Learning the Value of Self Care

Self care is EXTREMELY important. It’s the reason they tell you to put the oxygen mask on first and then give it to your kids. If you are not OK, you can not help others. Having a child with special needs is taxing, extremely taxing.

In years past, I was not using self care at all. I didn’t believe in it. I didn’t think I deserved it. I thought it was selfish. I thought it was fluffy stuff.

So, I ignored it and actually went the other way which was self sabotaging. I was my own worst enemy. And I had no energy to give to anyone.

I took a class years ago and it taught me the value of self care, however, it still took a few years after that to really get it and start using what they taught me. Self care is probably the most important thing you can do to help yourself and help others. Whether it is backing away from certain relationships, taking a step back from social media, taking a relaxing bath with candles at night, going to a yoga class, etc.

Do something you enjoy or that will benefit you. And if you don’t know what you enjoy, try different things. That’s what I have been doing for over a year now.

I’ve tried a few different things, like joining a book club, taking time out of my day to write, and volunteering. But I also found things at home I can do, because let’s face it, as mothers, we can’t always get out of the house. This past year I have learned to love cleaning.

Now if you have known me in the past, I was the messiest person alive. I never put things away, my house was always a disaster. My room in college was a disaster. And it always gave me anxiety, but depression kept me from being able to clean as well as a lot of other things. I now love cleaning because I love the reward of having a nice neat, clean house. And then I’m not so anxious because there is no clutter.

I also love listening to music, especially my favorite band, who took a backseat for a few years, but I have now come to love them again.

And I also love incense. I am constantly burning incense in my home because it relaxes me. I love to smell it while I’m cleaning and singing along.

Whenever I am stressed and I have some free time, I do those three things, and I feel so much better.

I also love to write. I am constantly journaling. And my nose is in a book every day. Even if it’s just for ten minutes. I need to read a bit each day, whether I sit outside for a bit or just read a chapter before I go to bed. I’d like to find some more interests. I have a creative project that I’m going to be working on soon which I am excited about. I love being creative.

I used to make and decorate cakes, but I put so much pressure on myself and I would spend 12-18 hours on a cake and not get paid much for it. I can be quite a perfectionist so I had to give it up. It was not a healthy thing for me. I’ll do it every once in awhile now, but I don’t sell them anymore.

Anyway, the point is, find something you love or at least like and have some “you” time.

Since I have been doing this, I have a ton more patience, empathy, understanding, and energy to put into my daughter Lillian and our family. I am happy and not in a depressive spell.

Of course I still have times when I spin in my head and feel down. But then I do something for myself and I feel better. Lillian has told me how much happier I seem and how I hardly ever yell anymore.

I am present. I am able to be present in the moments with her because I am taking time out for myself. I am able to enjoy the good moments, and I am able to find the positive in the challenging moments.

It’s not an easy thing to do, self care. It may feel wrong at first. I always felt so selfish and like I didn’t deserve to take time out for myself.

Like I said, it took years. But I don’t feel that way anymore. I see how healthy it is and how it makes me a better mom and wife.

I’m not just mom all the time. I’m my own person.

Try it out!

Written by, Jenn Karboski

Jenn’s daughter Lillian was diagnosed at age four with Autism. She shares their journey on the Facebook page, Autism and Lillian: A Girl’s Journey and hopes to bring more awareness and acceptance to girls on the spectrum.

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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  • D

    June 10, 2018 at 1:08 pm
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing that. I think I understand. Most of my life I barely acknowledged the topic. Maybe because my particular childhood required […] Read MoreThanks for sharing that. I think I understand. Most of my life I barely acknowledged the topic. Maybe because my particular childhood required one to keep an external focus.. a keen awareness of what was happening in the world around me instead of of myself. You know..survival. Read Less

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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