7 Ways to Prioritize Mental Health as a Mom of a Special Needs —Sundaee Sprouts

7 Ways to Prioritize Mental Health for Moms of a Special Needs Child

I think in this day and age we all know how important taking care of our mental health is, but how many of us actively try to prioritize mental health?

I have been on depression and anxiety meds for so long now, but I still fall into these dark places that cause me to go into survival mode and do the bare minimum.

And the bare minimum for me is basically waking up and taking care of my autistic son. I always give him my all even if my all adds up to barely anything at all.

My recent dark time lasted so long that I stopped blogging or doing anything with my business for weeks on end.

That’s when I knew I needed to seek help, so I did. I knew I needed to prioritize my mental health. Not only for me, but for my son as well. I went to a behavioral health specialist to get the help I needed.

The first month she just moved my depression meds to the morning time.

I didn’t feel any changes.

But this month she added another medicine that is supposed to boost my depression meds. So far, I feel more focused and have started being more involved in my normal activities.

I wanted to write a blog post, so I thought 7 Ways to Prioritize Mental Health for Moms of a Special Needs Child would be a great post for my first post back.

So, how to prioritize your mental health?

7 Ways to Prioritize Mental Health as a Mom of a Special Needs —Sundaee Sprouts

7 Ways to Prioritize Mental Health for Moms of a Special Needs Child

#1 Make an Appointment for Help or to Talk to Improve Mental Health

As a disclaimer, I AM NOT a professional in the medical field and this is not advice. It’s a suggestion based on my own experiences.

I put this first because sometimes you just need to talk to your doctor or a counselor about what’s going on. They can refer you to specialists or prescribe your medication that can help when you’re having a hard time.

And I know that you don’t feel like calling or talking to anyone in this state. BUT have someone you trust call and make the appointment. Tell them to drive you and make you go, especially if you’ve felt like this for a few weeks. Don’t be afraid to seek help.

Here’s a simple and quick mental health check-in. Again, I’m not a doctor or medical professional, but I thought this was a neat way to gauge how you’re feeling:

Mental health check-in picture with various questions about how your mental health is.
I found this on Pinterest, so credit goes to @simplysophiedesigns

#2 Get Some Real Alone Time to Manage Mental Health

As moms, especially moms of kids with special needs, we’re always on duty and on call. You really need a day where you get even an hour completely to yourself. You need to breathe, and you need to rest your brain.

Just recently, my son’s dad took my son for just over an hour where I was able to just focus on me and what I want. I was in a quiet room and doing something for ME.

I could feel my brain calm down, I could breathe, and I just felt a nice peace fall over me. It was like a reset for my body and mind that I really needed after having a rough time with my mental health for a few weeks.

So please do yourself a favor and have someone take your child/children away from you where they can’t get to you. I know that sounds awful, but you really need a time where you’re not on call and can really relax.

I mean, even getting 5 minutes alone in the bathroom feels amazing, so imagine an hour or more of alone time as a way to prioritize your mental health!

How to Get and Enjoy Some Alone Time to Maintain Your Mental Health Ideas:

#3 Home Spa Day to Manage Your Mental Health

Don’t feel like going out, but you know giving yourself some TLC might boost your mood and create that sweet sweet serotonin? Then a home spa day is what you need.

I’m not super girly, but I love a good face mask while relaxing. The rare bubble bath that my son doesn’t want to cannonball into. Or facial treatments to see if I can get rid of some fine lines and wrinkles.

This past week I’ve been doing little things for myself like a skin firming treatment after my shower or putting on face cream to make my skin so smooth. I’ve felt a little more confident and it made some of that stress melt away that I can feel in my brain and chest on the daily.

Spa days are the epitome of self-care and really do something to boost your mental health thanks to decreasing your stress levels. So, make sure you’re picking easy spa day activities, so you don’t stress yourself out.

Here are 3 Home Spa Day Ideas:

#4 Get Your Favorite Iced Coffee

I’m an elder millennial, so maybe it’s just my generation, but there’s something about getting an iced coffee or iced drink that lifts the spirits. It’s nostalgic for me, but caffeine can be a mood lifter as well as the act of treating yourself. So it’s a win-win.

I went out with a friend recently for iced coffees and girl talk, and it was so amazing. Just really helped to boost my serotonin. Plus, my son didn’t come with me for once, so I was able to focus on my friend and coffee.

I recommend going out and treating yourself with a friend, but with Door Dash, Uber Eats, and Grub Hub now available in so many places you could really splurge and have it delivered. I’ve done that just for a boba tea and a gourmet cookie. It was yummy and put a huge smile on my face.

Balling on a Budget? Here Are Drinks You Can Make at Home:

#5 Try Journaling to Get it All Out

Journaling in itself can be so therapeutic. Getting all the good, bad, stressful, and amazing things out and putting it onto paper feels like you’re lifting a weight off your shoulders.

If you like writing, then this is perfect for you. If you don’t like writing, then maybe pick a quick prompt and write something really quick. I think you’ll find taking the time for yourself just to write something for yourself feels good in and of itself.

I personally just love to get a piece of paper and get all my stresses out and then write what I’m grateful for. But there are self-care journals and gratitude journals that you can use to guide you on your writing journey.

I truly think anything you do to take a few minutes for yourself does wonders for your mental health.

I made a Weekly Gratitude Page that you can fill something in daily to remind yourself of things in your life to be thankful for and relieve some stress if you need it.

Some Prompts & Ideas to Get your Started:

#6 Try Meditating

I’m not one to do full on meditating where you have a mantra, chant, and go into namaste mode. But I do like sitting in silence and clearing my mind.

It’s different from alone time because you’re actively trying to make your mind go blank and just be. No thinking about bills, IEPs, chores, or anything. You’re letting your mind get some rest and reset.

It’s a way to reset your focus, lessen some anxiety and depression, and become a calmer momma.

And you really have to find what works for you and try it a few times. Maybe you need relaxing music, or a mantra to chant, or you need to go outside away from everyone.

Remember, there are some days you may not be able to clear your mind completely, but it’ll still feeling amazing to have that moment to yourself. And meditating can take time to get used to and learn how to do, so don’t get too discouraged.

Business Insider has a nice diagram to get you started that I found on Pinterest.
Meditating Resources to Get You Started

#7 Go Outside!

I am a self-proclaimed hermit and vampire. I don’t like leaving my hovel, and I’m not a sunshine person. But there’s no denying the benefits of going outside can bring. Just please put on sunscreen and sun protection.

First of all, fresh air can do wonders for you. Your brain needs oxygen and just sitting outside breathing that wonderful air Mother Earth provides is a mood booster. When I take my dog out, I like to take a minute to close my eyes and just breathe in the fresh air.

The sunshine provides vitamin D. My doctor doesn’t think it’s funny when I say I like my vitamin D in pill form, so I need to enjoy the sunshine a little more myself. Vitamin D from sunshine helps not only improve mental health, but also improves physical performance and can protect you against disease.

So let’s make a pact to get outside a little more, get that refreshing air, and soak in some vitamin D. Google says 8 to 10 minutes is the recommended time to get the vitamin D levels we need daily, so that sounds doable to me.

Ways I get Myself Outside:
  • Taking my dog out for a little walk
  • Watching little man (my son) jump on the trampoline (and sometimes getting dragged on to jump too)
  • Blowing bubbles and chasing them with little man in the yard
  • Setting up the kiddie pool or sprinkler to play in the water with little man

Conclusion

What I’ve learned over the years while struggling with my mental health then having an autistic child is basically that self-care is important to keep your sanity.

I’ve also learned to seek professional help when needed, talk to others, and basically find ways to have time for myself in any form possible.

You must prioritize and maintain your mental health to be the rock and glue for your family.

I truly hope this post was of help to you, and I’d love for you to comment or email me about what you think and how you overcame your own struggles. ==

Or if you’re currently struggling then email me to vent and have a shoulder to lean on. I’m not a professional in any form of healthcare, but I can be your friend and listen.

My email is hello@sundaeesproutscreations.com if you need a mom friend <3

7 Ways to Prioritize Mental Health as a Mom of a Special Needs —Sundaee Sprouts

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