Survive special needs life by taking breaks
Parenting is busy and tiring. Special needs parenting wears one out even faster. Many special needs parents handle the bulk of the day-to-day life while the other spouse is at work. Days upon days of meltdowns and therapy drag a body down. Trying to think ahead all of the time to prevent problems wears on you. More than likely, you’ve hit a breaking point before. You lose your temper, say something you regret, or just break down crying in front of your kids.
I’m pretty sure most special needs parents have been there. What if you could reduce the number of times you’re there? It’s possible with the Power of One Break!
Just like we remove our overwhelmed children from a situation when they’re not coping successfully, we can remove ourselves when we feel our blood pressure rising and the desire to scream taking over. Of course, there are those times when we have to wait until the storm is over and make sure our child is safe. We may not get the size of break we truly need. But even a two-minute step away can make a large difference.
Stepping away gives you a chance to stop the tension. It allows you to to clear your head and think rationally. Think of breaks as a sort of release valve. Use a variety of the breaks below to keep yourself going as a special needs (or any!) parent.
Mini Breaks–getting your head back in the game
- Find something to be grateful for to change your perspective.
- Hide in the bathroom with a piece of chocolate.
- Allow yourself five minutes to cry on your bed.
- Take five minutes to calm your breathing.
- Log onto Facebook or other social media and say hi to other special needs parents.
- Leave the room and ask God for patience and strength. Recite a helpful Bible verse.
- Go silly–dance, sing in a funny voice, tell jokes to your kids–change the atmosphere!
Small Breaks–grabbing some time for yourself at home
- Find time for a hobby.
- Work your way through a book you’ve been wanting to read or subscribe to a magazine.
- Allow yourself time to mellow with a favorite TV show or play a game on your computer.
- Take a nap or just lay on your bed and relax.
- Enjoy a bubble bath or longer shower.
- Head outside. Let your children play while you soak in the sun and refocus.
Medium Breaks–finding relief outside your home
- Find a way to run errands alone.
- Sit down for your favorite beverage at a coffee shop.
- Ask a friend to meet you at that coffee shop.
- Find something to do around town or a nearby town.
Super Breaks–rewarding yourself with luxury
- Schedule a massage or salon appointment. The benefits seem obvious. The quiet of the space and having someone else minister to you does wonders.
- Spend a day out with a friend. I seem to get to do this quarterly. If you can manage monthly, it really does recharge your spirit.
- Overnight alone or with your spouse. Either of these will greatly recharge you.
I realize you probably can’t do all of these for a variety of reasons. My desire is to get you thinking of how a break can help you and to start thinking on how you can work them into your life. You’ll be glad you did, and so will your family.
What breaks have helped you? I’d love to hear!