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Are you looking after yourself - Jo McMeechan

Are you looking after yourself?

Back to school

The kids have all gone back to school this week and I think it has raised some mixed feelings. The impression I get from the Parent Platform group and from the feeling in my own house is that there are both pros and cons to the return to school. Whilst there are obvious benefits to our children and us as parents, there are also areas that might cause a few worries. Throughout lockdown my own children have been in school for a few days a week so that I could work, and we have been juggling home schooling in between. That mix of being at home and in school, with smaller class sizes, has been an amazing way of working for us. I think a lot of people have found that schools have become much more open to flexibility and have noticed the changes that a smaller, quieter classroom with higher staff ratios can bring. This is certainly my experience of school during lockdown.

Returning today has come with a feeling of relief as a parent; having them back in five days a week and regaining some normality is great. However, there is some concern about sending them back full time, to normal class sizes, and the transition period that it is going to need. It is so hard to prepare them for this transition because there has been so much change for our children in the last year. My two were excited to get back to school this morning, but we definitely had way more issues with getting dressed!

Self-care for parents

Something that is always important, but particularly through this period of transition, is that we look after ourselves. As parents, we give to our kids all the time, and particularly for SEN parents, this is a bigger task and you will have a bigger emotional cup to fill. It can be really hard to prioritise self-care as parents but we have to have full cups to be able to give back. I want to talk about how you can find opportunities for self-care and how you can implement just a little bit of time in order to be better prepared to support that transition for your children.

If you are able to set aside large chunks of time to do something for yourself then it is amazing that you are in a place to allow yourself to do that, and it will only benefit your children as well as yourself. However, we all know that it’s often not practical to take hours out of our days to look after ourselves; occasionally we can put boundaries in and do that but certainly not daily. The lovely Karen Bradley was our guest expert in The Therapy Toolkit Hub™ last term and she talked to us about the benefits of little micro-moments of self-care. For some people that comes in traditional forms like meditation, Pilates or breathing exercises but it doesn’t have to look like that. It can be giving yourself five minutes to have a hot cup of tea, opening the back door and breathing in some fresh air and sunshine for a couple of minutes, or nipping out for a quick walk during the day with a podcast. All these things can be small moments of self-care and when we add them in during the day, we allow opportunities to refill our cups.

Sometimes taking those steps is a challenge so get creative about how you offer them to yourself and learn to recognise that those are actual moments of self-care, so that you feel less of the “I should be looking after myself” pressure each day. Please take 5 minutes today to fill up your cup ready for whatever this week has to hold! Self-care is such an important part of the journey we are going through as parents and it can be so hard to prioritise but often when we do everything else falls into place.

If you would like more information on this topic then head over to my free Facebook group The Parent Platform, where we discuss this and more in our weekly lives. I also offer a membership platform, The Therapy Toolkit Hub™, which is designed to arm you with knowledge, a supportive parent community and a host of information from a highly specialist children’s physiotherapist. I would love to see you in there!

Jo x

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