Parents of children with special needs usually adhere to a strict schedule of appointments that follow a set routine. But sometimes even the best-planned schedule will require last minute change ups, and when this happens, chaos often follows, which can last throughout the rest of the day.
Athletes use a visualizing process called, “mental rehearsal” to help them achieve their best performance. Have you ever tried visually planning your day first thing in the morning?
I promise you that if you practice this 5-minute ritual on a regular basis, you’ll find you're mentally better prepared for any eventuality, your general outlook improves, and you’ll feel much more grounded when things do go “off the rails.”
There are 5 simple steps to this ritual, one for each minute. I suggest you do this as soon as you wake up when your mind is in its most relaxed state. (This doesn’t work if you oversleep your alarm of course!)
Find a quiet place and breath deep. (Maybe play some slow classical music as background to help you relax) One of my favorite places to do this is in the shower.
When you are feeling relaxed and calm, mentally start listing things for which you are grateful (e.g., I am grateful for my family, I am grateful for my health, etc.)
Mentally forgive yourself and give yourself permission to make mistakes today. You can even visualize yourself in a stressful situation and guide yourself to a relaxing place of peace and resolution.
Visualize your day's schedule and imagine that each item on your list is working out perfectly for you and your family.
Acknowledge and appreciate that you are doing your best, your partner is doing their best, and your children are doing their best.
End with a deep breath and give thanks for the gift of Life.
Once you complete this morning ritual, you can go about your day knowing and trusting that things will work out for the best. You’ve given yourself some time and space to mentally plan as well as to guide your subconscious into planning and preparing your day to be a success.
Here are some books I recommend to parents who have children with special needs. These are great resources to help you find balance – taking time for yourself and your children to create a happier and healthier home life.