Self-Care: Having Fun is Good For You
Self-Care is all about doing good things for yourself. Having Fun is what summertime is all about. But, parenting a child with mental illness doesn't leave much room for fun. So you have to make room for it. Just as your child needs food, shelter, an education as well as fun, you do, too.
No Fun Makes You No Fun
Not having fun has not been my priority. Over the last few months, I haven't been doing much other than mothering, parenting and writing this blog. Parenting a child with mental illness plus working with families has been so difficult lately that I come home to eat dinner, watch television and go to bed. Television has been my fun. And it really isn't fun. Flipping through channels isn't a great way to have fun and in fact, it keeps me up more at night instead of relaxing me.
Stuck in a Rut
Being stuck in a rut is no good for your self-care. You feel tired, have a negative attitude and you then start to give off that energy to others, especially your child with mental illness. Stress will do that to you. One thing that is difficult for the parents I work with is understanding how their stuff can affect their children. Even a professional like me goes through that. Bob has been telling me how 'un-fun' I've been lately. So much that I don't cook anymore. Every summer, I tend to cook less (opting for cold foods such as salads and fruit). But, when Bob asked me to cook more often, I knew there was a problem. I knew I was stuck in a rut and needed to practice self-care to pop myself out of it for awhile. So, I did - with Bob's help.
Bob really is an amazing kid. Not only is he dealing with ADHD (and all of the junk that comes along with it), he finished up a great year at school and is now in a prep program for bright students. He also is a video game fanatic. He loves it and would play video games all the time if I let him. It is his self-care. It was his idea a couple of days ago for us to play with an Atari Flashback 4 game system. But, work was challenging that night and we didn't get to play.
Having Fun Worked for Me
We got to it last night and I have to say it was the most fun I've had in a very long time. Bob and I laughed ourselves silly at the old graphics. I shared my memories of early video game systems as well as the games I played (some on the original Atari system). I beat him several times with a maze game. And I knew it was a success when Bob declared that it was the best time ever.
What did this teach me? That even a pre-teen with ADHD knows that self-care is so important. And yes, maybe if I didn't put limits on him, Bob would have fun playing games all day. Have fun and make it a daily habit for your self-care.
Parents, how are you having fun this summer?
Zalamar, H. (2013, July 4). Self-Care: Having Fun is Good For You, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, June 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/parentingchildwithmentalillness/2013/07/self-care-having-fun-is-good-for-you
Author: Heiddi Zalamar, LMHC, MA
I agree, self-care is important and what better way than to find fun things to do with your child. It's fun for both of you and creates that special bond with your child which is key to a healthy relationship between parents and children.