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Finding Myself Through Self Care

SELF CARE.  Those two words haunt me everywhere I go.  My therapist, my doctor, my friends, everyone talks about self-care, but does anyone really do it?  What is it?  So, taking a half hour to read a book or chat with a friend or go for a walk is really going to help me deal with all the phone calls, all the meetings and appointments I have for my kids.  Will it really help me deal with all the frustration and loneliness of being a parent of special needs children?

A few months ago, I was probably at one of my toughest points I had been in a while.  I saw an add for Cross Fit classes at a local gym.  For some reason I was drawn to it.  I thought “why not”.   I have tried lots of other self-care suggestions and none of them really appealed.  I am overweight, out of shape and never lifted weights in my life.  I was completely out of my comfort zone but for some reason I was drawn to this class.  I fell in love after the first class. The coach knew I had no idea what I was doing.  He has helped every step of the way.  The other women in my class are so supportive of each other.  It really has become a family.   The weights and cardio were a great way for me to let go of all that stress I was carrying around.  This is a place I can go, and just be me.  I am not a mom, wife, special needs advocate for my kids.  Very few people there know my story at home.  When I am at the gym, I am me, working on becoming a better version of myself.  It is 3 hours a week that I do just for me.  Don’t get me wrong I still feel the guilt we all feel when we do things for ourselves.  I am working hard to push through it.  It is lessening.  It is helping. 

I could list a hundred different ideas for self-care, but what I want to say is think outside of these traditional ideas of reading, walking, call a friend.  Find someplace or something where you can find yourself.  Find something that is all about you. Sometimes learning new things,  trying things you never thought you would do, or finding a group with a common interest that isn’t related to special needs is what it takes to make you feel alive again. 

Whatever it is you need to do, find something.  Then make a commitment to doing it.  Hold on to it with both hands and don’t let go.  An appointment for yourself is just as important as appointments for your kids. 

Written By: Terri Boettcher, Parent Support Navigator, Southern Minnesota

Jamie O'Conner

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