Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Don't Forget YOU

Autism has a (not so) funny way of taking over your life, your home, your time, your wallet, your family, and even your sleep.

We use everything to take care of our children with special needs, and whatever left over is given to our other family members. Its a balancing act on a high wire while juggling flaming, super sharp swords - worthy of a side show in the circus but its not easy and its certainly not healthy.

Guilt is a common feeling. "Was it something I did or didn't do" is followed by "am I doing the right thing, am I doing enough, am I doing something wrong?" and closely on the heals of that guilt trip is "Am I doing enough for the rest of my family?"  These are normal, natural feelings we all have - even when we don't have children with special needs. Everyone wonders, questions, and doubts themselves. Its ok to question, but its not ok to let those questions and feelings take over your life. You can only do the best you can, hope and pray for the best, and love.  Love your family, love your life, and most importantly, love yourself.

So I ask-
What about YOU? What are you doing for yourself?

We often put ourselves last, ignoring our own needs and desires in our race to take care of everyone and everything else. This is the worst thing we can do.  Burn out is real and its dangerous. We can't be the parent and caregiver, spouse, friend, or family we want to be if we burn out all the time.

So don't forget about YOU.
Even if its 5 minutes, remember YOU. The person you used to be. The person you want to be. The person deep inside, screaming to come out. Give yourself at least 5 minutes a day to be you, to celebrate you. Take a walk, take a bubble bath, treat yourself to some good chocolate, blast your favorite music and dance, make yourself a fancy lunch with your favorite foods even if no one else will eat it, go to the gym, get a manicure... just do something for yourself and only yourself. Its not selfish. Its selfless.  We give so much of ourselves to our family but we forget to give to ourself.

So starting today, give. Give to YOU. 5 minutes or 50, do it. You'll be a better you for it and everyone around you will benefit.  And they'll be happy you did it too because they love you and probably wish you did more for yourself.

Be you. Love you. Care for you. You deserve it!