Self-care is something that everyone should be prioritizing in their life. This is especially true if you are a parent of a child or children with special needs. Taking time for ourselves can be challenging when we are constantly juggling appointments, therapies, and other responsibilities that come with raising a child with special needs. But it’s important to prioritize self-care, not only for our own well-being but also for the benefit of our children.
Self-care is something I can struggle with. I feel pulled in so many different directions, and I’m often on the brink of exhaustion, with little or no energy to spare. That said, I really try to push myself because I know how important it is. The alternative is burnout. For those unfamiliar with what burnout is, let me help you. Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that can occur when someone provides continuous care and support for a loved one who is ill, elderly, or has a disability. It can manifest as feelings of overwhelm, stress, fatigue, and a sense of loss of personal identity or social isolation.
Caregiver burnout is not fun, and I know this because I’ve been there a few times before, and I’m currently working my way out of it again. It is important for caregivers to take care of themselves in order to prevent burnout and maintain their own well-being. Self-care is so important in the battle against burnout. It truly can’t be overstated.
Exercise is another crucial aspect of self-care. Working out helps us maintain physical health and boosts our mental well-being. Exercise helps us reduce stress, feel more energized, and increase our overall happiness. It’s important to find an exercise routine that works for us. This could include things like going for a walk, doing yoga, or lifting weights. The most important thing is to find something that we enjoy and can incorporate into our daily routine.
For me personally, the bulk of my self-care comes in the form of exercise. Exercise benefits me not only physically but mentally as well. It can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression and increase our energy levels and overall sense of well-being. However, finding the time and energy to exercise can be challenging. I feel like if I find the time, I don’t have the energy or vis-versa. Working out is something I must implement in my daily self-care routine and help manage my ADHD symptoms, so I make the time. As for the lack of energy, I’ve been doing better in that area lately, but there are times I’m really dragging.
I’d been hearing about pre-workout supplements forever but never tried them myself. I am familiar with things like protein powder cause I use it in my smoothies daily. Recently, I decided to give pre-workout a try, and after some research, I settled on Naked Energy.
Naked Energy by Naked Nutrition is a pre-workout supplement designed to give you extra energy and focus before your workout. It contains things like natural caffeine from green tea and other ingredients, such as beta-alanine and L-arginine, which can help improve endurance and reduce fatigue. While I don’t personally get a huge energy boost because of the whole stimulant and ADHD thing, it does help me focus and get through my workouts. My endurance is greater, and I definitely notice the difference when I don’t take it prior to my workouts. Seems like a win to me.
Exercise is so important, and even though I have to drag myself to the gym on some days, I always walk away afterward feeling so much better.
In addition to exercise, there are other self-care practices that special needs parents can incorporate into their daily routine. Taking time for ourselves, whether it’s reading a book, going for a walk, or enjoying a hot bath, can help reduce stress and improve our overall well-being.
One of the most crucial aspects of self-care is sleep. When we don’t get enough sleep, it can affect our physical and mental health. It’s important to create a bedtime routine and stick to it as much as possible. This routine could include things like reading a book, taking a warm bath, or meditating. It’s also important to make sure our sleeping environment is comfortable and conducive to sleep. I know how hard that is with special needs kids, but we must prioritize this. I’m actually recording an episode for the Special Needs Ohio podcast next month, all about sleep hygiene. I’ll share that when it drops.
Nutrition is also an essential component of self-care. Eating healthy, whole foods is important for maintaining energy levels and overall well-being. It’s important to fuel our bodies with nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is also important for physical and mental health. I struggle with hydration, so I have multiple reminders set, so I don’t forget to drink water throughout the day.
Look, at the end of the day, self-care is about taking time for ourselves. It’s easy to feel guilty or selfish for taking time away from our responsibilities, but self-care is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. Scheduling time for ourselves on our calendars can help us prioritize self-care and make it a regular part of our routine.
It’s important to remember that taking care of ourselves isn’t selfish – it’s necessary. If you’re stuck on feeling selfish, look at it like this. Sometimes we have to be selfish before we can be selfless. By prioritizing our needs, we are better equipped to care for our children and provide the support and love they need. So let’s commit to taking care of ourselves as we navigate the challenges and joys of parenting a child with special needs.