With all the chaos of life today it is so easy to forget about yourself. This can go double
(or triple!) for a parent of a child with Special Needs. As parents, boo boo we are consumed with making
sure our child's needs are met, their strengths are noticed and nurtured, and boo-boo
(physical as well as emotional) are addressed and taken care off. We will do anything for our
children and want nothing more than for them to feel loved and taken care of in all aspects of
their life. So the question that begs to be asked is do we love our children enough to make sure
we are practicing self-care in our own lives? If your giving to everyone in your family 24/7 then
how are you filling your cup up?
As a parent, I got caught up in the care of my child and would obviously harness the
moon for her if that’s what needed to be done. But I was tired. I stopped sleeping. I stopped
eating or binge ate. I stopped going anywhere if I didn’t have to, or made excuses to friends
and family to isolate in my home. I was empty inside and had no joy for life. I was severely
depressed and treated myself very poorly. And my daughter notice, oh did I she notice. This
strained our relationship so much, she would try so hard to make me smile and saw when I
would it was forced. This was not the kind of parent I wanted to be for her and I knew much
had to be done to revamp my life and help me find my passion and joy. That was exactly a year
and a half ago this week and our life is now a vessel for our joy, dreams, and love for ourselves.
But I see parents who are still in this hellish cycle and I want to reach out and give some ideas
for you to try out to help you start to fill your cup up and reignite your love for life and
remember what your dreams and wishes were. After all, we have this one life so how will you
I cannot advocate this enough. This is such a wonderful tool for relaxation, sleep, and
anxiety. There are so many sites and apps to help with this too! One of my favorites is Insight
Timer on the iPhone apps. There are hundreds of guided meditations for so many different
things as well are bells and music to help you relax. I started doing this to help with my anxiety
during very difficult times and I do it every night before bed. This is also a wonderful tool to
help your child to relax and fall into a very restful night for both of you.
What is your passion? What is something that you loved as a child to do, something
that set you apart? What feelings did that invoke in you? What feelings does it invoke now as
you reminisce about it? For me it's drawing, painting, writing. I had to get over the, “I’m not
perfect at this so why bother?” The fear of judgment is so strong, and some of us can come
from such a place of fear that we won’t even start. But if you don’t start how will you know
where you’ll go with it? Do you daydream about it? Then do it! If you can’t muster the
confidence to do it then I’ll believe in you enough until you can! Who's judging you? Tell that
little voice in your head that if they can’t play nice then they’ll need to sit this one out! Haters
How much are you getting, or not getting? Insomnia is something I’ve struggled with
since I was pregnant and continues today sporadically. But I’ve noticed, the less self-care I do
the more if will affect my sleep and what kind of sleep I’m getting. The amount of sleep we all
need is different, you'll know how much you need to be refreshed the next day.
This is such a wonderful stress reliever! Not only will it help your focus and clarity, but
helps with your sleep as well. We all know the benefits of it but I know I have slipped often
because it seemed like another chore to do. I mean, that TV wasn’t going to watch itself! But
the more consistently I did this the better I felt, slept, and had more energy for my daughter
and students. Oh, and I wasn’t nearly as grouchy!
I learned this from a therapist and have done it for years. It’s an amazing tool to get big
emotions and feelings out of our bodies. Sometimes our emotions can give such acute
physical pain that it can make life more difficult. I’ve found this to help with strong feelings, it also gives me an opportunity to flesh out ideas I didn’t realize were swimming around in my mind. This can also help with your children. I have a friend who she and her preteen daughter were having a very difficult time communicating verbally and fighting often. They started a journal that they would pass back and forth and this helped the other see what each one's needs were.
Getting back to Nature;
Giving ourselves permission to sit and enjoy the redwoods, close your eyes and listen
to the crash of the waves, the wind rustling the trees is one of the most precious gifts we can
give. Remembering that we are all a part of nature and really seeing it for the immense beauty it
has has a humbling effect and can be mesmerizing.
There are so many other things you can do to remember just how amazing your life is
and what a gift you are. And our kiddos see this! And what do you think is going through their
amazing brains as they watch you fulfilling your dreams and being good to yourself? It’s
showing them that they can too after all children will follow our actions and not our words.
Prove to them you love them so much that you're going to treat their parent like the amazing
human they are. Trust me, you’ll see the positive impact this has on them and the whole family.