Self-care is a must for adoptive and foster dads and moms. Granted, this is sometimes easier said than done. However, it must be a priority. Certainly, all parents need a break periodically—but this may especially true for adoptive and foster parents. Dads and moms, I hope you have friends who can provide some respite when you need it. Respite is typically (but not always) provided by foster care agencies, but it can be more difficult for adoptive families. Parents, if you have close adult friends whom you trust, it can be worth it to reach out to them to step in and give you a breather once in a while.
Self-care involves more than getting respite. As challenging as it may be, try hard to maintain your personal routine of self-care. This may be as simple as taking a daily walk or run. If you work out at a gym, try to maintain this regimen, even though it may be only two days per week instead of the four days you used to do before you adopted or began fostering. Spoil yourself periodically and get a massage or pedicure. Maintain a healthy diet—it is easy for folks who are dealing with stressful situations to gravitate toward fast food just because of the time crunch. Do you best to avoid slipping into that habit. Also, don’t lose your sense of humor! Finding humor in daily situations is good medicine. If you have a hobby, stick with it, even though you can’t dedicate nearly the time to it that you did prior to becoming a parent.
Self-care takes discipline. But don’t despair, you can do it! In taking care of yourself you are in a much better position to focus on taking care of your child.