You work hard every day. Taking care of your child with a disability can be rewarding but challenging. This is a job where you are never able to "clock out." This job is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So there comes a time that you need to stop and give back to yourself. There are several different ways to do this without having to spend a lot of money.
1.Getting some fresh air is a quick and easy way to get a short break. Step outside. Take a short walk. Breathe in the fresh air. Look at nature. This is a very calming activity that is quick and easy to access.
2.Listening to music works well for some. Download some of your favorite tunes on your phone or MP3 player. Make sure everyone is safe, then put your headphones on and turn the music up. You can sing. You can dance. Whatever gives you the break that you need in the moment.
3.If you are crafty, create a craft room. Set up a small table, chair, and all your craft materials. When you can, go to the room and get lost in your crafts. This will give you a mental break from what you normally are thinking about. If it is better to have the area where you can still see your child, put the table and chair in the corner of a room. Have the craft supplies in a safe area until you are ready to use them.
4.Reading is another great way to take a break. Sometimes doing a little bit of research on a new diagnosis will calm you and give you a break from hands-on caring. Take a few minutes to read books that you enjoy. Read for fun - whether it be about your hobby or a good drama. Whatever you prefer will work.
5.Journaling is another great way to relax. Expressing thoughts in writing helps release emotions and document things we want to remember. Seeing what you feel and experience on paper helps to assess and evaluate.
6.Respite care is also a great resource for busy parents. You can find respite care services in your community on this website under Find Services, Groups, and Events. There are also private agencies that offer respite care.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to take care of yourself. This will ensure that you can be the best parent and caregiver to your child with a disability – and any other children in your home. And if you’re married, self-care will help you be a more connected spouse.
I hope these ideas help with getting the short break that I know we all desperately need at times.
You can get more information on Self Care for Parents of Children with Disabilities on this website.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.