Submitted by Sandra Brownsey, Ellenville Program Coordinator
If you’ve ever flown on a plane, you’ve heard the flight attendant give the instruction, “Be sure to put your oxygen mask on first before helping those around you.” While this might seem obvious, as parents we tend to put ourselves last. More so, parents of children with special needs know there is added extra stress, and so self-care becomes even more essential.
Writer and Life Coach, Heather Plett writes a blog on self-care and believes all parenting necessitates caring for your primary vehicle: yourself. “If you don’t want to find yourself stranded and broken down at the side of the road on one of the most challenging journeys of your life, you’d better take good care of yourself.”
Every parent has their own route to self-care. Still, there are road maps to this destination that we can follow. Here at Spectrum Services our Parent Groups, Parents’ Night Out, and Support Group are just a few stops a parent can make on the journey to caring for yourself.
In addition, here are a few suggestions to further consider for self-care:
- Embrace movement: Exercise It’s good for your body, improves mood and make you feel good.
- Find Your Peeps: Find and develop a group of friends that can support you where you are at now.
- Breathe Deep: Breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness.
This important self-care does not necessarily consist of spending the day at a spa, or even requires a babysitter. It can be done in small pockets of time throughout the day by doing little things that can make a big difference. An unrushed shower, a nap, a full episode of you favorite Netflix show, or even leaving the sink full of dishes to get a longer night sleep are examples. Remember, you can only help others with their “mask” when yours is on, and oxygen fully flowing. What have you done for YOU lately?