Earlier this month I had a very rich experience. I led an experiential workshop focused on meditation and relaxation with The Tommy Foundation NYC Chapter, for their second annual Free Spa Day. The event was extremely well organized by Katiana Harrison, President of The Tommy Foundation NYC chapter ( http://www.tommyland.org/nyc ). I was able to work with a group of women, all mothers, all parenting at least one child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder or special need, some parenting multiple children with special needs. I walked away really feeling moved by this group of women who work incredibly hard to meet their children’s needs, and take care of their selves and their families in other ways as well. Some managing their own careers and their educations in addition to parenting. All working to ensure their children’s educational needs and social needs are met. All focused and incredibly real and passionate about being good mothers. All loving mothers who enjoy their children.
This event was focused on providing mothers with a day just for themselves, they had their hair, make-up, and nails done, received massage and facials, were part of group therapy exercises, focused relaxation exercises, and chef prepared dishes all at no cost to participants.
It was a reminder for me of the importance of self-care for everyone. Not only taking care of yourself mentally, physically, spiritually, but being sure to take time to connect with others. If you’re feeling like you have started to slack off in self care consider giving yourself a personal spa day. Set a day aside that you will focus on your own needs. But overall, be sure that you’re taking care of yourself in general. See the self-care tips below.
-Get enough sleep, speak to your doctor or a therapist if you’re regularly not getting enough sleep. In general about 8 hours per night, but people may need more or less because of individual needs. How do you feel after 6, 8, or 10 hours of rest? How you feel can be a good indication of how much sleep you individually need. Your body and mind require sleep to function well. Over time, not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can contribute to health and mental health problems worsening or developing.
-Eat at least 3 meals a day, focus on changing what the meals consist of if you have health or weight concerns. A general way to keep cholesterol and calories down is to make each serving of food balanced and serve your plate so that the largest portion on your plate is a serving of fruit or vegetables, next lean protein and the smallest serving is carbohydrates. If you snack, choose healthy snacks.
-Take time each day for you, even if it’s just half an hour you set aside and wake up before the rest of the household wakes up, take that time to pray, or meditate, or sit with quiet thought.Or have your time be at the end of the day during a warm bath or quiet time alone.
-Make time to be social. Even if you have a lot of responsibility or very busy days. Find a friend in your area that you can see, speak with and connect with. If you don’t make any time to be social at all at this point, try to start with once a month and maintain that as a minimum, increasing when you are able to. If you have grown away from existing friendships, try local community centers, houses of worship, or websites like http://www.meetup.com/find/ to find local groups and people who you can connect with.
– Make sure you are getting regular dental and medical care. Make sure you are keeping your body clean, and taking care of your nails and hair when you need to.