Self-Care As A Disabled Parent: How To Take A Timeout For Yourself

Parent with child
Finding time for yourself as a parent isn’t always easy. In fact, it can be a stressful task in itself to make yourself a priority when there are so many other things going on and tasks to complete, and you may feel guilty for doing so. These feelings are normal, but also completely unnecessary. As a parent, you’re a caregiver, and your needs matter too. After all, how will you be the best version of yourself if you’re exhausted and stressed? It will be very difficult to focus on your child if your mental and physical health aren’t where they need to be, and when you’re living with a disability, staying on top of your well-being is crucial.

Keep in mind that “self-care” doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming. It might be something as simple as finding a new treatment for chronic pain so you can get a better quality of sleep, or taking the time to read a book or watch your favourite show at the end of the day. It can also be extremely helpful to change up your diet and exercise routine, as well. This can seem overwhelming for many new parents, as often they’re too tired to think about anything but resting when they have a spare moment. However, boosting your activity level and making sure you’re getting the right nutrients can have a huge positive effect on your energy and mood.

Here are a few things to consider when you’re a parent who is living with a disability:

Treat your chronic pain

Because many people who are living with a disability are also struggling with chronic pain, it’s a good idea to look for alternative treatments that will help you manage those feelings so you can get better sleep and focus your attention on other things. CBD oil has helped many people in recent years with managing pain and anxiety, but there are many different kinds on the market, so do some research before making a decision and talk to your doctor about your choice.

Listen to your favourite music

Music has been shown in many studies to have a calming or joyous effect on our mood, so when you’re feeling stressed or need a few minutes to yourself in between caring for your child, sit down and listen to your favourite music. Even if it’s only briefly, it will allow you to take a deep breath, relax, and get centred during a hectic day. Keeping a playlist of your favourite tunes for the car will also be a great help, especially if you’re constantly running around taking care of everyone else.

Find a new exercise routine

If you have the means, a good workout routine can really turn things around when it comes to your mood and your overall health. Try not to look at it as something you have to do, but rather as something that will help you day-to-day, particularly as a way to navigate your disability. Not only does activity keep you fit, but it will also boost your mental health and self-confidence. Look for a workout that fits your specific needs; swimming, walking, and yoga are all great ways to stay in shape, and when combined with meditation, yoga can help you learn mindfulness, which will, in turn, banish stress and anxiety.

Stay social

Many parents, especially those who have newborns, find that they feel isolated from others, which leaves them feeling lonely and can lead to depression and other mood disorders. If you’re spending a large amount of your time at home with your little one and aren’t socialising, it can be detrimental to your mental health, so make it a point to get together with friends and family at least once a week. If your disability prevents you from driving or leaves you feeling uncomfortable in certain social situations, take advantage of apps that allow you to video chat or instant message your favourite people from the comfort of your own home.

Self-care as a parent can be a difficult thing to learn, and when you’re also living with a disability, it can be downright overwhelming. Write down your goals for the coming year in regards to your health and well-being, and post them somewhere visible to help with your motivation. Without putting pressure on yourself, remember that these goals are there to help you be the best version of yourself possible.

Ashley Taylor

MY HUSBAND AND I BOTH HAVE DISABILITIES. WE’VE ALWAYS WANTED CHILDREN, AND KNEW THAT BECAUSE OF OUR DISABILITIES BECOMING PARENTS AND PARENTHOOD, IN GENERAL, WOULD REQUIRE EXTRA PLANNING AND PREP. FROM THE GET-GO WE STARTED SAVING FOR IVF TREATMENTS AND MAKING MODIFICATIONS TO OUR HOME THAT WOULD MAKE US AND OUR FUTURE CHILDREN SAFER. ALONG THE WAY, WE’VE PICKED UP A LOT OF GREAT RESOURCES ON PLANNING AND PREPARING FOR PARENTHOOD AS PARENTS WITH DISABILITIES AND WE’VE LEARNED SOME VALUABLE LESSONS, TOO. TODAY, MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE TWO AMAZING KIDS, AND I THOUGHT THIS MIGHT BE A GOOD WAY TO SHOW MY GRATITUDE TO THE UNIVERSE FOR ALL THE WAYS WE’VE BEEN BLESSED.

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