Healthy Stepparenting #3: Take Care of Yourself Spiritually, Physically, and Emotionally

As we talk about how we adjust to our stepparenting role, I always think about taking care of ourselves. Stepparenting can be a demanding role with few rewards, especially in the beginning. If we take care of ourselves first, we will then have more energy to take care of others.

There are a lot of ways to take care of ourselves and different people have different needs. For our spiritual needs, it’s helpful to be involved with a fellowship of believers where we can study the Bible together and fellowship with one another. We also need our own personal time of study and prayer to grow spiritually.

For our physical needs, it’s important to set aside time to exercise regularly. I find I’m more consistent with exercise when I take part in activities I enjoy and have some accountability with others. My husband and I enjoy running with a group through our church, RockRunners. It allows fellowship with others while meeting our goals of exercising regularly.

Emotional needs need to be dealt with also. We often ignore these needs until we reach a crisis point and are not coping well. Recharging ourselves emotionally might include going to lunch with a friend or getting away for a few days with our spouse. As we reflect on the demands of our stepfamily and changes taking place, we are better able to address specific needs and how to meet them. When we’re caught up in the middle of day-to-day challenges without a healthy escape every now and then, we end up overwhelmed and frustrated with each other.

Taking care of ourselves spiritually, physically and emotionally requires effort to identify our needs and find appropriate ways to meet them. But as we work toward that goal, we will then find we have more to offer in our marriage and parenting roles.

“I am the only one who can make my well-being my top priority. I owe it to myself to pay attention to the needs of my body, mind, and spirit.”
Courage to Change
by Al-Anon Family Groups

4 Responses to “Healthy Stepparenting #3: Take Care of Yourself Spiritually, Physically, and Emotionally”

  1. 1 Anonymous January 24, 2010 at 12:06 am

    Gayla, thank you for the sound advice to care for ourselves as a first priority mentally, physically and spiritually to enable us to healthfully care for the ones we love.I had a realization yesterday having received results from a hearing test where (praise) my hearing is fine. My wife and young son often doubt my ability to hear as I daily like to obtain news from the newspaper and readily tune them out. I have been blessed with a wonderful family that I must stay tuned into. I can set the paper aside which can be picked up again. It does not know the difference and will not provide feedback. 🙂

  2. 2 Step Parenting with Grace January 24, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    I think it's good for all of us to remember to take care of ourselves first and everything else will fall in place. I'm glad you found the information helpful.Gayla

  3. 3 Anonymous January 26, 2010 at 2:43 am

    Gayla, self care is so important for all of us, and even more so as one ventures into the stresses of a step family. While different people respond to different things, care for the body, soul and spirit is essential to long term success. I found massage and tai chi to help me, as did centering prayer and lectio divina. Eating healthy foods is fundamental. I would appreciate hearing about other ideas or techniques that you or your clients find useful.

  4. 4 Step Parenting with Grace January 26, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Thank you for your comments. I will address other ways we can take care of ourselves in future posts.

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