Having a loved one that suffers from a medical or mental health issue can be just as hard on the caregivers as it is on the person. I can remember when my little one was first diagnosed with Autism. For nearly 2 years I literally devoted ALL of my time to HIM. Every single thing I did revolved around my little boy and as a result I neglected my marriage and myself. We (my son and I ) were together all of the time and it wasn’t until he was about 3 years old until I started to get back to ME! Here are some tips I learned along the way.
- Create your own Spa
Going to a spa can be expensive and time consuming, so instead, create your own spa at home. Inexpensive items from a local drug store can easily achieve this. At night after I out my little one to bed, I prepare a warm bubble bath, dim the lights and play soft soothing music. Sometimes, I even enjoy a glass of wine. The most important step is to clear your mind. Don’t take this time to list out what your need to do in the morning, take this time to focus on YOU!!
- Read a book
The great thing about books is that there are so many options and genres to choose from. Additionally a book can be carried with you almost anywhere. Depending on your time schedule, you choose if you want to read for 5 minutes or 2 hours. You are in control. If you like books but don’t want to read the book, you can also LISTEN to books. Compazine’s like Audible, allow you to listen on the go!
- Create a date night or day
Based on your schedule, your supports and your loved one’s needs, you should schedule a date night or day. This was so important to my husband, and helped bring the spark back into our marriage. I make a point for us to have atleast 2 dates a month. We have these nights pre scheduled in advance and it can include anything as simple as lunch and/or dinner and a movie or to an overnight get away. What’s most important is that we take time out for each other and keep that romantic spark in our lives. Not only that, but it gives you something to look forward to during your busy daily schedule.
- Join a support group
Joining a support group is an excellent way to connect with others who are facing some of the same challenges as you. In my situation, it also allowed me to form connections with other parents who have children with Autism. We not only can connect together as parents, but our children are also playmates and friends. Best of all, when one of our children has a meltdown, we don’t have to worry about the awkward looks and stares! Furthermore, we constantly share tips, tricks, techniques and treatments with each other.
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and stay healthy. You can join a local gym and participate in exerciser classes or use equipment. Some may enjoy running or walking outside and taking in the fresh air and scenery. For me, I joined a kickboxing class. Not only did I enjoy releasing stress on the gym bags, but I also looked forward to meeting with my classmates for 45 minutes a week!