This blog has been prepared for our readers by Chrissy Sunberg, M.Ed., AAC, our In-Home ADHD Coach and Special Education Teacher. She encourages parents to be kind to yourselves, as we bust our butts each day to manage the multiple aspects of work, life, family, school, activities, friendships, and all the other details of daily life.
Let's hear it for the mother's and father's that work hard each day and night so that their children with learning differences can succeed socially, academically and emotionally. This one is for you. But, in the midst of your everyday life management, how are you taking care of yourselves and recharging your batteries so that you don't burn out? I'm sure you did the laundry so that your daughter can have her uniform ready for her third game this week. And I know you will be there cheering her team on. I'm sure you took time out of your day to write another e-mail to the occupational therapist, touched base with the ADHD coach and I'm pretty sure you even had a meeting at the school with your son's teachers. Oh wait a minute, you also went to work today!
This is just an average day for a parent that has a child with learning differences. It can be exhausting, leaving you with no time to care for YOU. When I ask my clients, "If you can have just one thing, what would it be?" They all said, "more time in the day to take care of myself!"
A few years ago I decided to practice self-compassion. Self- compassion is giving ourselves the same kindness and care we'd give to a good friend or a family member.
So, I started practicing yoga and thus began the journey of self-compassion. At first, I felt guilty because I was no longer up and right there in the kitchen ready to take everybody's orders on a Sunday morning. I got over that quickly and Sunday mornings are NOW my mornings to practice self-compassion. It makes me a better mom and wife.
Give yourself permission to meet your own needs, recognizing that this will not only enhance your quality of life; it will also enhance your ability to be there for those that rely on you, according to Dr. Kristen Neff, author of Self-Compassion.
"Before you assist others, always put your oxygen mask on first.”
This above sentence resonates with me. The flight attendants encourage you to secure your oxygen mask first. If you don’t, you and the person you want to help could both go down. You can start practicing self-compassion and taking care of yourself little by little each day. Read below for some ideas on practicing self-compassion. Remember this is an invitation to read on, and not an obligation.
1. Treat Yourself Like your Best Friend
Practice positive self-talk. Some examples are, I am enough, like any human being, I have strengths and weaknesses, and that's ok, and I give myself the gift of unconditional love.
2. Comfort your Mind & Body
Eat something healthy and drink your favorite cup of tea. Lie down and rest while watching a feel-good movie. Take a walk or practice yoga. Anything you can do to improve how you feel physically gives you a dose of self-compassion.
3. Schedule your Wellness & Self-Care Appointments
When you leave your next doctor, hair, nail or massage appointment, schedule the next one and add it to your calendar so it’s sure to happen.
4. Set Boundaries on What and How Much You Can Handle
The great power of the two letter word NO! Its ok to say no to your children, your husband, your parents and your friends.
Remember you can't pour from an empty cup so go fill up your cup with something tasty and enjoy taking care of yourself.
Dr. Liz Matheis
Dr Liz Matheis and her team specialize in assisting children and their families with Anxiety, Autism, AD/HD, Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Struggles