5 Realistic Self-care Tips for Moms of Special Needs Children
Being a mom for a child with different needs requires an extra dose of emotional resilience and can be overwhelming sometimes if it's not most of the time. This should make self-care a necessity for you and not a luxury. You need to pause and ask yourself questions like "when was my last 'me' time?", "do I need extra support?", "how am I feeling today?". Every day you choose everyone around before 'you' making self-care at the bottom of your list or maybe not even on the list.
But if you don't dedicate 'me' time for yourself, you may be doing more harm than good for yourself and your family. You need to find the strength and power to navigate through stress and exhaustion to avoid burnout and be able to give more to your special needs child. So, here are some 'realistic' ideas to get you started because let's be practical it's not that easy to find time for yourself.
1. Have 30 minutes of 'me' quality time every day
Make 30 mins every day when you can disconnect and do something that feels relaxing to you. It can be as simple as enjoying a cup of coffee or tea when watching your favorite show. This may sound simple, however many moms of children with special needs are always on duty that they don't even have 30 minutes per day for themselves. You can also find a new hobby or restart an old one and practice it in those 30 minutes. Be consistent, and make the 30 minutes of 'me' time a daily ritual.
2. Find your tribe
Find the community which will connect to your struggles, support your efforts as a busy mom for children with special needs, celebrate your daily victories, and motivates you to keep going. Facebook is an amazing place for finding groups for parents of children with special needs who are in similar situations and can exchange ideas or even just share challenges and success tips with you. Check out the Facebook group of Special Needs Parents Support & Discussion Group here.
3. Exercise as if your life depends on it
When you exercise you not only benefit your body but also improve your mood, clear your mind, your sense of well-being increases, and you take control over your life. You don't need to run a marathon (well, running a marathon is definitely a brilliant idea!) but you can start with baby steps like just going for a walk every day. If you can't go outside, try Workout for Women: Fitness App which has workouts that ranges from 7 to 25 mins depending on your schedule. So, move your body every single day and you will feel the difference.
4. Meditate for 5 minutes a day
Being a mom of a special needs child can make you experience high levels of stress, anxiety and in some cases depression. Meditation can help you connect to your inner soul, and later on, take control over your thoughts, and emotions. You only need 5 to 10 minutes a day to disconnect, clear your mind and let go of things that you can't control. It's a magical tool to help you to slow down amidst your busy day and recharge. There are many free mobile apps that can remind you to meditate and guide you through your meditation journey. Check out Calm app.
5. Keep a journal
What you're going through is far from easy and simple. Try to write down your feelings or even sketch them as a means of self-expression, and letting go of daily tension. Also, imagine looking back at your journal ten years from now. You will definitely be proud of all the fears that you've conquered, daily small wins, the lives you touched, friends you've made along the process, and working hard every day to be your best self. Isn't that cool and rewarding? Keep a journal, and make from your journey a best seller book.
Set boundaries and learn to say “no.” Taking time for yourself will not only do you good but helps you to give "more" to your special needs children.
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