February – the month of love; loving and caring for our family, our friends, our significant other. Let’s not forget a very important person to love….ourselves.  The excitement of Valentine’s Day is over and the candy boxes are a little less full take a few moments and turn your attention to YOU.

Communicating what you need is just as important as helping your loved ones to communicate. And remember, communicating does NOT necessarily mean having to talk!

A few moments of silence, a cup of hot coffee or tea, a piece of chocolate or just sitting and staring off into nothing  may be all you need to refocus and replenish in the midst of a hectic day. Explore new ways to communicate to your loved ones what you need without creating a verbal exchange to explain what you need, where you’ll be, why you’ll be there, etc.

  • Use a “Off Duty” or “Be Back in # Minutes Sign: employ your entire crew in creating this sign.  Now THEY have a vested interest in your well being. Explain that when they see the sign, you’ll set a timer and you will not be available (unless there is an emergency) until the timer rings. This doesn’t mean you leave the house unattended.  Hang the sign on your bedroom door or the bathroom door. Put the sign in a picture frame and set it out on the table while you sip a cup of coffee until the timer rings. Not only are your giving yourself a few minutes to collect yourself but modeling a life lesson of self-care.  Soon EVERYONE in your family might decide to make a sign.
  • Institute “Mommy Time” or “Daddy Time” or “Me Time”. You will need another adult to execute this suggestion successfully.  Designate a specific day and time (Mondays after dinner) where you ‘leave’ your house. Leave may be a relative term depending on your circumstance. If you are able to exit your home with peace of mind, please do so.  Go to a coffee shop. Go shopping (but not grocery shopping, shop for YOU). Go to the library. Go somewhere, anywhere that YOU want to go! If you cannot leave your home, find a place (or make a place) that is OFF LIMITS to everyone else.  Grab a good book and a cup of your favorite beverage and close your bedroom door. Do no allow ANYONE entrance until the time you have set. Be strong. Do NOT exit that room (unless of course nature calls). Put on music to drowned out the sounds of everyone else. This is your time “away”, go to your happy place.  The adult left behind will survive. The adult with the children is just that, an adult. That adult may not follow the exact routine you do or complete the nightly rituals exactly as you do, but that’s OKAY. It’s ok when things are different – what a nice way to model and practice that life lesson.
  • Parents have heard over and over, “When the baby sleeps, you should sleep.” That suggestion holds true for much longer than infancy.  When you child is napping or playing quietly (yes, sitting in front of a screen counts), stop folding the clothes or washing the dishes or doing whatever must be done. Stop. Sit in silence. Stop. Take a few deep breaths. Stop. Close your eyes for a minute or 15. Stop, just stop. Give your brain the opportunity to stop racing if only for a moment.  Challenge yourself to try this once a week and see what a difference it can make. Challenge yourself to model a moment of quiet and see what an impact this can make on your loved ones.

This is not the first, nor with it be the last time, the focus of this blog is on self-care. The month of February reminds us to love ourselves as well as those around us. Giving the best of yourself to your loved one is important. Giving yourself the opportunity to be your best self means taking care of a very important someone….YOU.

Yours in Speech,

Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC

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