Learn From Others
“I would like others to know how important self-care is. It is vital to be true to yourself.” Listen to this parent share what self-care means to her, why it is vital for parents and caregivers, and how it has strengthened her well-being, happiness, and ability to conquer the world.
"It's really important to think about what works for you & stick to that ritual to take care of yourself." Listen to this parent’s story about self-care & how quiet time together is now a weekend ritual supporting the well-being of her family.
It took years for me to accept that self care isn’t optional…and that you don’t have to do it alone. "Self care” may look and feel different for each person but ultimately it allows each of us to have the necessary time and space to rest, recharge, and reevaluate our wants, needs, and goals. The most successful forms of self care are ongoing and evolve to meet our needs in the moment - allowing us to continue working toward our goals and to participate in all of the activities we love.
Until two years ago “self care" was an unknown word in my vocabulary and it felt selfish and not what a “good “ parent does. Two years ago I wasn’t given a choice, either do self-care or you will not be here. Pretty tough words to digest. See as the parent of 3 children, all girls, all with executive functioning challenges, ADHD, and the oldest autism, for 16 years, their needs came before mine. I had grown accustomed to the well being dry, the blood sugars out of control, exhaustion and always hitting the proverbial wall. Little did I know that if I took care of myself, my feeling joy would result in increased calm, less chaos, and more intentional moments. Today, I make a relationship with a partner a priority, I check the numbers, take the walk, build the garden, say “no” to things I really don’t want or need, and keep my priorities list light, me and then them.
Parent / Professional
Self-care to me is taking time for myself and, more importantly, being patient with myself. To support me in doing this, I take advantage of self-care activities offered at my job, such as yoga classes and self-awareness trainings. This has not only helped me with maintaining my well-being, but I have also been able to support the students in my room with learning new ways to handle challenging situations.
As someone with autism, one of the ways I use self care is brushing my teeth in the morning and at night. There are times where I have forgotten about it, but because brushing my teeth is part of my morning and night routine, I am able to remember to do it. The same goes for putting on deodorant and brushing my hair.
Self-care to me means giving myself permission to be a little ‘selfish' with the intent of improving the quality of not only my life, but the life of those that count on me and are important to me. My self-care routines are tied closely to finding time to get outside and take a walk or an easy run. I find that I must address the build-up of the stress hormones in my body by a physical outlet in order to cope with the ongoing stress that occurs every day.
Parent / Professional
As a sibling of person with autism, I practice self-care through reminding myself that I am not my sibling and my sibling is not my responsibility, although I often struggle with that, especially because we are so close in age. I have learned to respect boundaries, especially boundaries for myself, and remember that I am not a walking textbook for my sister. Or if it is my sister who is bothering me, then I tell her directly that I am struggling and “can’t do that today.” If there is a particular day when I am struggling with that, then I talk to someone, such as a counselor or my mom, and I remember that I have been given the gift of education from young childhood that I can pass along, but that I am not my sister’s glossary and that I have a name, not sister of someone with autism.