As a parent, you are an anchor for your family. You provide stability in every way possible: financially, emotionally and physically (with the roof over their head and the hands to catch them when they fall). This is a good thing, but it can also lead to a parent who neglects him/herself by focusing on providing that stability.
However, it’s vital that you take care of yourself in order to properly care for your kids. When you have a special needs child, it’s even more important. While any friend or family member could step in and help out with typical children, they may not be prepared to properly care for your special needs child if you unexpectedly end up hospitalized.
2012 is a fresh start. Make a resolution that this year, you will take care of your health:
Eat healthy (or healthier). A lot of parents fall back on fast food, frozen dishes, or prepackaged meals on busy nights or weekends. These foods are loaded with sodium cholesterol, sugars, and other things that can have an impact on your health. There are a wealth of meals that you can prepare quickly that are healthier, without sacrificing flavor. You can put meat with a variety of fresh (or frozen) veggies to make a quick stir fry with some soy sauce. If you have one or two days that aren’t as busy as the rest, use those days to prepare a few meals for those busier days, so that all you need to do is throw them in the oven to reheat them.
Exercise. Depending on who you want to listen to, beneficial exercise can be anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour every day or every other day. What can be agreed on is that everyone needs exercise, and even 10 minutes is better than nothing. If you can afford it, consider getting a cheap treadmill or stationary bike that you can climb on anytime you have a few minutes, and won’t be affected by weather. Otherwise, take a walk around your neighborhood, or head over to Jervey Gantt Park or Lake Lillian to walk. You can take your bike out on the Santos bike trails. Or join a gym – Planet Fitness, located at 3233 SE Maricamp Rd Unit 500 in Ocala, has some good deals right now, including one with no start up fee and only $19.99 a month, or one with a $49.99 start up fee and only $10 a month. There’s also the prepaid $99 for 12 months, which is probably the best deal. Spending money on a gym membership might motivate you to use it.
Get a check-up from your doctor. We often spend so much time in doctor’s offices for our children that we can easily forget we haven’t seen our own doctor for our own health. While you don’t need to see your doctor as often as your child does unless you have health concerns that require it, it is a good idea to see your doctor at least once a year. Bloodwork to check your cholesterol and blood sugar should be done and you should have your blood pressure checked. Women should have their annual feminine health exams, and doctors can tell both men and women any other testing that should be done based on age or family or personal history. It’s also important that you not go in with a “I’m perfectly healthy, nothing wrong with me!” attitude. Evaluate your health before you go in. Consider whether you’ve had headaches, stomachaches, backaches, allergic reactions, swelling, general or specific aches and pains, or anything else that stands out. Mention these to your doctor. Often, people assume that back pain or knee swelling is just a part of aging, but there may be more to it or your doctor may be able to help you prevent it in the future. If you don’t have a doctor, Family Doctors of Belleview is an excellent office with a variety of doctors that can meet most of your family’s needs.
Go green for clean. Many people who suffer from seasonal allergies or some breathing problems find that using green products to clean their homes can improve their health. You can purchase cleaning supplies that are green, or you can make them yourself. One of the most common is using vinegar to clean.
Open up. Florida summers are hot, humid and sticky. Air conditioning is practically a law. Our winters tend to vacillate between cold enough for heat and almost hot enough for air conditioning. But we do get a few weeks here and there (the last couple of weeks has been a perfect example!) where the weather is perfect: in the 70s, and ideal for opening up the doors and windows. Keeping the house closed up and using air conditioning and heat leads to stale air. It also leads to air that recycles dust, mold, mildew and other yuckies floating around inside the house – no matter how much you clean. Open the doors and windows and get some fresh air into the house. Do use caution, though, in opening them after a rain – the moisture can then settle in your home and create more mold and mildew. Change your air conditioner’s filter regularly, too – once a month is generally a good idea.
Resolve to improve your health, for your family’s sake, if not your own. If you think your health is already in good shape, then resolve to keep it that way. Your family counts on you.