An Autism Parent Fell Into A Hole

I haven’t written here for a while. I’ve neither had the time nor energy to. Normally when I write a piece for my blog, I know exactly where to begin. Except, this isn’t like the blogs I normally write.

I’ve hit burn out.

By ‘burn out’ I’m talking about being unable to keep up with the fast pace of life. Your legs keep going through the motions because if you stop, you’ll probably collapse. So, you go on, your life being far too busy for far too long.

The hardest thing about burn out is that the only treatment for it, is to stop, assess your current situation, take 20 steps back and start again.

Life with three boys would be challenging for anyone, but throw Autism and the end of the school year into the mix and it’s a whole different field you’re playing in. I’m not afraid of arduous work, but there becomes a point in which enough is enough.

‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’

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I love my children. I’d do anything to see them happy and healthy but like many other parents who look after children on the spectrum, we neglect our own needs for the sake of those we love. We put ourselves last on our agenda, time and time again.

I have been chronically exhausted, to the point where my eyes droop the moment I sit down and my body aches to the core.

You’ve heard the saying I’m sure, ‘something’s got to give.’ So these last few weeks I have been going back to basics, making sure I am looking after me and ensuring I am making my physical and mental health a priority. There are many ways in which you can claw back some energy and sanity while you’re feeling so run down so I’m going to share with you some of my top self-care tips.

Food

Since Joe’s health scare a few months back, I’ve had the biggest wake-up call and have been doing a lot of research. Health is wealth in my eyes and when your faced with losing a loved one you realise you’d do anything for it.

Food is fuel. You are only going to feel as good as the food you are putting in your body. I recently made the decision to transition myself into a plant based diet, eliminating all animal products and as much processed food and sugars out of my diet as possible. This follows being dairy free since Zachary was born. (He was exclusively breastfed and reacted severely to the milk in my diet.)

I recently decided to do an intolerance and nutrition deficiency test to find out what foods aren’t agreeing with me and what my body is running low on that’s contributing to the way I feel. I was amazed to find out that top of the list was ‘banana’s, beef, goose, lamb and milk.’ You can request a basic one online for around £30.

It’s important to make sure your getting all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to feel good. Supplements are great, but try to get as many in their natural form where possible. When feeling run down, it’s really tempting to pick up convenience food with little nutritional value. You end up getting in a cycle of eating crap, then feeling crap. Then because you feel crap ,you then eat more crap.

I have found batch cooking really beneficial. Make up some energy balls to take to work with you. Make up 3 or 4 salads at a time in whichever way you like them. If you’re not into salads try batch cooking something heartier; rice, pasta and curried vegetables are my favourites. The best thing about batch cooking is that you have good home-made food already prepared so you can just grab and go if you need to.

I brought myself a couple of books with straight forward recipes for inspiration. There are some amazing recipes in ‘Deliciously Ella, Every Day.’ If you’re interested in a plant based diet, I recommend you visit my good friend ‘Hannah’s Healthy Eats’ and read her journey to better health, she’s amazing and has been a huge inspiration to me.

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Overnight oats are great if your pushed for time in the mornings.

Cutting Back On Extra Curriculars

To harness a little more energy, you need to rein in more of your time. Don’t be afraid to say no. Don’t make commitments you don’t want to make. Say no to overtime, say no to late nights, say no to volunteering. If the children have after school activities they won’t budge on, then take that time to sit back and enjoy a cuppa, read a magazine or even have a cheeky nap!

Spend More Time At Home

I am either powerwalking from A to Z (I don’t drive,) running errands, looking after the children or I’m working. My feet literally burn by the end of the day.

I get a little sad when I don’t have the time to enjoy the home that both myself and Joe work so hard to keep. Your home should be your sanctuary, somewhere you can come home and forget about the stressful day you’ve had.

By cutting back on the extra curriculars, I’ve been able to pay a little more attention to how the house and garden look as well as catching up on household chores. It feels good to get back some sense of order. They do say a cluttered home causes a cluttered mind, so have a clear out and be ruthless when doing so. You’ll feel like a weight has been lifted.

Connect With Nature

It’s a fact, being outdoors does wonders for reducing our stress levels. I go a little stir crazy when I’m stuck indoors. When we’re stressed our body produces a high amount of cortisol which can cause a lot of health issues. Even if you can’t get to wide open spaces surrounded with greenery there are other ways of connecting with nature, it just takes a little concentration and mindfulness. For example, ditch the car and take the walk to work. Take a moment to watch the clouds pass over and simply take a second to notice the way the sun or even the rain feels on your face. Breathe with the wind.

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Get Active and Feel Physically Well

This goes hand in hand with getting outdoors. Believe it or not, exercise gives you energy and obviously has many other benefits. Sometimes it’s simply about getting out for some you time. Even going for a 10-minute stroll before everyone gets up is better than nothing. Last week, I went to a late-night session of Pilates and even though I yawned the entire way through, I felt great for going!

I make sure I’m well hydrated. I make sure I wear my glasses at work. I keep up with my regular chiropractic adjustments and even booked myself in for a deep tissue massage to relieve my knotty neck and shoulders.

Do What You Love

I went and had my hair cut for the first time in (I’m ashamed to say) over 9 months. I had reached the point where my ends were in such bad condition I was snipping at them with scissors. It was great to spend an hour in the hairdressers being pampered and I went one step further and booked to have my hair coloured professionally, something I’d always bodged myself.

For yourself, you might schedule yourself in time to read a book you’ve had sat on the shelf, listen to a feel-good playlist, paint your nails or indulge in a hobby you’ve been missing.

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You’ll Get There

Self-care is all about working from the inside out, filling up your own cup before pouring others. It’s about starting healthier habits and doing things that make you happy.

It’s not a quick fix. It’s a process.

Time’s a healer and in time, you’ll bounce back.

It might not be a ‘bounce’ to begin with, you might find you’ve mustered enough energy to clamber upright and dust yourself down.

It’s all positive steps in the right direction.

I’d love for you to share your self-care secrets…

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Spectrum Sunday

Mummy Times Two

About the Author

Posted by

Mum of three young boys. Sharing our family journey to an Autism and ADHD diagnosis.

Categories:

Autism, Self Care

17 Comments

Amen, sister, story of my life lately! I agree, whatever little things you can fit in to care for yourself! I took an amazing bath with bath bombs last night and watched a hilarious show on Netflix. That’s all it took (that day anyway). It’s sad really but on this journey we have to find what works from day to day, and flexibility is a must. Loved your read. We got this. We are important and we deserve to feel like the beautiful women we are!!!

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When we went to see the sleep specialist about David the last point the doctor made was ‘take care of yourself. If David isn’t sleeping then neither are you and you’ve to be the parent.’ Nearly made me cry. So important to grab time for yourself even if just a few minutes – recharge or just zone whatever you need. xxx

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I agree with all of these points and definitely need to address my cheese and meat heavy diet For me, I listen to a meditation as I go to sleep and try to balance my energy (can you tell my mum is a reiki master lol) Im also conscious of my breathing as I always shallow breathe. I guess we all need to focus on a few things to make a big difference 🙂

Liked by 1 person

I been falling into a lot of holes recently – so many appointments and essential errands to fit in. I find meditation and pilates help get me out. I also nap a lot when the kids aren’t around and I’m not working. I have recently had my hair dyed at the hairdressers which I haven’t done since I became pregnant with the eldest of my 3 boys over 9 years ago!! I have a long commute to work so I can’t walk; it is a beautiful journey through the peak district though and I sing along to the radio at the top of my voice!!!

Liked by 1 person

I take Saturday mornings off, when Dad takes the kids to swimming. I used to feel guilty, but now realise that I need that time to re-energise after a busy week at work. I have also taken to looking up my work phone overnight and at weekends, so that I am not tempted to ‘quickly check’. #spectrumSunday

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I came to this realisation a little while ago, but, other than changing my eating habits and losing some weight, I still don’t really find time to just ‘be’. I am super-tired as always, I don’t exercise… I love your ideas and tips though, so I might give it another go! #postsfromtheheart

Liked by 1 person

You are a wonderful mother! I am touched by this post, because I’ve been where you’ve been, with my oldest of five having autism. Unless a woman has been through this, they just can’t relate to a mother who is drowning under the responsibilities and complex nature, of life with autism. Bless you for digging deep and taking care of your family and yourself❤️

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[…] Wednesday had come around, I was at my wits end. I was completely worn out. All those weeks spent (filling my cup) wasted. The boys had spent more time in reflection or at separate ends of the room. This was not how […]

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