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Perspective. People talk about gaining it. Artists draw from it. I often give advice based on my own. I believe perspective is another part of practicing self -care.
Realistic Self care
I love to read articles about self-care. In fact, as a blog junkie, I can easily get my fix of suggestions by the dozen, but often think that advice falls short of what’s reasonable, at least for me as a special needs parent. I mean, I rarely go to the bathroom unaccompanied, truth be told. Let’s face it, I am not booking the latest spa weekend in the bed-and-breakfast on the lake.
That in mind, I’m mindfully putting on paper small ways to incorporate self-care into a hectic, daily routine. Things that don’t take much time. But most importantly, I’m practicing them. Last week I wrote about grace, and how forgiving ourselves is an important part of self-care. There are many days I can’t do all the things, and that’s OK.
perspective is about framing
This morning as a write, I am sitting in this little space we created in our yard. A small 6’x8′ area that’s detached from our house, forcing me to step outside. It sits under a retractable awning – a feature my husband argued years ago we should pay for – knowing that I’d be the one struggling to manually crank it while he worked his usual night shift. (Don’t tell him, but it he was right.)
I’m sitting in one of four redwood chairs with comfy retro-fit cushions. Not just any redwood chairs, but ones that belonged to my grandparents that I refinished a few years ago. Out here, I can take a few minutes to appreciate my hard work, close my eyes, hear birds and smell fresh-cut grass. During a typical summer, I’d hear kids in the park across the street; the crack of a softball against an aluminum bat followed by muffled cheers. In pandemic-land, it’s strangely quiet.
Although I didn’t used to be, nowadays I am an early bird. Perhaps after years of not sleeping (because my kiddo never slept) causes me to wake early. Ironically, she’s the one who sleeps in now – by sleep in, I mean until about 8:30 am on days when we don’t have to set an alarm, which is a far cry from the days of a 2am wake-up call. It gives me just enough time water the flowers, grab a cup of coffee and sit outside for a few minutes. It’s my 15 minutes of Zen before the crazy starts, and before the neighborhood wakes up (when the cacophony of lawn mowers begins).
Don’t let negative thoughts rent your space
It’s here I remind myself that life doesn’t need to be perfect to be wonderful. I think of one or two things that I’m grateful for. And, on the bad days, I force myself to think of three. Why? Because it’s really easy to obsess over the smallest setback and allow it to rent space in my head (for free!)
I’m learning that there is always a different way to view things. When I choose positive over negative, I feel better: My heart rate slows. I stop clenching my jaw. The headaches subside. I think about the big picture – killing myself with the stress of the negative doesn’t help me be a better parent. It doesn’t prolong my years on this Earth. (Let’s face it, as special needs parents, we need to live forever.)
That’s not to say I am detached from the reality of living a special needs lifestyle, however, the right frame of mind to start my day helps ground me, and gives me the mental fortitude to do what I need to. It reminds me that I have the power to choose happy. Viewing with perspective makes me realize how lucky I am to be able to appreciate the quiet solitude of my own yard under a blue sky and cool morning breeze – even if only for 15 minutes. And, with a cup of coffee? Well, with coffee, all things are possible!
Tell me one thing you do for self-care in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you.
20 (realistic) ideas for Self-Care (free download)
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