<![CDATA[Five Things I Do For Self-Care, by Kate Anderson]]>

My self-care used to be non-existent. Having children, especially kids with additional needs, means my focus is always on them. Taking care of myself dwindled, which then led to my mental health suffering. I had to do something to help myself and start doing the things I once enjoyed again. Even if I don’t have a lot of time due to busyness or exhaustion, doing something for myself just for a few minutes is so helpful. I try to do something to help my physical, mental, and spiritual health. Here are the five ways I practice self-care regularly.

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  1. Physical Health Self-Care — I try to do just one thing a day that will help my physical health. Taking a nap while my kids are at school or napping themselves is usually my go-to. Another way is taking a walk, doing hand weights, or some other form of exercise. Drinking water all day and refraining from soda or caffeine, or eating nutritiously are some other ways I practice my physical health self-care. If I have an appointment that day for myself, I count that as caring for my physical health. It doesn’t have to be hard or require a ton of energy. Just one thing is good.n

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  3. Mental Health Self-Care — I’m stressed out most of my days, so learning how to manage my stress has been important for my mental health. Doing just one thing per day that I enjoy and leaves me fulfilled helps. Writing in my journal, reading a book, or watching a movie are a few examples. Saying “no” to things is also self-care. Sometimes just taking a break and sitting in silence is helpful. Going to a counseling or therapy session, or attending a support group meeting can be another way I practice mental health self-care for the day.n

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  5. Spiritual Health Self-Care — My faith is really important to me so I try to do something spiritual every day. Praying, meditation, going to church or adoration, reading a spiritual book are good examples of how I practice spiritual self-care. When my kids were really little, I was exhausted and felt like I was too tired to pray. Prayer can be short and simple like “Lord, I’m tired today.” The best prayer is the prayer that’s prayed. It doesn’t have to be long or intense, short and sweet is ok. God knows your heart. He knows we’re tired. So just tell Him.n

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  7. One Thing Outside The House – Every week I try to do something outside of my house by myself; go to Target, take a drive, hang out with a friend. I like to take a break for a few hours to recharge. Sometimes this is hard, especially if you don’t have someone to be with your kids. Either they stay with my husband, or I use respite hours. When I don’t have that much time, just taking a walk in the neighborhood is good. Just as long as I’m out of my house. Sometimes I have to settle for the grocery store.n

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  9. One Thing With Someone Else – I like being around people, so every week or every two weeks I try to hang out with another person. For me this usually involves a date night with my husband. We like to go to the movies or out to eat. We actually run errands sometimes, because thats the only time we can. Sometimes it’s seeing a friend or visiting my grandma or going to visit my parents. It’s important to be with other people. If getting a caregiver is hard, a date night in is also good, or have a friend come over and hang out.n

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  11. Bonus – If you go to counseling or therapy, make sure to celebrate that afterward! Therapy is hard especially if you’re a crier like me. Talking about feelings and emotions is hard. I always go to Taco Bell afterward because my husband doesn’t like it, so it’s turned into my thing. Celebrate going to therapy and doing hard things however you want to celebrate. Eat the cookie, get a massage, get your nails done! We can do hard things.

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Most of these things I can do while my kids are in school, napping, or at bedtime. But there’s times where they’re home all day. Just choosing one thing per day makes all the difference, no matter how short it is. Self-care is important for me and for my family. When I take care of myself, I do better taking care of them.

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(For more ideas on how to care for yourself, check out our Self-Care For Special Needs Moms Workbook. )

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Kate lives in Colorado with her husband and three children. You can read her writing at her blog This Special Journey.

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