Self care is often misunderstood as being selfish. And as a parent to a child with a disability, sometimes self care is the absolute last thing on my mind. I’m too busy focusing on physical therapies sessions, ordering prosthetic leg liners, petitioning insurance companies, juggling multiple specialist appointments, and generally just trying to keep my kiddo alive and well.
Who has time for self care? Not this girl.
When life as a mom get hectic, it’s essential to make sure your mental and physical health stay a priority by practicing self care.
2. Set Boundaries.
Setting boundaries is key to making sure we have enough time for self care as moms. Boundaries set the parameters to keep us on track towards maintaining our well being and making sure that all the other demands on our time do not derail us from taking care of our own needs.
3. Incorporate it into your daily routine.
- Take 5 minutes to do some mindfulness. Set a timer and gently close your eyes for five minutes. Focus on your breath and notice any thoughts that come in. This short break can be a great way to ground yourself and connect with your needs throughout the day. I tend to do this early in the morning before the chaos of the day starts.
- Stretch at your desk. Taking even a few seconds to stretch your body can do wonders for loosening up tense muscles and encouraging relaxation throughout the day.
- Make time for a good breakfast. While this may seem like a luxury, starting off your day with a healthy and nutritious breakfast can give you the energy you need to hit the ground running. I love a good egg scramble or a watermelon mint smoothie.
- Get outside for some fresh air. Even just stepping outside for a few minutes can give you an opportunity to clear your mind and gather your thoughts. I’ve incorporated “walking” breaks into my day where I take a call or a meeting and walk during it. This keeps me moving and the blood flowing!
4. Find a support system.
Having a network of family, friends, and colleagues can be a great source of support and encouragement. This is especially true if you’re a parent to a child with a disability. It can often be hard to find time and energy to take care of yourself, and having a network of people who understand and are willing to offer support can be a great way to ensure that you’re able to practice proper self-care.
- Ask for help. It can be hard to admit that you need help, but that’s ok. It’s important to acknowledge your vulnerability and reach out to people you trust when you need help. I struggle with this so much–but I know I have to ask for help and have a realistic expectation that I can’t do everything on my own.
- Join a local parent group or online group. You will meet other parents in your area who share similar experiences. Not only will this provide you with peers who understand what you’re going through, it also creates opportunities to exchange tips and advice about parenting.
- Make self-care a group activity. When possible, invite friends or family members to join you in activities that bring you joy. This can be anything form a workout class at the gym to getting a manicure with friends – the key is to do something that will help you unwind and feel refreshed.
5. Seek professional help when needed.
Seeking professional help when needed is an important part of practicing self-care, especially for busy moms. If you are feeling overwhelmed or have experienced a traumatic event, such as a disability diagnosis or a NICU stay, you may need more extensive help than what your network of family and friends can provide.
- Know your needs: Identify and understand the emotional, physical, and mental challenges you are facing and determine what kind of assistance you need in order to manage them.
- Research your options: Once you know what kind of help you need, research the available professionals in your area. Make sure to look at reviews and ask for referrals from trusted sources.
- Make a list of questions: Come up with a list of questions you want to ask a potential therapist during your initial consultation. This will help you evaluate whether or not the therapist is the right fit for you.
- Communicate your needs: Before starting any form of therapy, make sure to communicate your needs and ensure that the therapist is able to address them.