Children with special needs are amazing but they come with a certain amount of stress. Just see this post for a simple example. I would like to share my top tips for surviving PDA, things that have helped to keep me sane ……..ish!
It’s really not their fault, they don’t want to be the cause of family stress but, it’s just the way that it is.
A famous man once said:
Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.
This is so true. Without your health, both mental and physical, you are of no use to your children or family.
I’ve been on antidepressants now for sometime and, they definitely take the edge off however, I hate drugs! I’ve therefore been investigating other ways to try and reduce my stress and anxiety levels.
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I call this simply “Me-Time”.
When I first went to the doctors about the situation, she described herself as a “hippy dippy” doctor. Not sure that actually filled me with confidence. How would you feel?
She asked me what I used to do in my spare time pre special needs. This was a difficult question for me because I’ve had horses for years so spare time was in the dim and distant past.
After a bit of thought, and cobweb clearing, I mentioned that, many years ago I used to do cross stitch and I have numerous kits at home just waiting for me to have the time to complete them. In theory, this was a great idea. However, what I discovered was that the first opportunity I could find to actually start it was when the kids were in bed and I’d done the dishes and tidying etc. Invariably this was late but, I was under doctors orders so I gave it a go.
It didn’t go so well. I was tired and the light wasn’t great and I ruined a kit that I started years ago and I ended up even more stressed – not quite the outcome I was looking for.
Positive out of a negative
I did, however, learn something from this disaster. For me to be able to take time out for myself, it needed to have a practical aspect as well. That way I felt better able to justify allocating time during the day.
Interestingly, I really don’t need or wish for much. Just being able to have the bathroom door not only shut but locked as well is heaven as far as I’m concerned. I’m sure many of you special needs mums can understand where I’m coming from with that……
I referred myself for counselling but, the first thing that they offered was a weekly workshop. This really wasn’t going to work with my husbands shift pattern. It was decided that I was a good candidate for the online service. Well, great as it maybe, trying to find at least an hour to sit and go through the sessions just wasn’t happening. Have you ever noticed that the minute you sit down to concentrate on something you become a magnet for interruptions. What’s that all about….
Our doctors surgery referred me to the Wellness Practitioner which was an amazing service. I went to see her for an hour every six weeks and, to be honest, I really valued this time to talk. This worked for me because, when necessary, I was able to take my son. He plonked himself under the bench and plugged himself into his phone. So long as we were keeping to the appointment times, he was able to cope. There was no judgement and, better still, no agenda. Then, out of the blue, the service was axed!
Great! Now what…..
I desperately want to be able to go running again but, unfortunately, hip problems prevent this from being a good idea. I used to love that hour out of the house with nothing to worry about except falling over and getting lost…. It was an amazing stress reliever. If this is something that appeals to you I thoroughly recommend it as it makes you feel great. I followed the NHS Couch to 5K and, if I can do it, anyone can.
I’ve always been a great reader. I absolutely love self development books and am a member of the Book of the Month Club with Knowledge is King. This is an amazing service and a new book/cd drops through my letter box each month. However, what I have noticed is that I get frustrated with the interruptions that invariably happen and this just adds to my stress. I don’t like the way that this makes me feel as I find myself resenting the people that are interrupting me and that isn’t fair.
In order for something to work for me it has to have a practical element to it otherwise I find it incredibly difficult to justify the time.
So, without further ado, I’d like to share with you my 3 top tips for surviving PDA. Things I’ve found that, whilst not perfect, are both creative and practical and therefore, give me the much needed “Me Time”. Forgive me but I’m saving the best one till the end…
Top Tip 1 for surviving PDA – Plants
Yep, I have a fully fledged nursery full of spider plant babies. Did you know that these plants are really easy to look after? They really are as I’ve yet to kill one – this is an achievement for someone who’s mum bought her a book entitled “How to not kill your houseplants”!!
I can hear you saying – where’s the practical aspect lol, I’m getting to that bit….
This plant is great at purifying the air! It absorbs such nasties as Benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and xylene and it loves semi-sunny to shaded areas of your home.
I’m also about to harvest some Aloe Vera pups. This is definitely a new thing for me but, I’m quite excited at the prospect. These beauties have a double whammy benefit. Not only do they give off oxygen at night but the gel can be used for many of your ouchies!
I’m not going to go into anymore detail on the plants as I feel another blog post coming on. There are so many benefits and they require very little care. They are ideally suited to special needs families.
Top Tip 2 for surviving PDA – Baking
I love cooking and baking but, not just for the sake of baking. In order to help my family, we have adopted a clean eating approach to our diet. Not 100% as we have found this too stressful to maintain but, on the whole, we try to go with the 80%/20% rule. 80% clean eating and 20% not!
I buy most of our fruit and vegetables from Riverford Organic, I try and get a monthly meat delivery from Graig Farm and most of my food cupboard supplies come from Planet Organic. Where possible, everything is cooked from scratch although, this is quite a challenge due to the fact that, at the moment, our son is only eating food that is yellow.
Now, to my favourite stress reliever…..
Top Tip 3 for surviving PDA – Planners, stickers and washi tape
I have had a Filofax for many many years and it’s been a bit of a love hate relationship. My OCD tendencies mean that I crave organisation. Things have to be just so otherwise they do not feel right.
Well, I’ve discovered the planner community! I’m so excited by this. I’m able to indulge my creative side with a multitude of stickers and washi tape whilst also being completely organised! Its fantastic – although I’m not sure that my husband agrees…..
I think it only fair to mention that it has become a little tiny obsession of mine. But, to be fair, it is so practical. If you follow me on Instagram you will quite often see pictures of my recent planner layouts. I have monthly ones which have all my appointments listed. These are things that actually have times allocated to them. The weekly inserts have space for a little more detail and allow me to start planning out my week. Finally I have daily inserts. I try to plan my day the night before which allows me to spot any problem areas and, hopefully, work out a strategy ahead of time.
I’m actually the proud owner of 4 Filofaxes and they all serve a purpose. My A5 Malden Fuschia is my day to day planner. This is the one that I have detailed out above and it is the one that I take everywhere with me. I then have a black A5 Filofax (this is one that I bought years ago). This is my home planner in which I have recipes, shopping lists, meal planners, cleaning schedules etc. If its to do with the home, its in this planner.
My 2 recent purchases are both personal size. I have a Malden Pear which is everything to do with my blog and a Malden Purple which is everything to do with my Utility Warehouse business. As I mentioned earlier, it’s become a slight obsession but I feel that it’s in a good way. Now I just need a purpose for another 2 as I’ve got my eye on a Kingfisher Blue and a Stone one too!
So, what are your top tips for surviving PDA. Let me know below.
Until next time, stay strong
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