Adoptive and foster parents operate day-to-day with a “full plate.”—Often our plate is fuller than most! When we operate this way long enough, our plate is bound to overflow on occasion. These are typically the times when we get overwhelmed and stressed—and these are also the times we tend not to take the best care of ourselves. Keeping ourselves in good balance physically, emotionally and spiritually is very important. Now, I know that you might be thinking—“I barely have enough time to get everything done in regard to my kids—how am I supposed to find time for myself?” The answer to this is being intentional in terms of your own self-care—even if it is only for a few minutes each day. I asked four different foster and adoptive parents (three are couples and one is a single mom) to share some self-care activities that have helped them stay in balance. Together, these seven people have a total of nearly 100 years of foster and adoptive parenting experience! Here’s what they said: (Keep in mind, these are not “one-size-fits-all” suggestions—you have to pick and choose what works best for you.)
* Take a walk outside
* Go for a swim
* Read a good book
* Have a date night with your spouse
* Spend time with other adoptive or foster parents
* Go for a drive and listen to your favorite music
* Go shopping by yourself while the kids are in school
* Take a short drive in the car and just enjoy the quiet
* If you are a foster parent, take time off between placements
* If you are a foster parent, check in with your spouse and/or biological children on a regular
Basis to see how they are feeling about fostering.
How about you? What kind of self-care strategies and activities work for you? I’d love to hear your responses!
*More to come soon from these veteran adoptive and foster parents!