Minding Your Health
When you have a child with special needs, your personal health becomes more important than ever before. You have a responsibility to this child and any other children in your home to be the best you that it is possible to be.
You find yourself looking to the future more than you ever thought you would. You wonder what will happen to your special needs child if anything happens to you. You know that you must ensure that you are here and able to care for that child and your other children for many years to come.
Your personal health is presented in more than one form. It may be the physical side or the mental and emotional side.
In the case of your physical health, getting exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, four to six days a week would be ideal. This exercise should get your heart rate up and make you sweat. Adding weights will increase calorie burn, as it creates muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you are able to burn.
Exercise also helps you to maintain your mental and emotional health. If you are feeling stressed, a long workout helps to give you a positive outlet for that negative energy. You are then able to turn a more positive self back to your loved ones.
It is important that each parent get some time to themselves and some time as a couple. If you do not mind your mental and emotional health, you will have less to share with your loved ones.
Sometimes my husband and I will go for a walk together. This gives us the physical activity, while also allowing us to reconnect and simply talk. Sometimes we just spend a few uninterrupted minutes on the back porch together, just enjoying one another’s company.
My husband may stay at home with the kids, while I go to the store or visit a friend. I may stay at home while he shops or visits his mother. Sometimes, one of us will take the kids out for a couple of hours and leave the other parent at home alone. These are simple things, but they are important. They allow us to recharge our batteries.
Now that our older children are old enough to watch Cameron, we sometimes do the shopping together. Having an hour or two to simply be together without any children refreshes us and allows us to talk about things that we may not always be able to say at home.
It is important that we not neglect our friendships. Our friends can be a valuable source of support and strength. We can say things to our friends that we may not say to anyone else. We can relax and just be ourselves for a little while. We can laugh and be carefree. We can unburden our hearts. We can focus on them and what is happening in their lives for a little while.
Sometimes we, as parents, are so focused on our children that we fail to properly care for ourselves. We must make ourselves and our relationships a priority. When we are healthy and at peace, we have more to give to those we love.