guest post by Olivia “Liv” Sampson
It can be easy to find time to yourself to engage in self-care routines. But when you are a special needs mom with a child that has severe autism & is on the spectrum, finding time to immerse myself in self-care routines can be hard.
Luckily, I’m a self-care advocate, and I take that seriously. I am the type of person to carve out time for myself because I believe that if you can take care of you before anyone else, motherhood & life will be easier to tackle.
1. Drink Plenty of Water.
This is the way that I describe self-care: carving out time to care for yourself by being able to enjoy the many tasks that you used to love doing.
As special needs moms, we are so easily distracted with taking care of our tasks at work, chores at home, and being a parent to our kids that we don’t get the opportunity to really pay close attention and give ourselves the love that we deserve so much.
This is where self-care should come into play for us all. I have curated eight tips on how to implement self-care routines in your life, so you can be stress-free & content with your life.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to drink water. Research says that we should be drinking up to 8 glasses of 8oz of water, but I think that it’s better to make sure that the majority of your drinks are water. In my household, I have instilled in my son early that water is key because it was instilled in me by my mother.
Therefore, I always make sure that my son is drinking a lot of water, especially since the summer is here, and I want him to be well hydrated during the humid days of the season.
Plus, do you know that if you drink water as soon as you wake up, it kick-starts your digestive system, making it work more efficiently!
2. Move Ya Body!
I’m not gonna lie, after giving birth to my son, I became one of those moms that will side-eye the gym or despise exercising. I know, weird… but after the autism diagnosis and seeing that my son was different and I have to have the energy & stamina to keep up with him, I knew that working out is something that needed to be done, but I don’t have to spend so much money on going to the gym.
There are so many resources on YouTube & subscription services that are available for parents that don’t have the time to leave the house & kids.
Personally, I have a newfound love for Zumba again and have purchased DVDs of Zumba and Hip Hop Abs, as well as going to PopSugar Fitness’ YouTube Channel twice a week to get an amazing workout in.
Take it from me parents, not only do you get a good workout in, but you don’t have to leave your kids…in fact, let them join you!
Let your kids know that it’s not only fun to work out, but it keeps our body running smoothly. My son loves to watch me workout & sometimes would join in on the fun!
3. You Need Your Beauty Sleep!
Sleep is very important to me! When the day is filled with activities & events and night is upon us, we are completely burnt out and sometimes, we are working tirelessly through the night. But when you are a special needs mom, it’s hard to find time for rest.
For my family, I have a set schedule for us.
For instance, our bedtime is at 10:30pm, so I would set an alarm for 9:15pm, so we can be able to take baths, read, and unplug from our devices so that we can be ready for bed.
I also like drinking herbal chamomile lavender tea an hour before bed and sprinkling some lavender oil on our bedspreads to help lull us to sleep.
4. Eat Balanced Meals.
I have always been a picky eater since I was a child, so eating healthy foods is a struggle for me, but after I had my son, I knew that I needed to set an example for him.
Unfortunately, my son used to eat a lot of things, but when he turned two, his appetite completely changed to where he would only eat a select few things. Basically, he is now a VERY picky eater that will only eat what he likes.
Thanks to my partner, he’s helped open my eyes on eating healthier, and I was introduced to things like cauliflower, butter beans, and broccoli.
Now, I hide kale in my smoothies, as well as broccoli or cauliflower in my son’s pizza (he LOVES pizza!) and trying my son on smoothies, which is a work-in-progress, but I’m not giving up!
5. Reading is Fundamental!
Take it from an avid bookworm, reading helps to expand your vocabulary and learn new things that you don’t know. I love learning & immersing myself in new narratives and stories, and getting my son in on reading.
We both have quite the collection of books & magazines that we leaf through and enjoy everyday. I think that it’s better to explore new worlds & gain knowledge than mindlessly strolling on social media or doing nothing.
And if books aren’t your thing, try reading e-books, blogs, or listening to audible books! In my opinion, blogs are so underrated, and it’s where you can read up on so many different topics, as well as get to know more about the editors and authors of the blog.
As for audible books and e-books, there are different platforms that you can use to listen to them, like Audible and using Kindles to read e-books.
Also, there are lots of magazine subscriptions to read up on that are interesting as well! I am the type of person that personally prefers having a book or magazine in my hands to read, but I would listen to a book being read to me if I don’t have the time to sit and read.
6. Unplug From Social Media.
This is such an important tip for special needs moms!!! Social media is the number one reason why so many people are battling mental health issues because not only are you mindlessly strolling & wasting precious time, but seeing other people’s lives are making people compare their lives to other followers.
That’s not okay!
I was one of those people that used to compare their lives to mine, and used to question why my life wasn’t going as good as other influencers. To solve this, I would log out of all of my social media platforms on my phone & Chromebook, and delete the apps!
And for extra security, I downloaded a website blocker app called BlockSite to make sure that I can’t get on those websites or apps. This was such a lifesaver for me!!! Now every month, I would take either the first week or the weekends to unplug from social media so that I can focus on me & my family.
7. Your Health Matters!
As a special needs parent, we have to take care of ourselves, right? That also means making the time to make an appointment to see our primary care doctors.
We are so busy taking our kids to see their doctors & therapists that we forget to see OUR doctors & therapists. They are just as important to us like our kids’ doctors are to them. It’s important to see if our bodies are functioning well, inside & out.
Mental health matters, as well!
Growing up, I was taught that the stigma around having a therapist meant that you were mentally ill & that you needed professional help (aka, psyche ward), and I’ve experienced seeing my grandmother going in & out of a psyche ward after going through a traumatic divorce, and was diagnosed with dementia. In this day & age, I am glad to say that it’s perfectly okay to have a therapist, whether you’re going good or not.
As a person that battles generalized anxiety and has also experienced depression for the first time recently, I make it my duty to talk to my therapist at least once a week, and keep up with all of my appointments to my doctor because I want to make sure that I am well enough to perform my duties as a mom, partner, sister, daughter, and most of all, as a woman.
If you feel that something is off or wrong, please make sure that you write it all down & discuss it with your doctor.
8. Immerse Yourself in Nature.
Being in nature is super important to me. There’s something about walking around in my backyard & being one with the trees & lush greenery that calms and soothes me.
Why is that?
Being in nature helps to boost your physical & mental health. I read while doing research that being immersed in nature helps to lower blood pressure and enhance the activity of our body’s natural killer cells.
There’s no right amount of time to “bathe” in nature, but I like to go outside 25 minutes after I wake up & freshen myself and meditate on my back porch for 10 minutes, then watch the sun rise before anyone in the house wakes up.
Also, it’s great to get your kids involved with nature by teaching them to love & embrace nature and all of its benefits. I love to take my son outside or to the park to be “grounded” in nature so that he knows
1) that nature is important to us, as well as the environment, and
2) let him enjoy being a kid.
We always plan to enjoy the outdoors almost every day (if it’s not too humid) to get some sensory input & play by running & jumping on the trampoline. Recently, I just bought a pool for him to enjoy the water, which is kind of another way of being “one with nature/grounding”.
Immersing the kids and yourself in nature is one of the best ways of implementing self-care for yourself.
I hope that these eight tips will help you to take care of yourself. Taking better care of you will help you to take care of your sweet kiddos. As much as they need all of your love and attention, make sure to also direct that love and attention to yourself as well! As I always say, “Self-care is Key, Use It Wisely”, because at the end of the day, the only person that knows how to take care of you is YOU.
Meet this month’s featured guest!
Hey everyone! My name is Olivia “Liv” Sampson, and I am a mother to a beautiful little boy Aashten, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, and I share him with my amazingly handsome fiancée/partner, and we love our son dearly. Our family reside in a small town in Southwest Georgia called Pelham, GA. I am a major lover of all things self-care, a YouTuber, blogger, avid bookworm, major hobbyist, self-taught beauty enthusiast, and a lover of music, art, food, and wine.
Liv’s Social Media Platforms:
Liv Sampson’s Blog:
Looking for some quick tips to getting you healthier & feeling better? Make sure to check out: 5 simple ways to be healthier (as a special needs mom)