Thriving Together Series

Thriving Together Series: How Working Parents Can Prioritize Well-Being


By: Kye Hopkins, Assistant Director, Student Success Coaching, and Well-Being Professional Intern, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

“To be a good parent, you need to take care of yourself so that you can have the physical and emotional energy to take care of your family.” – Michelle Obama

Working parents need to prioritize our well-being as we juggle of work and family life, where growing children’s needs and concerns constantly collide with those of their parents. As a working father, I know how important it is to strike a balance between our work life and everyday living. Doing so is necessary for maintaining good health and joy. Time management, stress management, and self-care are all important for maintaining well-being while dealing with the pressures of career and family. Here are some strategies for working parents to prioritize well-being in our busy schedules.

Time Management Strategies

The key to effective time management is prioritizing tasks. We can maintain focus and productivity by distinguishing high-priority responsibilities from others. The best way to achieve that is by setting realistic goals and considering the demands of work and home.

Whether within the household or through outsourcing, working parents will benefit from delegating responsibilities off our shoulders. Also, we need to set clear boundaries with our schedules. We can do so by designating specific times for work and family and trying to stick to them as much as possible.

Stress Management Strategies

Mindfulness meditation is a powerful way to fight stress and build concentration. I recommend taking regular mindful breaks during the workday to help balance. Actively recovering from our work times can ensure rejuvenation and continued productivity.

Physical exercise is a good stress reliever, as well. It benefits both the body and mind. I personally enjoy going to the gym to help with my overall well-being. While finding time for physical activity as a working parent can be challenging, it is crucial for maintaining good health and managing stress. 

Self-Care Strategies

The well-being of working parents depends on our recognition that self-care is essential. According to the Child Mind Institute, “To avoid burnout, it’s important for parents to take care of their own needs. That includes getting enough sleep and exercise, drinking enough water and spending time away from your child. Parents sometimes feel like they have to do everything by themselves, but getting help from other people is crucial.”

Seeking support from others is helpful for working parents. It is common for parents to feel like we have to do everything. I am personally guilty of that. But accepting assistance from family, friends, or childcare providers can help with incorporating self-care into our lives and provide a much-needed balance. I remind myself each day to make it a priority to pursue some sort of self-care.

These key self-care practices have helped me cope well with time and stress pressures.:

  • Sleep: Sleep is important. Cognitive function and emotional resilience are enhanced by good quality sleep.
  • Health: As a foundation of health, promote healthy eating habits and prioritize exercise.
  • Relationship: Build strong relationships. Cultivate social connections with co-workers, friends, and family for a strong support network.

Everything is a work in progress when we are balancing our lives. Work and parenthood can be challenging. But with any challenge, the more we strategize and manage the issue, the more that can help us succeed – even as we deal with challenges. Even when we don’t have a lot of time available to us, we can still incorporate self-care into our lives.

This article provides great timed examples of how to incorporate self-care when we feel there is not enough time in the day. Using these techniques can help with maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

We working parents will achieve well-being when we are optimistic about life and enjoy each day to the fullest. Taking good care of ourselves – no matter how busy we are – is a vital part of doing so.

Additional Resources

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