Taking care of kids with health or other support needs can be overwhelming. You may notice physical symptoms like headaches, insomnia or upset stomach and mental health issues like anxiety and depression that get worse when you don’t have much time for yourself.
When that happens, listen to your body. Investing a little bit of time and energy into doing things that help you feel physically stronger can make a huge difference in your ability to care for others.
Here are 5 ways to refresh and restore yourself so you can be at your best for your family.
Get moving. A few minutes of intentional movement several times throughout the day can be just as effective as one longer block of exercise.
Eat for energy. Incorporate protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables into your diet. Even if you don’t have time to cook every day, adding nutrient-dense foods like these can help keep your energy up.
Stay connected. Carve out time for the people and activities you love (in addition to the people you’re caring for). You deserve joy, friendship and fulfillment.
Rest when you can. Caregivers’ schedules are often dictated by the needs of others. Whenever possible, take the opportunity to rest in ways that are restorative for you, such as sleeping, reading, watching a favorite show or being creative.
Turn your face toward the sun. Finding the light—both literally and figuratively—helps keep your mood and energy up. Spending time outdoors, even if it’s just stepping out the door for 5 minutes to breathe, and staying focused on the positives, even if they’re very small victories, will have positive effects on your wellbeing.
For more information on caregiver support, visit the National Alliance for Mental Illness website.
- Developmental and Behavioral Health Home
- Mental Health in Children and Adolescents
- Light the Way Forward: A Mental Health Toolkit
- Child and Family Mental Health Services
- Eating Disorder Center
- Medication Safety Resources
- Suicide Prevention
- Salud Mental en Niños y Adolescentes
- Prevención del Suicidio en Niños y Adolescentes