Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

12 New Year's Resolutions for Special Needs Parents

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

12 New Year's Resolutions for Special Needs Parents

Article excerpt

"Wow! Another year, gone already. Where did the % I time go?" you ask yourself while picking up decorations at your local department store. And, as you reminisce about the challenges of 2016, you think how nice it will be to wipe the slate clean and start a new year filled with bright possibilities.

With planning, realistic expectations and a positive attitude, 2017 can be a great year. That may seem impossible to imagine because of all the pressures of work, a home, and raising a special needs child. You might feel that a new year will just bring "more of the same." But with a fresh mindset, you can improve and reenergize your life and focus on a more optimistic future. All you have to do is follow these 12 easy resolutions:

1 Give Yourself The Credit You Deserve

Before you bid 2016 adieu, it's important to give yourself a pat on the back for surviving this year. Recognize yourself for being the great parent that you are. Day in and day out, you're taking care of your special needs child. Thanks to you, they are getting to their doctors' and therapists' appointments. You're the one working with teachers to help ensure your son or daughter is getting an appropriate education. Because of you, your child's daily and personal needs are being met with care and love.

You're a rock star in your child's life and he/she would be lost without you. You deserve a medal for the heroic things you do on an everyday basis. Nobody's perfect, but you're pretty amazing!

2 Make Yourself A Priority

It's important to take care of yourself, especially with everything on your plate. So make your needs and well-being a priority in 2017. This may be one of the most difficult things you'll ever have to do, because you feel like your son or daughter should be the priority. Do it not for yourself, but for your child. Putting time toward your well-being now is like making an "investment" in your child's future.

3 Get Healthy And Fit

This should be near the top of your New Year's resolutions list. It may not be as exciting as jetting off for a Caribbean vacation or buying a fancy new car, but good physical and mental health is something everyone should strive and be grateful for. Make time to eat properly, get at least six hours of sleep and exercise. You don't have to join an expensive diet plan or pay for a gym membership to do this. Walking in a mall for 30 minutes, while holiday shopping is time-efficient. Any sport or physical activity can help you work off stress and stay fit.

There are plenty of free resources and information on healthy eating on the Internet, as well as numerous fitness apps that can start you on a healthier routine in 2017. Exercise DVDs are great to use at home, especially during the cold winter months and may be available at no cost by borrowing them from your local public library. Dancing at home to your favorite music can give you a great workout, while working off stress at the same time. The point is to just get moving. And after eating and enjoying all those holiday meals, this is a perfect time to burn some calories.

You may also want to explore meditation or other relaxation techniques that will help keep your emotional balance.

4 Save Now For Future Fun

Everyone needs a little something to get them motivated or inspired, especially in the beginning of a new year. So make a short and attainable list of things that you'd like to do or buy in 2017. Purchase a medium to large size piggy bank, cover it in holiday-wrapping paper and label it "Bonus Cash Splurge." At the end of each day, put all your loose coins and any dollar bills you can spare in it and watch your savings grow. Use the extra money to do or buy something that will make you happy this year.

5 Plan Your Good Times Getaways

Grab your 2017 calendar now and start plotting your secret strategy for fun and adventure in the new year. …

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