Hello everyone! I want to ask all of my special needs parents and caregivers a question. Is there anything you do to take care of yourself? Better yet! All of my amazing mommies and daddies, do you practice self care? I know this phrase is being tossed around a lot lately and sounds very trendy. However, my person belief is that we need it. We deserve to be cared for as well. We can not pour everything out of ourselves and not be refilled.
Recently, I attended the Autism Society of Alabama’s Coffee Chat with the subject focusing around parent and caregiver Self Care. When the guest speaker, Blair Crooms, asked the room if we any of us create time for ourselves. Many said “No” and to be honest, until recently I had not either. When Blair asked why not, there were many very valid reason why not. Just a few of those were:
- to many responsibilities
- feeling guilty
- Not enough Time in the day
- Difficulties finding Child/Adult care
- Expectations personal and societal ( Super woman sound familiar anyone?)
Yes, all of these reasons are 100% true and valid. One woman, in particular, was the only caregiver in her home. She not only has one child with Autism, but two. Her oldest is 17 years old and the other is 3 years old. As she explained, it makes it very hard to meet both of their needs on a daily basis, let alone any personal needs.
With all of this being said, I still feel it is so important to carve out a small period of time for yourself. Even if it is only 5 minutes before bed to journal what you are grateful for that day. I was urged by Sean’s doctor, to take care of myself in order to better care for my family.
The first thing he told me to do for myself, was to start taking a daily vitamin. That is something simple you can do for yourself as well. We, as a collective, have to keep our bodies healthy to keep up with everyone else. The next thing I did was start a journal. I had no idea what to write or when I was going to write. If your like me, I suggest starting small and just write the things your thankful for. That is a journal entry that does not take up a lot of time and it really helps transform your mindset if you find yourself in a more stressful place. Affirmations are another great think to write. For example all you have to write is “I am enough. I am strong. I am loved.” Watch your thoughts change in just a week!
What are some other things you can do? Self care is finding the small things that bring you joy. I know most of us think it means leaving the house for a spa day or a vacation. ( which is not a bad idea either! if you have the time and money to do that!) In all honesty though, it can be very simple things that brighten your day!
- while cleaning house, Turn on your favorite music, sing, and dance!
- exercise (dancing while cleaning most definitely qualifies) walk, run, yoga, etc
- take a Epsom salt bath (its like a spa day)
- read a book
- go to church or practice any form for spirituality you prefer
- meditate for 5 minutes
- join a support group
- paint your nails
- feed your body as healthfully as you can
- a creative hobby like painting, sewing, photography
What does self care look like to you? There are no rules. Leave a comment below and let me know if you practice self care or if you do not. I love hearing from all of you. Do not forget to find my on Instagram @gulfcoastmommy and Facebook at Gulf Coast Mommy. I try to keep everyone update with things happening in my area and try to inspire you to live a happy healthy life.
Katlyn ~ Gulf Coast Mommy