When you fly on an airplane, the flight attendant instructs you to put your oxygen mask on first, before helping others. 
Why is this an important rule for ensuring survival? Because if you run out of oxygen, you can’t help anyone else with their oxygen mask. 
This is an important metaphor for those of you who run around taking care of everything and everyone else except yourself. 
If you don’t take care of yourself, you can experience burnout, stress, fatigue, reduced mental effectiveness, health problems, anxiety, frustration, inability to sleep, etc. Are you experiencing any of these symptoms? 
It’s time to let go of the guilt and the excuses, and put your oxygen mask first by: 
 Getting enough rest 
 Exercising regularly 
 Eating right 
 Going to the doctor when you need treatment 
 Spending time every day on a renewal activity 
 Sit quietly at least 10 minutes 
 Listen to uplifting music 
 Read an inspiring book 
 Write in your journal 
 Write a list of what you are grateful for 
 Cutting down your stress with laughter 
 Read a magazine 
 Buy a joke of the day calendar 
 Watch a funny T.V. show that makes you really laugh out loud or smile. 
Being a Parent caring for an adult child with special needs can leave you feeling isolated, stressed, frustrated, alone and physically and mentally exhausted. It is important to think about the help and the ways in which you can get help: 
Get support for your emotional health. This can be as simple as talking over your feelings with friends and family. It can be talking to a counsellor, or it might be taking part in a Parents support group. There are also online discussion boards and forums so that you can feel less isolated. 
Taking exercise, getting out even if only for a short time helps to feel more energetic and revitalized and provides you with energy. 
Do not be afraid to use support services like charities, the NHS and your GP when you need help. You are concentrating on your relationship with the person, not in the care. Is there a Charity or organization near you that can help look at your needs and get you the support you need through a carer’s assessment? 
It is important to value yourself, to notice that keeping yourself healthy will ultimately benefit your loved one and will enable you to have the energy and strength to have the best possible relationship. So, take the time and accept the help to look after yourself as a Parent and an individual. 
What did you used to enjoy doing and don’t do anymore? Can you set up ‘me time’ or connect with a friend or someone who really ‘get’s it’. Counselling is the ultimate form of self-care. Have you thought of talking over things with someone neutral and not part of your family who really can ‘walk alongside you’ to improve your life? 
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