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What Does Self-Care Really Mean?

March 21, 2011

Today’s article is a guest post from Julie McAllister of SpecialMomsHeal.com. Julie’s dedication to empowering moms of special needs kids to love themselves as much as they love their kids is inspiring. I asked her to share this article with my readers because I believe that the topic of self-care is important for all parents, regardless of gender and regardless of your child’s needs. Julie is holding her first conference emphasizing the “woman behind the mom” in the Austin, Texas area on April 9, 2011. Learn more here.

What Does Self-Care Really Mean?

by Julie McAllister

As parents, we don’t often make time for ourselves.  Our focus is on work and our family and on our children most specifically.  But neglecting ourselves affects our family too.  So, it is important to take time for ourselves, to feed our soul.

But how do we do that?  It’s different for everyone, but here are some suggestions:

  1. Make time every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes to “unplug” from life.  For some that may be reading a good book (not related to your children), taking a bath, or meditating.
  2. Take a class on something that you’re interested in, that is completely unrelated to your children.
  3. Take yourself out to lunch, dinner or for coffee by yourself or with a friend.
  4. Go shopping with a friend.  I did this recently and realized just how long it had been since I had done it, and that I had forgotten how much FUN it was.
  5. Keep a gratitude journal.  Every night before you go to bed, write down what you were grateful for that day.  It can be little things or big things.
  6. Improve your diet and thus improve your health.  This is really the ultimate in self-care.
  7. Learn to forgive, both yourself and others.  Freeing yourself from anger and guilt makes more room for love in your life.

If you are a parent of a child with special needs (like I am), then it is even more difficult to make time for yourself.   But when you love yourself as much as you love your children, everyone benefits.  You are a happier parent, which means you are more patient and able to see the bigger picture, rather than getting bogged down in the many details of raising a child with special needs.

Because I recognized the need for parents, and especially mothers, of children with special needs, to take care of themselves, I decided to host a self-care conference/retreat for them.  The Special Moms, Special  Healing Conference, being held on April 9, 2011, is the first-of-its-kind conference focusing on the self-care of mothers of children with special needs.  Every speaker will speak on a different aspect of self-care, including positive thinking about future events, transformative self-care, nutrition, fitness, overcoming fear, and spiritual healing. The location is a gorgeous outdoor camp designed for children with special needs.

Whatever you do, just do something.  When you make yourself a priority, you win and so do your kids.  In addition, you are setting an example for them.  They will see how important it is to practice good self-care.

Julie McAllister is the owner and creator of Special Moms, Special Healing, where she supports and empowers mothers of children with special needs to take care of themselves.  She is the mother of two sons with special needs, one with Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, and one with numerous food allergies.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2011 9:26 pm

    Great post. Self care is so vital to our general health and wellness. As moms we often leave this for last. Wonderful suggestions!

    • drcuneo permalink*
      March 22, 2011 6:23 am

      Thanks Jeannie! So true.

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