Practicing self-care is important for all of us and even more crucial for parents of preemies and children with special needs. Below are several examples of how you can nurture yourself and make self-renewal a part of your everyday life in the four areas of self-care: physical, emotional, spiritual and mental.1
- Be kind and loving to your body – appreciate your body.
- Nourish your body by eating healthy and energizing foods that make you feel great.
- Get enough sleep and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Exercise to replenish your energy and manage stress.
- Have a heart-to-heart with a close friend or mentor.
- Ditch self-criticism/judgmental thinking about your actions and thoughts.
- Seek out support from a therapist, coach, social worker, peer or counselor.
- Journal – write down your feelings and thoughts.
- Go on a fun date with your partner or organize a monthly moms’ night out.
- Take time to be by yourself to think or write.
- Take a walk in a park or out in nature.
- Meditate, pray or just reflect on what you’re grateful for.
- Do something creative: paint/draw/write/dance/sing.
- Volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about.
- Read a good book or see an intellectually stimulating movie.
- Learn a new hobby or skill.
- Sign up for a class, group or workshop on a topic that is interesting to you.
- Challenge yourself within your community or at work to learn something new.
Wondering where or how to start? Begin by choosing one of the four areas of self-care to focus on over the next 90 days. Make a list of specific things you can do daily or weekly that will help you make your own self-care a priority and then commit to it. Take baby steps if you need to and remember this wise quote from Audre Lord, “Self-care is not about self-indulgence, it is about self-preservation.”
1The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life, © 2006 by Renée Peterson Trudeau. Reprinted with permission.
In addition to being mom to Bryan who was born with Down Syndrome at 31 weeks and Dylan, Rhonda McMahon facilitates Personal Renewal Groups (PRG) for mothers of children with special needs based on The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. Learn more about Rhonda and her PRGs at www.rhondamcmahon.com.