I just came back from our annual family Passover get away. The Autism Empowerment Telesummit had just come to a completion (and yes, I am still giddy from the incredible success, reach, learning and inspiration that came from that event) and I was ready to take some time to be with my family.
Here is a picture of me and my husband Josh from the family photo shoot we promised my parents years ago.
One of the things that was most nourishing for me about this week away was the incredible love and support I feel with my family. Being surrounded by people who love me, want the best for me and are eager to support me in any aspect of my life and in the life of my family is an incredibly precious gift.
It is this type of support that gets me through challenging times, that helps me gain a broader perspective on life and feel a strong foundation beneath my feet as life unfolds in it’s unpredictable way.
This is especially important for parents of children with autism- who are faced, as you know, with the task of doing all that you can to help your child have optimal health and development.
You may have heard me speak about the importance of self-care before and I want to touch on it again today.
Prioritizing taking care of yourself is critical in enhancing the quality of your own life- but it is also critical so you have what it takes to go the distance with your child.
Let’s face it, without fuel in your tank- you will likely burn out. I’ve seen it happen.
So how do you make sure you are filling your own tank?
Here’s a 3 step process in cultivating more support in your life:
1. Recognize the importance of support in your own life. Sometimes just making this intention can make a big impact.
2. Make a list of the people in your life who support you most. By this I mean the people who do not judge you, but who listen to you, love you and want the best for you. This is different for everyone. It could be your spouse (or not!), a family member (like your sister or mother), a dear friend, teacher or group. It is important to get clear on who truly offers you a sense of support versus who would like to be supportive, but you often leave their company feeling deflated or frustrated.
3. Make the time. Life is hectic and unless you make the time (and I mean actually schedule it in), at least once a week, to spend with a true support person it won’t happen. I don’t mean a ‘therapy session’, but going for a walk together, going out for a cup of coffee, setting up time for a non-distracted chat on the phone. Make support an ongoing and consistent part of your life.
Now I know what you may be thinking…”I don’t have the time! This is just one more thing to add to my list”.
I want to counter that thought here and now. If you prioritize support you will find the time. It doesn’t have to be hours of time, even a half hour a week is great. This is not taking time away from your child (so you don’t have to feel guilty about it like many parents I work with do), but instead, will give you the nourishment you need to be with your child in a more present and attentive way. Quality is way more impactful than quantity.
And when you get back from your coffee with your girlfriend, you will make those gluten free muffins with more love and a spring in your step!
So my question to you is: How can you create more support in your life? I would love to hear your response- join the conversation below!