“One of my biggest flaws is that I don’t take enough time for myself.” Does this phrase resonate with you? Especially if you are a special needs mom, you probably recognize that you don’t take enough time to care for yourself. So when you actually do take the time for yourself, you feel guilty that you aren’t giving more to your home or family with said time.
Never fear, special needs mamas. We need just as much self-care time, if not more than more typical families. WE NEED THE BREAK. Period. Not only do we deal with the every day struggles that all walks of life experience, but we have some unique obstacles to face and lifestyles to maintain. We have a lot of extra stipulations to our lives that other people don’t even have to consider in their own. So don’t you EVER feel guilty for taking some time for yourself. In fact, you should strive to do so every day. Granted, it may not be for long periods of time, but you need to block out a segment dedicated just to loving yourself.
1. Schedule your time.
Not only will having a schedule help alleviate some of your tensions and worries throughout the day, you’ll also be able to see where you can fit in all of your extra responsibilities to work, family, or yourself. Schedule a time just for you, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day. YOU SHOULD SPEND A MINIMUM OF 15 MINUTES A DAY ON SELF-CARE.
2. Pick your favorite activities.
Does a shower alone set you free? Maybe a few minutes of yoga, or just some noise cancelling headphones with the latest hip-hop beats (or whatever you’re into)? Whether it’s hitting the gym, or hitting the sheets for a quick snooze, do something that you enjoy, and take the time to enjoy it. It doesn’t have to be anything big, just focus on your little slice of happiness.
3. Plan ahead.
Make sure everyone knows who is in charge of the kid(s), and that they have the ball for the duration of your time away. I know a lot of us relied on schools that are not currently an option in the era of COVID, and many of us do not have partners to hand the ball to. You can get creative in these times. Maybe turn the kid’s favorite television show on while you listen to music or read? If your kid is anything like mine, they’ll be fascinated with watching you do yoga (but you still need a plan B in place with Riley Bear). If you’ve got a kid you can’t leave alone during your time in the shower, put in a play pen, swing, bouncer, beanbag chair, pallet of pillows, whatever. Couple it with an ipad, a snack, and a few toys? Golden. (Need more ideas? tag me on Instagram @mypinkjansport and ask me what other ideas I’ve got!)
4. Don’t brush it off.
I don’t care if you’ve had the day from hell that started with screaming at 3 AM and ended with vomit on the carpeted stairs. You. Fit. In. Those. 15. Minutes. Or. More. You JUST DO IT. Why? Your body and sanity will thank you. Your family may not say it, but they will be thankful that the mama took some time to ground herself every day. It makes you think more clearly, it makes you feel better about yourself, it helps in so many other ways. If you only prioritize three things in a day (like I do on my bad mental health days), make one of those things self-care.
5. Enjoy it.
Yeah, I’m gonna need you to stop worrying about all of the other things you think you should be doing instead of self-care. You planned this out for a reason. Even if your schedule gets switched around, you’ve already prioritized this time for yourself. Let yourself have it. Feel it. Take deep breaths, and count backwards from five with each breath. Close your eyes and envision your happiness, remember the way that you want to feel, and then let yourself have it.