How to Take Time for Yourself


By Denise D. Aggen

Respite care. How many parents really take advantage of this short-term break from caring for a family member with cerebral palsy? As a single mother, I was offered this many times, but never took advantage of it. My main concern was who would stay with my daughter with CP and could I trust them. My family is not able to help me with my daughter, so I have to depend on outside care for help.

With the demands of the world, you find that your plate gets too full and your shoulders begin to ache from all of the stress. Taking one evening, one day, or one weekend can help with that stress. I try to take one weekend every couple of months and do something for myself. I have a caregiver that stays with my daughter at my house for the weekend, and I plan time away.

Recently, I have found a little remote lodge and retreat in a country side location in Idaho about two hours away from my home. I rented a cabin with my own screened in porch and personal hot tub. This was located directly next to a creek in a beautiful area full of trees and peacefulness. Now you do not have to go to the extreme of traveling far away or going to an expensive retreat. Maybe plan a weekend with a friend and go sightseeing, or stay in a nice hotel suite and catch a movie. Anything that you can do that does not require you to have any responsibilities of taking care of anyone else but yourself is the whole point of respite care.

Once when I took one of my weekends away, I signed up for a watercolor painting class in a mountain location. The drive there was beautiful and the fresh mountain air was relaxing. I came back home relaxed and excited about learning something new. Finding a craft or a hobby can help with decreasing any stress that one may feel. Finding that one thing that you truly enjoy will help put a smile on your face and take the stress out of your body.

What makes you happy? What are some of the things that you like to do that help you to relax? Are there any hobbies or crafts that you have always wanted to try, but have just never found the time to do? Take that respite care time and relax. Taking care of yourself is important, because you want to be able to be healthy so you can be around to take care of your special someone with cerebral palsy. Be happy. Make it fun.


About the Author

Denise D. Aggen is a single mother of two daughters who are 23 and 16. Her oldest daughter has cerebral palsy. She is a blogger and writer and is currently working on her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. She keeps a blog about raising a child with disabilities and a personal blog about “random things.”

Was Your Child's CP Preventable?