We see it all the time, don’t we? A stressed-out daddy. An overworked grandparent. An exhausted mom. Parents give and give and give. Caregivers work and work and work. It seems a parent’s work is never done. And often, we forget to take care of ourselves.
It is important to take good care of ourselves so that we can keep caring for our loved one. We should take steps to care for ourselves each day or each week.
If you are a parent caring for a child with a disability, taking time to do some of the following or something similar, might be helpful.
Get some fresh air. Get outside when you can. A little sunshine and some fresh air can refresh your mood. Sit on a bench. Have a picnic at the park. Sit on the back porch. Take time to smell the flowers.
Find a hobby you enjoy. Find friends who enjoy the same hobby. Quilting, painting, scrapbooking, reading, and gardening are examples of hobbies that might be fun for you. Be sure to schedule regular time for your hobby.
Exercise. Doctors tell us all the time about the importance of exercise. Find something you enjoy. Walking, jogging, biking, and hiking are great outdoor activities. You can stretch or do yoga. Put some music on and just dance. Move your body and get your heart rate up. Even a little bit will help.
Pamper yourself. Do you love a massage or a pedicure? Schedule one for yourself now and then.
Get some respite. It’s important to take a break now and then. Find someone to care for your loved one while you take a break. Find a local organization that offers respite. Take a look at the Find Services, Groups & Events page on this website for respite resources. Then spend time doing something you enjoy.
Try meditation. You can sit quietly and think about your breathing. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Deep breaths are good medicine for your mind and body; holding your breath for 8 seconds makes your heart rate automatically slow down. You can dim the lights and listen to soft music. Take 5 minutes when you can. Take 20 minutes when life allows. Your body will thank you for sitting quietly and just breathing.
It’s important for us to take care of ourselves. Taking care of yourself makes it possible for you to care for others. Give it a try - start with 5 minutes a day! Then go for 10 minutes! So, you get the idea, right?