by Lindsay Rosenthal, Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Owner/Founder of The Pampered Parent
As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), I work with children with a variety of developmental disabilities. I also work very closely with their families and caregivers to ensure they have all of the skills and knowledge they need in order to best support their child. In my role as a BCBA, one of the main things I’ve learned is that special needs parents do it all. They go from work to the grocery store to taking their child to and from therapy, getting home just in time for bed.
I’ve seen first-hand that being a special needs parent is exhausting. Add in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and you are likely feeling even more exhausted and overwhelmed. So much to do. So many expectations. So little time.
“How will I get everything done?”
“When will I buy gifts?”
“Will my child be OK at his classroom holiday party?”
“How will I take care of myself during this time?”
That last question is the one we’re going to focus on. In order to be there for your loved ones, you have to take care of yourself first. Implementing self-care during the holidays is crucial. It will help you slow down, recharge, and recognize the joy, happiness, and delight that exists in your surroundings, in others, and in yourself this holiday season.
That being said, we know you don’t have tons of extra time (if any?!) to incorporate time-consuming self-care practices into your daily life. Weekly manicures? Yeah right! 2-hour long gym sessions? No way! A nap every weekend? Unlikely.
That’s why we put together this guide of 5 simple self-care strategies for the holiday season (and beyond)! Keep reading for some easy, yet effective, strategies to help you decompress and destress.
1. The Pampered Parent Subscription Box & Online Community
In May of 2021, I founded The Pampered Parent, which is a self-care subscription box and online community for special needs moms. Our mission is to give you the self-care, support, and encouragement you deserve in a convenient, simple, exciting way.
Each month, our boxes have a different motivational theme and include: a “featured item” that’s from a company that is run by and/or employs individuals with special needs, an exclusive item (t-shirt, tote, mug, or tumbler) with a special saying or quote about disability inclusion and acceptance, and a variety of other self-care products.
Our private, subscriber-only online community allows you to meet and connect with other moms of children with special needs, allowing you to feel like you belong. There is also: daily encouragement, monthly meditations, guest speakers, virtual book clubs, self-care tips and challenges, behavior strategies and tips on how to best support your child, and more! I (Lindsay) am the moderator of this group, and I am always happy to answer questions, provide tips, and offer motivation and encouragement.
Gift yourself a Pampered Parent subscription for the holidays – you deserve it! Get self-care delivered right to your doorstep by heading to www.thepamperedparent.com.
2. Three Thoughts a Day Journal
We know… you do NOT have time to pour all of your deepest thoughts and feelings into a journal every night. But we have a feeling that you can set aside 3-5 minutes a day to jot down just a few notes, right?!
That’s why we created the “Three Thoughts a Day” journal! By spending just several minutes a day writing down three simple sentences, you’ll feel more grateful, hopeful, and clear-headed. Just download it, print it out, pop it in a pretty binder, & then dive into some well-deserved self-care! And don’t worry – on the first page of the journal, there are instructions on how to use it.
Grab your journal here ➡️ https://view.flodesk.com/pages/6083409c460b001c8100531a
3. Inspirational Phone Wallpaper
This self-care strategy takes basically no time. You’re on your phone a lot, right? Why not change your phone wallpaper to something inspirational, uplifting, and encouraging?
This can look different for everyone. For some, it may be a picture of your family that brings a smile to your face. For others, it could be a positive affirmation or quote that sparks joy. And for others, it could be a picture of a beach, sunset, or favorite travel destination.
Go ahead and change your phone wallpaper! Now, every time you look down at your phone, you’ll be reminded of something beautiful. Feel free to change it up every couple weeks to keep things fresh, exciting, and meaningful!
4. 5-Minute Meditations
Meditation has so many benefits – managing stress, increasing self-awareness, focusing on the present, reducing negative emotions, and more.
I bet you’re saying something like, “that sounds great, but I have no idea how to meditate!” Don’t worry. There are various apps out there that make meditation so simple. And even better? They have meditations that range in length from around 5 minutes to over an hour! During this busy time, even just 5 minutes of breathing and relaxation can work wonders.
Check out some of these apps to find a quick guided meditation that will help you rest, relax, and recharge before taking on the rest of your day:
– Insight Timer
There are other apps out there, but these three are my faves!
5. Take a Social Media Break
If you’re anything like me, you get lost in the scroll. 📱 You click on Instagram and 45 minutes can go by in a flash, especially with all of those holiday photos everyone is posting and the shopping deals that are calling your name!
That’s why, during super busy times like the holidays, it can be beneficial and therapeutic to take a daily “social media break”. Try to pick 2-3 hours each day where you stay off social media. Dedicate that time to getting work done, wrapping presents, relaxing, napping, exercising… anything besides scrolling!
This will help you be more present in the moment, it will encourage movement and activity, and it will decrease the negative self-talk that often results from comparing our lives to our friends’ “highlight reels” (aka – the best moments in everyone’s lives that are posted on social media).
Believe me – the email can wait, and that Facebook post will still be there in 2 hours!
I hope some of these simple strategies will help you practice and enjoy self-care during the holiday season. Remember – this “season of giving” includes giving to yourself. Give yourself love. Give yourself grace. Give yourself joy. You (and your family!) will be happy you did.
Lindsay Rosenthal, Founder/Owner of The Pampered Parent