Today’s blog is all about self-care for parents of profoundly gifted (PG) and twice-exceptional (2e) students. We know that there are a lot of resources coming out to help parents support their PG and 2e children with homeschooling, college, and more. If you haven’t already, you might take a look at our Resource Support for Families During COVID-19 for some ideas! However, this week we turn to look at what self-care is and how you might practice it.
Self-care might already be a part of your toolbox for raising a differently wired child or it may just be a buzzword you haven’t had time to take seriously. We know that parenting during these times will raise unique challenges, such as supporting an accelerated math path while supporting a writing challenge or how to answer big picture existential questions while subduing a tantrum. Maybe the challenge is just finding a life balance with the whole family in this new normal. Under these circumstances, we know self-care may seem superfluous, but the topic is worth repeating – before tackling the unique needs of our children, we must first take care of ourselves!
Self-care isn’t selfish, and it doesn’t need to take an hour (or a half-hour or 15 minutes). It is about acknowledging your needs and replenishing yourself, which is why it is so important to practice in times of great stress. Some key aspects of self-care include:
- Being focused only on YOU and meeting your needs
- Setting the INTENTION that, yes, you are about to take a moment to yourself
- Identify a NOURISHING ACTIVITY that will increase your well-being
- HOLDING THE SPACE for yourself to do this activity in this moment
Self-care will look different for everyone, but it should be something that leaves you feeling a little better than before you did it. If it is focused on you, other people may benefit from the activity, but it should primarily be about what sustains you. The intention that accompanies the activity is a way to validate yourself and what you need in that moment. Giving yourself permission, often the hardest part for parents, helps create that bubble of space and time that is just for you. Here are some examples of self-care that you can easily practice at home:
- Drinking a cup of coffee or tea
- Sitting or walking outside
- Doodling or drawing
- Working in the garden
- Reading from a book or magazine
- Deep breathing
- A virtual tour of an art museum
- Checking in with your five senses: What do you see, smell, hear, feel, and taste?
We know playing mediator between siblings or just getting everyone fed can be exhausting. If you feel yourself starting to burnout, that might be a good time to say to yourself or out loud, “I am taking five minutes of self-care to recharge.” Self-care can happen during your day amid the chaos; you just need to seize those moments for yourself when you can. And, the more you do that, the easier it becomes. Building in self-care habits does take some time and effort, but you are worth it.
For more information and inspiration on self-care for parents of differently wired kids, here are some of our favorite self-care resources:
- “Dear Tired Mama of Gifted Kids” by Colleen Kessler
- “TiLT Founder Debbie Reber Shares her Best Self-Care Strategies” from TiLT Parenting
- “Cultivating Calm Amidst a Storm” by Nicole A. Tetreault, PhD
- “Do I get depressed? Executive Function Challenges Can Weigh Me Down” by Seth Perler
- “The Most Obvious Pandemic Parenting Advice You May Not Be Following” from ADDitude