It’s wild that we live in a world where we have to schedule something like self-care, or at the very least remind ourselves that it’s absolutely necessary. In order to avoid caregiver burnout (yes, this is a real thing) we all could become a little more mindful in this area. Especially those caring for a child with medically complex needs. Moms, dads, and caregivers alike should be practicing self-care in order to keep a positive mindset and good health. Self-care is vital for being able to function from day to day and care for others.
Although it can be challenging to find the time for self-care, it is critical for your own health and well-being. While there is laundry piling up, dishes to be done, meals to be made, and perhaps other children to care for in addition to your medically fragile child, you still need time to focus on Y-O-U! Embrace self-care and know that by caring for yourself, you will be the BEST caregiver to every child who needs you.
If you’re like the majority of other parents, you probably live and breathe through your calendar. Keeping appointments and schedules organized helps us get through our busy days. What better way to ensure time for self-care than if it’s scheduled as a priority? When something is scheduled, the likelihood of it being achieved increases, and remember, we cannot care for others unless we take care of ourselves. So next time you sit down to look at your week or month ahead, make sure to remember yourself!
Self-care does NOT have to be costly or take too much time away from the home. You might be surprised to hear that self -care is anything that fills your preverbal cup. There are plenty of things that can be done at home that can help you immensely in avoiding caregiver burnout. However, when you do get the chance to head out of the house, we say, “Go. For. It.” we promise you won’t regret it. In the end, making the time to care for yourself is key!
Buddy Break is an absolute game changer for parents and caregivers of children with special needs (VIPs) here in Central Florida. Nathaniel’s Hope, a non profit, started Buddy Break as a FREE Parents’ Day Out/respite program where kids with special needs get to hang out and have fun while their parents get a much deserved BREAK!
Buddy Break welcomes VIPs (kids with special needs) ages 2-16 and their siblings who are in k4 – 5th grade. What is a VIP? VIPs are kids with special needs including those who have a physical, cognitive, medical, hidden disability, chronic or life threatening illness, or are medically fragile.
While Nathaniel’s Hope began in Central Florida, there are now locations across the United States that offer Buddy Breaks. Whether you need a break or would like to give someone a break click here for more information!
Due to social distancing and efforts to keep all VIPs, their families, and buddies safe and healthy Buddy Break has gone virtual for the time being. They are currently monitoring COVID-19 and following the recommendations of the CDC. Don’t worry, right now Buddy Break is just a click away, check out more information here!
It’s not necessary to leave your home to take care of yourself… so that can be marked off the list of excuses. We know it is nice to get out every once in a while, but there are plenty of things you can do right at home!
Is there a creative outlet you once enjoyed that you no longer do? This is probably true for every parent out there, but now is the time to get back at it, whether it is once a week or once a month… make the time. Need a little inspiration? Try one, or ALL of the ideas listed below.
Do you love a good cappuccino or latte but have little time or would rather not spend the extra money on fancy drinks? Make your own! There are some great machines available for purchase that will make a great morning pick me up right at home. Buy your favorite ground coffee beans and you are all set! So, whenever you need a coffee break, or just want a minute to relax and enjoy a good coffee, you are all set.
We’re not saying you need to run out and buy a gym membership unless you want to. We’re talking about getting active. Yes, you can exercise inside! Give yoga in your living room a try! Exercise is fantastic for both your mind and body!
Find a guided meditation to help you focus. The Calm app is a great app to download directly to your phone, and there is also a YouTube channel with Calm and other guided meditations to get you going. Meditation is not only a great stress releaser; it helps to calm anxiety in turn improving emotional health. Meditation is short and simple but makes a huge impact in self-care.
Perhaps you need a good soak in the tub once a week, surrounded by candles, a good magazine, and favorite beverage of choice. A bath always helps in alleviating stress as it literally just melts it away.
Read a new or favorite book. Finding the time to read a whole book can be challenging. Try scheduling 20 or 30 minutes of reading before bed and you will be done with the book in no time. The library is a great resource for checking out new books as well as a great place to find old classics.
Sometimes mindless tv watching is all that’s needed. It has a way of taking you away from your everyday life. Though it may be easy to sit and fold laundry and watch a show, known that is ok to sometimes just do nothing but watch something you enjoy.
Here are a few more ideas:
This can be a bit tricky. If you can barely make time for yourself at home, it can seem even more daunting to find time to leave the house. Just keep in mind that sometimes you NEED to get out to fully escape and just enjoy yourself. If your child is in school, pick one hour a week, or more, to dedicate to just you. If they are homebound, ask a family member, sitter, or caregiver for a time where you can leave to be on your own for an hour or two. Below are some ideas to take advantage of the first change you get.
Catch up in person with a friend or friends! Grab a coffee, lunch, or even plan a pool date if it’s sunny and warm. Being able to chat with friends and laugh and be silly is a great escape for your mind and soul.
Looking to find a more creative outlet? Many communities and local craft stores offer sewing or cake decorating classes, amongst other things. There are all types of classes held around town at different venues. You can literally Google anything you have an interest in and find a local class on it! When you sign up for a class, you are committing to that time just for you and that’s a great feeling. You do not need to be the best photographer or cake maker, but learning something new is always fun and can take your everyday stresses away.
Do you miss getting your nails done? A good pedicure? Or perhaps you yearn for a massage. Having someone pamper you is always a special treat, especially when one never takes time for those things. Make an appointment and go!
Grab a coffee or soda and wander around your favorite store. Nothing beats going to a store by yourself and sipping on your favorite drink. No one pulling on you or rushing you out of the store, just time for you to browse at your own leisure.
Here are a few more ideas:
Daily self-care is just as important as doing little things here and there that are fun and enjoyable. From first thing in the morning until bedtime there are activities that should be done to maintain good health. Daily things that we should all be mindful of doing are:
This Self-Care Check-In is a great little reminder of things to do. Take a picture on the phone or print it out for quick and easy reference!
Here at ChildrenFirst we know caring for a child with complex medical needs comes with unique challenges. With all of the things that you are doing for others, now is the time to take care of yourself. You cannot care for everyone else and put their needs consistently ahead of yours without it taking a toll. Give yourself the love and time needed for yourself and you will be a much better caregiver for those you love.