When I first began to read blogs and see posts about others doing their “self-care,” I remember my first thought: “Well I can’t do it “myself,” so it feels more like a hassle than a treat.”
Normal things like working out and “moving your body today” aren’t exactly things I can do.
Lacking in care for myself
There came a time when I found myself not feeling my best, content, or motivated. I was not feeling good about myself. It’s because I was lacking in proper, adequate care for myself.
I had to learn how to address this. For me, that looked like implementing some small changes, and some larger ones. Self-care became new routines, taking care of my health, and mental health (spiritual/emotional state).
I’m a 32-year-old living with SMA type 2, and just within the last two years, I have taken better care of myself, growing in an understanding of the value that caring for my body has. I think it’s common for younger people such as teenagers to ignore their bodies as they plow through life, but once you reach a point where you become a parent, you begin to feel it.
Finding ways to better care for myself
Personally, COVID played a role in me increasing my care for myself, because I had to.
I wanted to give myself a fighting chance, that if I did get sick, I would be okay.
That’s why we have help, so we can truly care for ourselves. For instance, my aid comes to my home almost daily, and one of her main roles is helping me drink water and take my vitamins
Setting a new routine
Getting adequate sleep is huge - whether you sleep with a BiPAP, CPAP, air mattress that's comfy for you. Set yourself up for a successful rest.
Also, the days I'm most productive and joyful are the mornings when I start out with my skincare. Washing my face, putting on lotion, and eye cream - those are the mornings I feel the best.
It can sound silly, but carving out time for me to do these simple things helps me feel the best. And I am quite fortunate that my husband is the best helper! That’s my morning routine, and then I start work.
I work hard and I work well, with one of my main motivators being my kids. I make sure I have time for them when they get home from school.
There have been times I’ve been so busy and caught up in my work, that I’ve forgotten to be considerate of them. But not anymore. I have to be intentional, putting them first, always.
Changes in my health
I have made a drastic change in my health routine since COVID began. I now spend the morning making sure I drink plenty of water. I cut out as much caffeine and sugar as possible, though I wasn’t always successful.
I began taking lots of vitamins and doing regular routine bloodwork to see where I'm at. I made it a priority to take my medication, specifically my Risdiplam medication.
Caring for my mental health
As for my mental health, I started seeing a counselor. I came to grips with the fact that that’s ok. A lot of people don't think it is even still, with there being such a stigma around it.
But for me, it became necessary. I started expressing concerns about a life I have with a disability. There were realities I think I buried that have been helpful to talk about.
I think making time for things important to me, such as going to church and being around people that fill my tank, setting aside time to read, giving myself downtime... these helped. It doesn't have to be often, especially with 2 kids, but it’s a major treat to myself.
Have you found something to help you mentally cope with SMA?