SELF-CARE is a buzzword that has grown in relevance nowadays. Simply put, it is any activity that we do to take care of our health and wellbeing. When I say health, I don’t just mean the physical side, but more importantly, your mental and emotional health. It really sounds quite easy in theory, but in practice, it is often overlooked—especially by autism moms like us.
Parenting itself is already quite challenging, but throw in meltdowns, potty training issues, therapy sessions, and a lot of other struggles, and one could only imagine how extra stressful it is for a parent whose child is on the spectrum.
So, I wanted to remind you to TAKE CARE OF YOU, warrior mom! Self-care is not and can never be a selfish act! It’s more about knowing how to take care of ourselves, so we, in turn, can provide that same level of care for our children.
Here are a few self-care tips for the always-busy autism mom.
- Find Your Own Peace and Quiet
Try waking up earlier than anyone else and starting your day in peace by finding a nice, comfy spot to enjoy your coffee. Assign a place in your house to serve as a meditation zone and practice 15-minutes of mindful breathing. Read a book or listen to soft music before going to sleep.
Do whatever works for you. What matters is that you are able to find moments in your daily life wherein you can pause and take a breath. It works wonders!
- Keep Tabs On Your Health
Fact: you need to get a good night’s sleep if you want to function properly throughout the day. In case you’re unable to, try taking a power nap while your kids are asleep to refill your tank! And since you make sure to give your child healthy food, you should eat right as well. After all, you need to be healthy and energized to take care of your child.
A good diet isn’t everything, though, and you might need to exercise every now and then. You don’t have to hit the gym to get a good workout. A brisk walk around the neighborhood can be enough. The great thing about exercise is it releases endorphins, which make you feel really good.
- Be Grateful
There’s a lot of research out there that links the ‘attitude of gratitude’ to an increased sense of happiness. Here’s how you can be more grateful. At the end of a particularly hectic day, grab a notebook and start writing down the things that you are most thankful for. You could also write these down on tiny pieces of paper and put them in a jar. Whenever you need a boost, get the jar or your notebook and do some reading.
You could also start a 365 Days of Gratitude Project on Instagram or Facebook (or whatever social media platform you prefer). Start by taking one photo each day of something that you are grateful for and writing a caption that expresses your gratitude. At the end of the year, take a look back at how many blessings you have!
- Spoil Yourself
Now hold up! I don’t mean that you should fall into the trap of capitalist marketing and add everything to cart! But it’s good to spoil yourself every once in a while. You deserve to reward yourself with things that make you happy.
Candies and sweets don’t have to be exclusively for kids. Satisfy your sweet tooth. Or you could go to the salon to get glammed up. Whatever you choose to do, the important thing is you feel recharged and ready to take on another day and another challenge!
- Surround Yourself With Like-Minded Warrior Moms
This is a tough journey, but one that you don’t need to go through alone. By building a strong support system, you can empower yourself to take on even greater challenges for you and your child. Positivity, encouragement, and support are within reach. You just have to know where to look.
One last thing, warrior mom. Self-care should not be something that you are forced to resort to as a means of escapism. True self-care is taking charge of your life and building it in such a way that you do not need to escape from it.
I hope you put these tips into action consistently. Remember, you can’t give your child the love and attention they need if you didn’t save some for yourself.