3 Secrets to Creating a Year Filled with LOVE!
A guest post by Siobhan Wilcox
Yes it’s February and currently theme of the month is – we must be in love. Well the truth is regardless of whether you have a romantic relationship or not we all feel extra pressure to make an effort when at every turn we are being bombarded with images of cupids and love hearts. When parenting a special needs child finding the space in our brains for this social expectation can feel draining, particularly as at times the urgency of our co-parenting can often overtake the romantic elements to our relationships.
Love needs both time and energy to grow. So how can we, already time and energy challenged parents create the necessary ingredients to bring about our own recipe for the perfect love filled year?
Here are my top Three Tips, and they aren’t going to be what you think. Yet these, I believe have kept my marriage on the path of love for over 15 years while parenting two children that need intense input.
1. Make Self-Love a Priority:
To create a beautiful and love based relationship with anyone has really one key component to love yourself first. Yes I know this sounds backwards however self-love is the golden key that unlocks a world of deeper love and happier relationships. Also learning to love yourself is an easier place to start then trying to change someone else to love you the way you want to be loved.
Imagine the power of looking in the mirror in the morning and not seeing the wrinkles, gray hair, patchy skin, darkening rings but instead focus on the beauty within your eyes, the wisdom within your soul and the gifts you have to offer the world!
I have been leading groups of women with this transformational exercise for over 16 years. Looking deeply into your mirror and say to yourself :
- ‘I am loveable.
- ‘I am beautiful’,
- ‘I am powerful’.
(add your own)
How do you feel? Most at first find this exercise excruciatingly challenging. Many feel stupid, sad, or angry and in the beginning some might weep. I felt all these when I first started to do these self-esteem building exercises 22 years ago. I didn’t like myself, I didn’t value myself and it showed in all areas of my life – but particularly in my relationships. However mastering self-love has lead to a life filled with loving relationships not just in my marriage but with my friends. I believe I now have more presence and love to offer as a result of spending time focusing on my own value and inner beauty.
2. Consciously Reduce Your Stress:
In a recent study researchers from the University of Wisconsin Madison have gauged the impact that parenting a special needs child on the autism spectrum can have on our stress levels.
For eight consecutive days, researchers followed a group of mothers whose offspring were either adolescents or adults with autism. The researchers conducted daily interviews with each Mom about her experiences, and took their hormone levels mid-way through the eight days to assess their stress chemical balance.
The results were shocking; hormone levels were consistent with people experiencing chronic stress. The researchers compared the mothers’ blood work to that of soldiers in combat—and found their levels similar.
The ongoing events and responsibilities of parenting a special needs child can result in our bodies undergoing increased challenges that can have a compounding effect which eventually can drain our ability to cope on a daily basis and can result in impacting our health levels negatively and chronically affecting our ability to have intimate relationships.
Stress can impact our ability to have the energy, desire or focus to create a meaningful partnership. So we need to consider the importance of including stress reducing techniques in our daily lives. These can be simple and easy to do as it has been proven that consistently interrupting the stress response in our body decreases the build up of stress hormones.
Just as illness is often brought about by the accumulation of many little tensions, so can wellness be brought about by the practice of little relaxation activities throughout your day that discharge tension.
Having a number of easy techniques that you can use regularly during your day is important. It’s not rocket science but it is science. Even simple moves like taking a relaxing slow breath, rolling your shoulders or yawning are a few that work great. On my website I have a Complimentary Thrive Now Mini Book which contains other suggestions of tools that can support you.
3. Be ‘Wisely Selfish’
As you build on the first two suggestions you will find it easier to take the essential time needed to nurture yourself. The Dalai Lama is quoted as saying we need to be “Wisely Selfish”. When we nurture ourselves by taking time to go for a walk in nature, soak in a bubble bath, get a massage, take a yoga class, have lunch with a friend we are seeing ourselves as valuable. Our relationship with self is the most important one we have; yet as an over-stretched parent it can sometimes be the one that repeatedly takes the back seat.
The Dalai Lama was quoted as saying “The creation of a more peaceful and happier society has to begin from the level of the individual, and from there it can expand to one’s family, to one’s neighborhood, to one’s community and so on.”
After working with many groups I discovered that our children’s’ behavior and emotional well-being hinges often times on the parents’ stress levels. They act as emotional sponges and barometers often reflecting back to us how we are feeling. If we are overwhelmed it is hard for them not to be too. I asked my eldest son, who is on the autism spectrum, why he gets so stressed when we go to a place where there are a lot of strangers. What he told me was very powerful – “I feel everyone’s pain when I walk into a room, and it’s very hard to be there, so I start running and waving my arms, yet it is easy to be with you Mom as you have done your work!” I felt honored that I was supporting him by supporting myself.
Since this statement from my son I have gone on to write a book called the Thrive Now Blueprint – Self-Care and Success Strategies for Parents of Special Needs Children – directly aimed to support parents just like myself who can find themselves needing to deal with extra challenging situations on a daily basis and extra overwhelm. This is a combination of my 16 years coaching and personal development training in the area of stress management and self-care and is available on Amazon and Kindle. I also offer online support, retreats and workshops for special parents visit my website to find out more and get support today.
Siobhan’s personal story makes her an expert in the area of self-care and stress reduction. After burning out from executive stress at the early age of 24 she needed to rebuild her life. With this began a journey that not only changed her for ever but after 16 years has enlighten the lives of thousands as she shares her secrets of inner peace and home/work life balance. This journey has gone on to become a life mission to support others to live a more prosperous, productive and passion filled life.
As the mom of 2 beautiful boys, one who is on the Autism Spectrum,Siobhan has a unique insight into the true life of parenting a special needs child. From this grew her desire to support other parents like herself and she authored a book called the “Thrive Now Blueprint – Self Care & Stress Reduction for Parents of Special Needs Children”. She regular supports individuals and communities whose lives are touched by special needs children inviting them to increase their well-being and reduce their stress. You can start to get support by visiting Siobhan’s website. Thrive Now Blueprint is available on Amazon and Kindle.