this, you will find what works for you. Socialization
creativity, physical activity, good nutrition, good sleep. And that will also help you be a better
parent to your child. That's our question for today. Thank you very much again. My name is Kent
Toussaint with Teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit Child and Teen Counseling. We love your
questions. Keep them coming in. If you want me to answer your question, email us at tips on
or you can direct message us right here on Facebook. Also, we have a Facebook group called Tips
on Teens. You can add yourself to that, and you're more likely to get these feeds when they come
in. Right away. Thanks again, and I'll see you guys next Wednesday. Bye.


So you say you don’t have the time and money for your own self care? We hear this from busy parents all the time. Focusing on your kids and being a parent is a lot of work. But the fact that you’re saying you don’t have resources to take care of your own emotional well being is a sign that something is out of balance. 

Self care for busy parents is challenging. Here’s the solution: do something. Anything! Even just a little! You don’t have to have the workout of all workouts for exercise to help you with your well being. You don’t have to create a masterpiece on canvas for a little bit of painting to soothe your soul. But you have to do something, and there’s no easy shortcuts or silver bullets.

Here are the basics areas of self care to focus on and address:

  • Are you sleeping enough?
  • Are you eating relatively healthy?
  • Are you getting enough physical activity?
  • Do you have any interesting creative outlets or any creative outlets in your life?
  • Are you connecting with anyone, other friends, parents, etc?

When it comes to self care, the solution will be different for everyone. What’s good for you might not work for someone else. It may take some trial and error to find the right formula. You have to start somewhere, and we try to get you going in the right direction in this Tips on Teens.

“My child has been in therapy for six months and it’s helping a great deal. At times, I feel like I need some help too, but I don’t have the time or money to seek therapy for myself. I’m wondering if there are any kinds of therapy techniques I can do myself. Can you suggest some self help strategies for me?”

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here –

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.