A Self-Care Support Group for Parents & Family Caregivers
A Self-Care Support Group for Parents & Family Caregivers — January 2022
On Tuesday, January 18th, The Arc of Snohomish County launched a new support group for parents and family caregivers of children with developmental disabilities and complex medical needs.
It is a “self-care focused” support group for caregivers, which will be held every 3rd Tuesday of the month, from 7 PM to 8 PM, via Zoom.
Each month, a new self-care strategy for caregivers will be introduced. These self-care practices will align with a monthly theme. These practices will vary widely as one of the primary goals of the Caregiver Connections group is to support parents and family caregivers in identifying beneficial self-care practices. What works well for one person will not work for everyone, so, in self-care as in life, we strive to maintain an open mind and try new things.
Following the initial portion of each meeting focused on learning and self-care, the group will then transition into an open discussion about self-care, current stressors and other challenges facing caregivers.
The topic of the “Caregiver Connections” January kick-off meeting was: A New Year’s RESET. The meeting provided a time for discussion on resetting our caregiver minds, our goals and our priorities, in order to step forward, refreshed and with renewed hope, into the year ahead.
The self-care strategy introduced at this meeting was “The Power of Personal Mantras.” A mantra is a positive, affirming statement that, when repeated frequently, can serve to inspire, encourage and guide behaviors and actions in a way desired by the individual. Research shows that Mantra Meditation may support family caregivers through stress reduction. It can also serve as a continuing source of positive thought and motivation. This is based on the idea that “words have power.”
At the January “Caregiver Connections” meeting, the group learned how mantras can be found or created. (Click here to learn how you can create your own personal mantra.)
Self-care focused mantras for family caregivers may include:
- My personal needs and goals are a priority.
- I will show up for myself no matter what the day brings.
- My health is important and impacts everything else.
- I am the best parent and caregiver when I take care of myself.
- I will move more and make things happen today.
Discussion on the topic of “self-care” and “resetting” our mental focus for the New Year can center on questions such as:
- What are you doing this month to reset your energy and center yourself for the year ahead?
- What caregiving goals do you have for 2022?
- How will you prioritize your needs, in balance with other caregiving responsibilities?
Before closing the meeting, information about a second, “take-home” self-care strategy was offered: New Year Vision Boards.
Vision Boards are a flexible tool that serve as a visual reminder of the goals and desires of the individual who created the board. They are an excellent project to develop at the beginning of each year to capture your goals and hopes for the next twelve months. Vision boards can be created by hand, using various art supplies, printed clipart or collage materials from magazines; or, with the assistance of “Vision Board” apps. (Click here to learn more about the benefits of vision boards.)
The next “Caregiver Connections” meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 15th, at 7 PM. The topic is: Reclaiming Control of Your Story. REGISTER HERE to join other parents and family caregivers for a discussion on how to take back control of your schedule, your goals and your personal needs. Contact Whitney Stohr at email@example.com if you have questions about this program.
Whitney Stohr is a Parent to Parent Coordinator at The Arc of Snohomish County. She is passionate about advocating for medically complex children and children with disabilities and their families. She is a mom and medical caregiver herself, who is energized by working closely with other parent/family caregivers. She lives with her four-year-old son Malachi and husband Jason in Lynnwood. Connect with her on Instagram @rollin.w.spinabifida. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.