Being a parent can be challenging in itself, but looking after and nurturing a child with special needs can present a whole different set of challenges and responsibilities - that’s why it’s paramount to allow some time to care for yourself too, so you can better serve and care for those around you.
It’s important to make self-care a priority, it doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive, there are small ways to incorporate micro-moments that add up and make a big difference when it comes to your wellbeing.
Here’s 6 way to incorporate some regular self-care into your life:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Sometimes as parents we think we need to do it all, but delegating tasks and getting support is one of the best ways to care for ourselves. We don’t have to do it all or alone for that matter. Sometimes we simply need to identify the areas we’re struggling in, make a list and create awareness around where we could use little extra support.
Order your shopping online, have it delivered or ask a support person to collect it for you
Use a meal prep delivery company, take the hard work out of planning meals and have all your nutritional needs taken care of
Hire a cleaner when and where possible or ask loved ones to help around the house Have the courage to accept help when it’s offered
Take time to move your body, find a form of exercise you enjoy
Exercise is one of the best ways to boost your sense of happiness, reduce anxiety and stress. Find what works for you, pop on a 15 minute routine on YouTube, take yourself out for a walk or put on your favourite song and dance it out.
As little as 10-15 minutes a day can make a difference to how we feel and can go a long way when it comes to our physical and emotional wellbeing.
Incorporate some deep belly breathing
Breathing is one of our best resources when it comes to calming our nervous system and it’s available to us 24/7!
Deep belly breathing is something we can incorporate anywhere, while we’re doing the dishes, folding laundry, siting it traffic.
Box breathing is a good technique to try out and play around with, it involves what’s known as four-square breathing:
Breathe in counting to four slowly, feel the air enter your lungs. Hold the breathe for a count of four seconds.
Slowly exhale through the mouth for a count of four seconds.
Repeat steps one to three until you notice calm restored and sense of being centred again. There are many more breathing techniques you can explore on the internet.
Ground yourself in nature
Many studies have found walking barefoot on the grass can help improve your sense of wellbeing, reduce negativity, calm your mind, boosts brain power, heart rate variability and stabilises circadian rhythms of the body, making for a better nights sleep.
So when it’s possible, take 5 minutes out of your day to slip off your shoes and visit the backyard, enjoy the many benefits of earthing!
Focus on a getting enough sleep
Sleep hygiene plays a big part in how we feel, if we don’t get enough it interferes with our ability to cope, our decision making and mood.
Create a ritual before bed that helps you unwind, whether it’s limiting screen time, having a warm bath or shower, reading a book or watching something funny, find what helps you to let go of the day.
There are some fantastic apps which help to promote better sleep, like the calm app, Insight Timer or Headspace.
Find a support group
It’s important to connect with like-minded people, that understand some of the daily struggles you may be facing. Just having someone to confide in or empathise with makes a world of difference when it comes to some of the pressures that may be presented. It’s nice to find your tribe and those people that will help get you through when it’s feeling a little hard. As humans we’re born to connect, gather those people, find support groups and build your support networks.
At the end of the day we’re only doing the best we can with what we know, taking care of ourselves, allowing ourselves grace and compassion through the parenting journey goes a long way. Give yourself permission to pause, to tend to your wellbeing, because your self care matters too.