Self-care tips for mothers
Being a parent is challenging, but being a parent of an autistic child is even more. Of course that you want to spend quality time with your child, but everyone needs rest from time to time. Even mothers. If you feel guilty for needing time on your own, this is something you need to hear.
Your child doesn't need a mother that is stressed and tired. You won't be able to be fully present and give them the attention they need. They need a mother that is happy and relaxed, and the only way to achieve that is to invest time in your self-care.
The routines that we are about to explain won't take you a lot of time, but they will leave you feeling much better.
Identify Your Stress
In order to lower the stress level in your life, you first have to be aware of what is causing it. Take a moment and think about what causes you the most stress. Is that your busy schedule? Messy house? Or maybe it's voiced in your head that you need to calm down.
If you are not sure what's causing you stress, you can track your emotions for a week, and see what situations triggered you.
Maintain Your Routine
There's something calming about having your routine. If you don't have one, it may be time to start thinking about creating morning and evening routines. If you feel like you don't have time for it, don't worry.
It can be something simple that lasts less than 10 minutes, like making a cup of your favorite tea or doing some quick yoga poses. You can also create routines that include the whole family and help you bond with each other.
The number one reason for chronic stress and burnout is the lack of sleep. Therefore, try to make it your priority to sleep at least 7 or 8 hours each night. Even if it means you won't be able to do all the housework.
Your health is more important than that. Try going to sleep earlier and your body will thank you for having more energy to deal with daily challenges.
Ask for Help
You don't have to do everything alone. There are people that will be more than willing to help you. From your partner to other family members and even your friends. All you have to do is ask and explain what do you need.
Maybe they didn't offer their help because you seemed so confident handling everything on your own. Go ahead and ask them for help, and you will be positively surprised by their reaction.
Give You 5 Minutes
Caring for someone else 24/7 can be overwhelming and it's normal that you will sometimes feel that you can't handle it. It's important to recognize those situations and have your tactic for them.
When you feel like screaming or crying, give yourself a break. Try to be still and breathe deeply for 5 minutes. After that, you will instantly feel much better.
Connect with Your Partner
When you are the parents of an autistic child, it's easy to get lost in routine and forget that you are also partners. Reconnect with your partner. Spend quality time with each other and learn to communicate effectively.
Of course, now that you are parents. quality time won't mean the same as when you were dating. However, you can install some rituals like drinking the morning coffee together or actually taking the time to talk, instead of being on your phone or watching a TV show.
Nurture Your Social Network
If you feel like your friends have forgotten you, bear in mind that perhaps they just didn't want to disturb you. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't nurture your relationships, even as a parent of an autistic child.
Even if you can't go out a lot, make sure to stay in touch by video calls or messages.
Try New Food
The easiest way to escape the routine is to try new, exotic foods. If you can't go to a fancy restaurant, you can order it at home. If you like cooking, you can experiment with new recipes.
They say that cooking has a therapeutic effect and it can be a form of self-care, of course, only if you like that activity.
Journaling is one of the most effective practices for our mental well-being. The best thing about that is that there is no way to do it right or wrong. Simply take a notebook and write about the way you feel, your insights, plans for the future.
If you do this regularly, you may be able to identify some patterns in the way you feel and to help yourself feel better.