Parenting can sometimes feel like a full-time job. This is even more so with the current pandemic. Between concerns about the uncertainty, preparing meals, bed and bath times, it can be hard to find time to switch off and look after yourself. Self-care is so important, but how do you manage to do it all? We have brought together five tips to maintain self-care while parenting a child with special needs.
Sometimes parenting can lead to the views and opinions from others outside of your immediate family. This might mean immediate family members, or strangers. Often these opinions are from people who do not have a child with special needs. It is easy to take such opinions to heart and feel you are doing something wrong. In these times, it is important to remember that your parenting a child with special needs varies. No child is the same, regardless if they have a diagnosis of autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy or general behaviour challenges. Due to this unique quality, there is no one right parenting style. It is important to remember that you are doing the best job for your child and your family. Acknowledging and accepting this will allow you to be kinder to yourself.
When parenting a child with special needs, you may have days where you have hundreds of things that you want to do. Sometimes, you will get through this extended list. This list may comprise of a range of things including laundry, washing, cooking dinner or taking the dog for a walk. However, there may be days that you don’t get through this list. In fact, while parenting a child with special needs, you may have days where your child needs your full attention and nothing on your list gets completed. When days such as this arise, it is important to remember that tomorrow is another day. There will be other days to get the list of tasks completed. Allowing for days such as this will allow you to put less pressure on yourself while parenting a child with special needs.
There is something about nature that has this ability to bring a feeling of calm and relaxation. This is the case for so many people. Spending time in nature has been proven to help with feelings of anxiety, depression, stress and fatigue. When you are able to go outside and see the clouds, trees and appreciate nature, it can really help improve your mood and bring a feeling of self-care. It can be difficult to find time to do this during lockdown. However, this can be as simple as sitting in the garden or on the balcony. A few minutes outside will do wonders.
Mindfulness is the act of bringing attention to the present moment without judgement or expectations. There is only ever the present moment. When there is so much uncertainty and confusion during lockdown, it is important to give a few minutes of mindful attention. This is not solely the case for parents of children with special needs, but for everyone. Taking a few minutes to sit in appreciation for the present moment can have a great beneficial effect. This may involve breathing exercises, a few minutes of meditation or just five minutes of quiet. Giving your self this time will help to promote self-care during lockdown.
Many people say laughter is the best medicine. It has been proven to reduce stress, relax the body and boost the immune system. There are many things that can bring a sense of laughter and joy. This can include your children, your family or your favourite television show. Taking the time to laugh and seeking things that bring a sense of laughter can help to promote self-care while parenting a child with special needs during lockdown.
I hope you enjoyed this list of tips for enhancing self-care. Please do let us know if you have additional tips to add to this list by contacting us
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