Mission Statement

To provide a place for parents and family members to meet and share experience, strength, give hope and awareness, to other families who have similar experiences raising children with ADD/ADHD, SPD, Anxiety, ASD, mental health diagnosis, developmental and behavioral challenges. Through sharing in this experience of raising these hard to raise kids, we grow stronger and more resilient.

Easy to Love is a 501 (C) (3) Non-Profit Organization

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Guest Post by Cristine

Caregiver Burnout

My husband works for the travel industry. I've had the privilege of traveling on an airplane quite often.
I hear the safety information ALL the time. 
Some of us listen; some of us are getting settled for the flight.
Even though it's important, many of us don't pay attention. However, it is still valuable information.
 "In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will automatically descend from the ceiling. Grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting others".
 As I've listened to this message countless times I've often thought. Would I really help myself first before helping my children?  This safety message isn't just applicable to airline travel. It's applicable to my everyday life.
As a woman, a mother, a caregiver I am constantly thinking of others. Serving others in my family. Sometimes I forget to take care of myself so I can take care of others, especially my children
I found myself feeling a little burned out at the beginning of this year.  Maybe it was the EXTRA long winter, snowstorms, and extreme cold temperatures. I feel like we all deserved a medal for surviving this winter. Perhaps it was the multiple therapy appointments. (My oldest has ADHD and Anxiety, my middle boy has ADHD, and my youngest has some sensory information, some developmental delays, and processing delay). My husband's work changed, and I'm trying to finish school.  There are multiple demands for our lives.  As a mother and my children's caregiver, I feel the weight of this responsibility.

I found myself feeling a bit burned out.  When I find myself feeling overwhelmed, I try and remember that the best way to take care of my children is to take care of myself first.  Sounds incredibly selfish --feel guilty much? :) BUT I cannot help others unless I am able to care for myself.  
How to adjust Your oxygen mask FIRST then help others:
  • Get OXYGEN - Air we need to breathe it every day.  Taking a few deep, focused breaths everyday can help with stress.  Even if we are so busy. STOP take a deep breath, be mindful. Think of that breath. Think about our lungs taking in that healing air. Breathe out slowly. Do this 5 times. Try this in the morning when you first wake up. Try it at a stoplight. Try it before you go to bed.
  • Notice - stop and notice the world around you.  I had to remind myself to look at the mountains, look at the piles of snow that finally melted from our front yard. Notice the buds forming on the trees.
  • Listen.  For me my soul is nourished by music. It's a part of me. A good rhythm gets me dancing. A quiet song pierces through and fills my heart with peace. Find the music that fills you.  Have a spontaneous dance party in your kitchen. Involve your children in music.
  • Pamper. Indulge in something just for you. Give yourself a pedicure (maybe at 1am but it's your alone time). If you can...go get a pedicure. Let someone else serve you. Contact a local beauty school. Students need clients too. There are discounted rates. Due to the economy this service industry is in need of clients. Nail salons have reduced their prices. I've seen pedicures advertised for as long as $15-20 some even include a manicure! Massage therapy schools also provide substantial discounts for massage. I feel like a bad massage from a student is still an incredible massage. So what do you have to lose?
  • Engage in a hobby. If you like to read. Discover 10 new minutes with a book. Blog, scrapbook, etc. Do something for you.
  • Move. Go on a walk, visit the park. Even for just a few minutes.
  • Share the Journey. Seek others. Join a support group, find other moms at school, and chat with a friend. Sharing our stories with others helps make connections and someone with a listening ear. I think we as women, truly love to be with other women to talk, provide comfort. 
  • Date. I feel it's important to nurture my marriage too. Plus my husband and I can talk. Really talk without being interrupted. We talk about our children, we talk about our future, and we also talk about the movie, the menu, and our favorite...people watch :)
  • Respite.  Sometimes getting a much needed break provides an opportunity to refresh and return to family obligations. Recruit family members, find a babysitter.  There are also resources available in the community.  For Utah search the United Way 211 information. Search Respite or call.  Respite care is available for a reduced fee based on family income and in some cases respite is FREE.
I'm so happy for summer! The sunshine every day. We still have a structure (that's what helps our family) and I love the opportunity to have sunny days and opportunity to make memories.
Maybe even a trip or two so I can hear about oxygen masks and cabin pressure.

I would love to hear from you and how you nurture yourself while nurturing your families.

About Christine:
Chrisitine writes about her family and their ups & downs over at 'Counting Your Blessings Not Sheep'. She is a mom of children who have special needs and is finishing up her Ph.d in disability disciplines emphasis in rehabilitation counseling. Christine has been published on KSL.com & their sister site familynews.com/familyshare.com

Visit her blog HERE

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