Written by: Dolores Alvarez, BCBA
It can be so easy to get wrapped up in focusing all your attention on your child’s well being that you forget or get too busy to take care of yourself. It is important to take the time to focus on your self-care, even if you start off with a five-minute break or one healthy snack a day. Here are some helpful tips to get you started with providing yourself that much needed self-care.
- Take time to start your day
- Eat breakfast or drink your coffee before the kids wake up.
- Make a list of your tasks for the day to help plan accordingly.
Note: By doing this, it can help center yourself, gather your thoughts and give you one less thing to worry about as you go throughout your day.
- Take a break/utilize respite care
- Don’t be afraid to get a babysitter. You can leave detailed notes about your child, have cameras to check in and start off with a short one-hour session until you feel comfortable with someone else watching your child.
- Take advantage of respite care that is typically offered by your local regional center, city or state.
Note: Just because you need time to yourself or to go have lunch with a friend does not mean you are a bad parent or care any less for your child. We all need a break sometime.
- Keep in touch
- Keep a good social group or social connection.
- Reach out and/or keep in touch with family and friends.
- Find a support group to connect with people that are in a similar situation as you.
Note: Having a good social network or connection can benefit your mental and physical health including reduction of depression and high blood pressure.
- Take care of yourself
- Exercise when you can, even if it is a light workout daily or meditate if that is more of your thing.
- Try eating healthy (even if you need a cheat day…or two).
- Don’t forget to do the things you love! By following tip #2 and #5 you can take that time to engage in those activities that bring you joy and help you relax.
Note: Improving your health and your body’s endurance can help you keep up with your children and feel better about yourself.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Remember sometimes family and friends don’t know when you may need help.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask, even if it’s only for a few hours.
Note: You may need help with going to the grocery store, decorating for a holiday or even with just watching your pets so you have one less thing to worry about. Even if it’s for that much needed (uninterrupted) bubble bath.
Remember you need to help yourself, both inside and out to be able to help those you love. If you need more resources reach out to your ABA provider or search other helpful resources online.