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Am I loosing my mind? The mental health of a special needs parent.

It’s Mental Health Monday! The day comes around so fast but it goes to show how much we need to prioritize ourselves. During the pandemic my son was experiencing extreme sleep issues and really bad meltdowns. I would be up all night every night. I was exhausted and I felt like I was going to loose my mind. I was crying a lot and the stress was spilling over into a lot of my relationships. I was experiencing extreme anxiety because I was constantly living in fight or flight. I was standing on the edge and it was a very thin line between sanity and nervous breakdown.

One day I decided that I had get help to walk with me through this time. I went into psychologytoday.com and I found a therapist. I found one that would accept my insurance and meet with me weekly. After a few weeks of meeting she told me that I had ptsd. Wow I had heard statistics time and time again but this made it so real. Parents raising children with special needs experience stress levels compared to a combat soldier. Soldiers are the only people I’ve ever heard of before this, having ptsd. I was really uneducated about this. This was the moment I decided that I had to fight to take care of my mental health and my physical health.

Since I was already meeting with my therapist on Monday I turned that day into a Mental Health Day. A day that was for me! Every single week! My husband was so encouraging and proud that I was doing this for myself. It’s a no day for everyone else but me. I don’t cook, I don’t work, I don’t do any drop offs, no extra strain on me at all. It’s a day weekly that I do things that bring me joy. Big or small it’s a day to pour back into myself.

If you don’t prioritize yourself then who will? It is NOT SELFISH to pause and do something for yourself. Even if you’re not able to do a full day. Pick a day that’s your day.

It’s not ok to carry this heavy load and never replenish yourself! I want to be an advocate for you today, to stop putting yourself last.

Prioritizing self-care on a weekly basis is important for your well-being. Here are some things you can do:

1. Schedule "Me Time": Set aside dedicated time each week for self-care activities, even if it's just 30 minutes.

2. Exercise: Incorporate regular physical activity into your routine, such as going for a walk, jog, or doing yoga.

3. Unplug: Designate a tech-free time each week to disconnect from screens and focus on relaxation.

4. Reflect: Spend time journaling or meditating to reflect on your thoughts and feelings.

5. Pursue a Hobby: Dedicate time to engage in a hobby or passion that brings you joy.

6. Socialize: Plan social interactions with friends or loved ones to maintain a support network.

7. Read: Set aside time for reading, whether it's a book, magazine, or articles that interest you.

8. Self-care Routines: Create self-care routines like a relaxing bath, skincare routine, or enjoying a favorite tea.

9. Plan Meals: Prepare nutritious meals for the week to nourish your body and mind.

10. Learn: Explore personal development by taking an online course or learning a new skill.

11. Prioritize Sleep: Ensure you get adequate rest by establishing a consistent sleep schedule.

12. Set Goals: Define weekly goals that align with your long-term priorities and track your progress.

  1. Pray: There are some things we just can not do on our own. Some levels of peace and strength we need supernatural help to achieve. Ask God to send help. Psalm 29:11 “The Lord gives strength to his people, and the Lord blesses his people with peace."

Remember, self-care is personal, so choose activities that resonate with you and help you recharge.

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