Five New Year’s Resolutions
Five New Year’s Resolutions
Sorry I haven’t been in touch for a while but, as you know, it’s been crazy with work, the kids and the million other things on my plate. Sound familiar?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this year and how fast it’s gone. 2019 is almost here. Between school activities, IEP meetings, doctors and therapists’ appointments, and just taking care of our families and other responsibilities, it’s a miracle we still know our names.
But hey, that’s just life as a special needs parent. Time flies by.
Thing is, I want 2019 to be different – a more interesting and rewarding year for special needs parents like you and me.
So, I think our number one New Year’s Resolution should be to focus on ourselves a bit. I’m NOT saying to become selfish; just that it’s okay to focus on you, the person underneath the “special needs parent” label we wear. It’s not a crime to think about our own needs every once in a while and we shouldn’t feel guilty for doing so.
I did the math: 7 days in a week, 24 hours in a day, equals 168 hours per week. And we spend almost all this time taking care of our families, working and getting things done. It’s not unreasonable to take at least 3 or 4 hours out of those 168 for ourselves.
The question is, how do we actually do this when we’re under so much time pressure? I think what we have to do is actually schedule ourselves into our lives, just like we do with everything else.
You can do what I did – grab your 2019 calendar now and start marking convenient “time-outs” for each week in January. Write it down just like Julie’s therapist or medical appointment, because it’s equally as important. Your time-outs can be as little as 30 minutes per session. The main thing is to make sure everyone at home knows it’s there and respects your private time.
Let John or Vanessa watch Julie; spouses and siblings also have to contribute to your well-being. Go to your bedroom or another room and simply close the door and tune everyone out for a while. Start a journal and write down your 2019 goals. Read a magazine or watch TV. Go for a walk or treat yourself to a meal.
I’m not saying it will be easy, but I have an idea… Everyone says it’s really helpful to get a workout buddy when you start an exercise program. It keeps you motivated and accountable. Well, we both need a time-out buddy to keep our plans on track in the New Year.
Good news! I’ll be yours and you’ll be mine. Every week, we’ll call or text each other to stay on top of things.
If we help each other take some time for ourselves, there’s all sorts of great things we could do!
For example, I got some brochures from two local colleges that offer on-line courses. You can do them at your own pace, and even work towards getting a degree, if you want! If nothing else, we can learn about subjects we’ve always been interested in.
Or maybe we could take a “do it yourself” countertop workshop at that new home improvement store or “creating party favors” class at the arts and crafts store. We could save a lot of money next year.
Did you know they offer free computer courses at our public library? I have to learn Excel for work.
Speaking of work, I really need a new job that offers more flexible work hours. And I think you should turn your love of cooking and baking into a part time catering business. Joanne’s bridal shower is in April and she would love your scrumptious cupcakes. Maybe 2019 is our year for a fresh start!
One thing’s for sure, we both need more fun and relaxation in our lives. You and John really need a vacation and I’d like to go to Joanne’s weekend bachelorette party. Over the holidays, we should talk to our parents about watching the kids for us. Or maybe your brother can watch Julie. If we give them a few months advance notice, everyone will have plenty of time to plan accordingly.
So, what do you think? Does doing something fun at least once a month sound doable? Knowing you, it sounds overwhelming. You’re wondering where you’ll find the time to do any of this. Well, it goes back to what I said: take 3 or 4 hours for yourself every week.
That’s less than three percent of the hours in a week. Don’t we deserve that? I’m sure we NEED it!
Call me when you get this and let’s talk about making 2019 our best year ever.
Deanna Picon is the founder of Your Autism Coach, LLC, which provides support programs for special needs parents. She’s the author of “The Autism Parents’ Guide to Reclaiming Your Life,” available from Amazon and www.yourautismcoach.com.
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This post originally appeared on our November/December 2018 Magazine