As a mom we worry about our children and take care of ourselves last (if at all.) If you are the parent of a child with special needs the worries multiply, and free time goes out the window. In this situation it is even more important that you practice self-care to keep from becoming overwhelmed and stressed out. Here are a few ways you can relax and decompress that don’t require a lot of time or equipment.
Take a few deep breaths
Sit up straight with your eyes closed and slowly inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Taking a 5 minute “breathing break” has positive benefits: “Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure,” psychologist Judith Tutin, PhD, says. She’s a certified life coach in Rome, GA.
When the kids are napping, or before you go to bed – turn on some quiet music, sit down, close your eyes and think about….nothing! I have a meditation app on my phone ( it was free!) that has 4 choices of soothing sounds. I use it as often as I can during the day.
Sip some water
Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Water is not just important for your body, it also rejuvenates your mind. The simple act of slowing down to have some water can stop the chaos for a moment.
Writing your thoughts down when you are stressed or upset can help to clear your mind and take some of the stress away.
Progressive muscle relaxation
In this relaxation technique, you focus on slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group. The Mayo Clinic recommends that you start by tensing and relaxing the muscles in your toes and progressively work your way up to your neck and head. You can also start with your head and neck and work down to your toes. Tense your muscles for about five seconds and then relax for 30 seconds, and repeat.
Take a visual journey in your mind to a peaceful, calming place or situation. Try to incorporate as many senses as possible during your visualization. If you are imagining a day at the beach you would think of how the sun feels on your body or hear the waves rolling into the shore. Choose whatever situation is calming for you.
Do some neck stretches
Many of us hold stress and tension in our neck and shoulders. Stretching your neck can relieve some of this tension. Just bend your head forward as if tucking your chin into your chest. Hold for a count of 5 and feel the tension along the back of your neck. Then release and relax.
To release the tension in your shoulders -raise them up as high and as close to your ears as you can and feel the tension. Then let your shoulders drop all at once and feel the difference.
Try a simple yoga pose for stress relief. YouTube has some great stretches that are simple to do: here
Studies have shown that laughter really can be the best medicine. If you are having a bad day, call a friend or family member that makes you laugh. It will give you a mental break and change your outlook!