Self-care doesn’t have to involve downward dog or a long walk on the beach and isn’t required to look a certain way. You have permission to ignore any self-care routine prescribed by a magazine, a self-help book or even abandon one recommended by a health professional. Learning what works for you is a process of trial and error backed up by an intentional investment in your mental and physical health.
Replenishing yourself and honoring your own limits is particularly important if you’re the parent of a child with special needs. This means the basics—getting enough sleep, giving balanced nutrition your best shot and not feeling guilty for needing time away from your child to do your own thing—are as important as brushing your teeth. Beyond these things, consider self-care a work-in-progress that will keep changing over time. The main goal is to put yourself on your list of to-do’s. Regularly.
Maybe one of these suggestions resonates with you:
Melissa H. Wolak, a Transformation Coach, Speaker, and Speech-Language Pathologist has developed a really interesting way to look at self-care she calls the “Brain Budget”. Based on the idea of deposits and withdraws, her approach helps you identify what costs you energy versus what gives you energy. With the goal of never going into the red, it’s an intuitive way to think about your finite energy reserves— to come up with your “non-negotiable deposits” (what you really need to keep yourself feeling good) and what costs you energy (how much of what you do is an energy drain).
Who cares if your self-care routine isn’t Instagram ready or you can’t get to everything you’ve promised yourself you’d do— that doesn’t mean you need to give up on the idea altogether. I think this quote from coach and author John Wooden sums it up: “Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do.”