Put Your Oxygen Mask on First
The holiday season is a magical time of year, but when was the last time you really stopped, took a breath, and actually enjoyed it? Even when the holidays are over, the fast pace of life continues with too many things to do and not enough time to do them, especially if you have a family and a child with autism.
If you can relate, know that you’re not alone. You want the best for your family and you do whatever it takes. That’s wonderful and commendable. You’ve earned gold stars too numerous to count! But you’ve also earned (and need) a little “me time” to take care of yourself, so you can continue to give your best to your family. It’s the same idea when you’re on a airplane, and they tell parents of small children to use the oxygen mask first. You’re no help to them if you’ve passed out.
Finding time to catch your breath has to be intentional. Rarely will family life with small children offer you time to rest and focus on yourself. So here are a few more ideas and resources for staying sane and healthy during the holidays and beyond.
- This Healthline.com article is chock-full of awesome self-care strategies based on how much time you have – 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, and 1 hour. Do little things a lot, and they can add up to a happier, healthier you.
- Eat well – This one can be hard at holiday time. Eating too much and overindulging can zap your energy. It can also make you feel guilty and negative about yourself. Moderation can help you eat well. Think smaller portions and pass on seconds, but don’t deprive yourself. Food should be enjoyed!
- Disconnect from tech – After you finish reading this, close your laptop or put down your phone. Work can wait while you’re on vacation or on holiday break, so turn off notifications, too. Being connected can be fun and useful, but it can also cause stress. A break from it here and there will do you good.
- Simplify how you celebrate – This includes saying no to holiday invitations. Friends will understand. With less to plan and do, you can slow down and take it easy, having fun with your family at home.
- Get sleep –Missing sleep raises stress hormone levels, and you can’t make up sleep by sleeping in on the weekends. With the right amount and type of sleep, your brain recharges so you can wake alert and clear-headed, ready to take on the day with your family.
- Finally, ask for help. You don’t have to do it all, and the fact is you can’t. Rely on family and friends to lend a hand when you feel overwhelmed during the holidays or any time for that matter. You’ll be happy that you did.
For help with a child on the autism spectrum, contact the experts at The Behavior Exchange. We’ve been helping families achieve a brighter future through ABA therapy for more than 20 years. Our fun, caring approach will put a smile on your face!