by MindJournal - 4 min read
Becoming a dad is one of life’s major milestones. But let’s be real, parenthood also comes with its own special set of stresses: sleepless nights, financial pressure and poo. A lot of poo.
Even though it may seem like the right thing to do, putting your own needs to one side for the next 18 years is almost guaranteed to have a negative impact on your health.
In other words, if you want to take better care of your family, you need to take better care of yourself.
Not sure where to begin? MindJournal spoke to five dads who have been there, done it and got the questionably stained T-shirt to find out how the experts stay on top of their wellbeing.
Find Your Tribe
Charlie Dark – Founder, Run Dem Crew
Whatever you do, don’t allow fatherhood to make you old before your time. It’s good to grow up eventually, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun. Reconnect with a teenage passion – it could be skateboarding, roller skating, shooting hoops, footie or whatever. They generally come with a tribe and a sense of belonging, be it in the physical or an online forum. It can be isolating being a dad and the pressure of responsibility can be overwhelming at times. I may not be able to ollie as high, but skating keeps me young and the smile stays beaming. A smiling and happy dad is a superhero dad.
Talk About The Tough Stuff
JC – Co-Founder, Movember Foundation
It’s really important to remember is that it’s okay to not be okay. Becoming a dad is one of the most life-changing things a man can go through, and it doesn’t come with a rulebook. You will make mistakes, probably more than your kids will, but be kind to yourself and always check in with your mates. Be honest, and don’t be afraid to talk about the tough stuff.
Look After Yourself
Jamie Millar – Contributing Editor, Men's Health
When my wife and I were going to NCT classes, the woman running them said something to the dads that's always stuck with me: "If you don't look after yourself then you can't look after anyone else." Remember that self-care isn't selfish. Don’t forget to fill up your own cup.
Track Your Moods
Michael Townsend Williams – Founder, Do Breathe
Though it might not seem like it at times, there’s so much you can learn from your children and apply to your own inner child (trust me, we all have one). Children are very good at knowing how they feel and vocalising what they want from others. Parenting your inner child by paying attention to your moods and slowing down when you’re tired, will ultimately make you a better Dad. Ignoring your inner child won't.
Make Time To Move
Rob Kemp – Author, Dadding It! Landmark Moments In Your Life As A Father... And How To Survive Them
A useful physical tip for new fathers to employ – which will help stave off the ‘dad bod’ and prevent injuries is to do strength building exercises such as press-ups and deep squats every day. Just a few drills like this will build lower and upper body strength and work the core muscles – around the stomach and lower back. You will be engaging these muscles more as you lift and carry your new baby and all their accessories so it pays to ensure you're fit for fatherhood.