Self-care is one of the buzz words of 2017. And for good reason, it is important to make time for yourself. But we know better than most that practicing self-care is easier said than done. Families affected by disability live in an alternate normal that makes taking time for yourself a rare occurrence.
So how can you decompress when the world feels like it’s closing in on you? How are you supposed to treat yourself when you can barely take care of the people who need you?
I reached out to my colleagues at the Center for Family to see how they sneak in some self-care when they have no time or money to spare.
- Sleep. Sleep. Go to bed early whenever you can. Nap if possible. Sleep makes everything better.
- Coffee makes most things better.
- Chocolate, it needs no further explanation.
- Lock the bathroom door and steal a few extra minutes in the shower
- Cut corners where you can. Online shop. Frozen pizza. Rotisserie chicken.
- Say yes to offers of help. People are offering because they genuinely want to do something nice, not because they expect something in return
- Say no! Cut things out of your schedule when it’s wearing you down; even therapies and appointments.
- TV as a babysitter is a lifesaver sometimes.
- Take a walk, even if it’s just around the corner.
- Get as much babysitting as you can afford and go to the movies (even on a nice day)
- Take the kids to the movies and bring a pillow and ear plugs – let them nap.
- Caffeine is a must, especially if I’m picking the kids up after school. Before I pick them up, I turn on music and enjoy a soda. It’s about 15 minutes of “me time.”
- When I need to “check out” I put my headphones on and listen to a podcast while I clean the house, cook dinner, etc. I can still hear the kids if they need me. But I can also pretend I don’t. They see the headphones and know it’s time to leave mom alone.
- Ask your children to help you. Not for any other reason than you need help. Every moment doesn’t need to be a teachable one … which is ironically a lesson in and of itself.
- Put your headphones on and go for a walk or mow the lawn.
- Play music. Listening to music you love can easily improve your mood.
- Find ways to make the mundane more enjoyable. Watch your favorite show while folding laundry. Turn doing the dishes into a dance party with your kids.
- Download a book, hang an “enter at your own risk” sign on your door, and escape into the digital pages of a mystery, romance, sci-fi, or whatever sort of book you fancy.
- Do NOT feel guilty about letting someone watch your kids. If you have the chance or can create the opportunity for a night or weekend away without the kids – DO IT!
- Turn your haircut and/or color into an afternoon indulgence.
- Get a pedicure. Or at least paint your toes. It will lift your spirits.
- Eating healthy and drinking lots of water goes a long way in making your feel better and improving your mood.
- Just sit down and put your feet up.
What suggestions do you have for taking care of you?