How to prioritise self-care

I get it. You’re busy and frazzled. Your children have additional needs and require a lot of your time and energy. You have a household to run, school stuff to organise, and work of your own. Frankly, looking after your own needs comes a long way down the list.

Prioritise self-care? Not likely.

Maybe you think meeting all the other demands on your time is more important than getting a rest. Maybe you know that’s not quite true but can’t see how to make it happen without dropping something vital.


There is a way to prioritise your self-care and make it happen.

Five quick steps to make self-care happen

  1. Decide on the self-care you want/need
  2. Schedule it in your diary
  3. Sort the childcare
  4. Don’t feel guilty
  5. Take action

Let’s break that down a bit more.

Decide on the self-care you want/need

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll probably be aware that I break down self-care into seven categories or components: sleep, support, space, sustenance (food), sports (exercise), spirituality and special treats.

I believe it’s important to address all of these areas to some extent, but just pick a couple to start with rather than adding all of them to your schedule at once. You can read more about the seven components and some ideas to get started in my free self-care guide. Grab that here.

Schedule it in your diary

It’s really hard to make things happen without scheduling specific time for them. If the time isn’t blocked out in your diary and guarded for yourself, other things will doubtless encroach on that time and before you know it your evening out will have become a session of sewing nametapes into PE kit or supergluing a smashed sports trophy back together after it was thrown by a jealous sibling. (Yes, that was me recently. Another skill they don’t tell you you’ll need as an adopter!)

Putting something in your diary (perhaps a shared electronic or wall calendar) shows everyone in your household you’re serious about making it happen. (Hint: The Happiness Planner is great for self-care.)

Sort the childcare

If you come unstuck at this point, you’re not alone. Many adopters in my Facebook group tell me they struggle to leave their child with someone else because the child is too violent, won’t settle, can’t sleep without them, etc.

We had this problem for the first 2-3 years of our girls coming to live with us, and they are still not overjoyed about us using babysitters, even though they are always grandparents or a small handful of close friends they know well. But eventually we bit the bullet and did it anyway, and now we try to get out together once every month or two.

If you’re really not sure who you can ask, read my post 5 ways to find great childcare for SEN children, which runs through some options to explore.

Don’t feel guilty

There is no value in feeling guilty about self-care. You’re going to be no use to anyone if you run yourself ragged caring for them and then have to spend a month in bed because you’ve burnt out. Go easy on yourself, take the time for yourself at regular intervals, and feel no guilt about maintaining the person the rest of the family revolves around. They need to you be functioning at your best! For more on this, read my post Why you shouldn’t feel guilty about self-care.

Take action

Now you have everything in place, do your self-care thing! Often! And with wild abandon!

And if you need encouragement with this or any of the previous steps, please come and join us in the Adoptive Parents’ Self-Care Club over on Facebook. There are nearly 300 other adoptive parents in the group and we love cheering each other on. You can find us here.


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