If your son or daughter is rebelling, experimenting with drugs or alcohol, is already an addict, suffers from a mental illness (bipolar, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder or schizophrenia), engages in any form of self-harm (cutting, burning, etc.), has anorexia or bulimia, is expecting a child and is not married, has been in jail or prison (or is there now), has been suicidal (attempted suicide) or struggles with their sexual identity/has a sex addiction(pornography, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) then you need to ask yourself the following question . . .
How well are you taking care of yourself?
If you are anything like me when you are going through times of tension, stress, trauma and heartache you tend to get caught up in surviving to the next day, the next moment. You are simply coping to the best of your ability. You are doing all you can to hold yourself together and keep functioning. I tend to stay up too late and then not sleep very well. I either forget to eat or can’t eat due to having no appetite. I don’t want to exercise. I begin to isolate. I try to work harder and do more to distract my thoughts. Or I work less and let things slide. My relationships suffer, too. I ignore my own self-care. In a way it’s because I don’t care about those things at that point. They seem so unimportant compared to what I am dealing with. At the time when I most need to take good care of ourselves I tend to do the opposite.
And if it’s been going on for a long time in your life – – weeks, months, years — you may have developed some pretty damaging coping strategies. You may have become quite unhealthy. You have been consumed with your child. You may have become a martyr. You put yourself at the end of the list of those needing care. You are thinking about everyone else, not yourself. You would probably like to have a full-blown pity party. However, if you sent out invitations no one would come.
Be careful not to fall into the trap of neglecting yourself! Give yourself the same TLC you would give anyone else going through a season of trials and troubles. If you don’t, I promise you, it will take a toll on you. Instead, you need to be as healthy as possible. It really will help you cope better.
Here are a few suggestions: Get adequate rest. Take a nap if you can. Go to bed a little earlier. Make yourself get some exercise – at least get some fresh air. Be sure you are eating 3 meals a day and having healthy snacks. Drink more water. If it’s been a long time, go see your doctor for a check-up. See a counselor. Go to a support group meeting. Slow down. Simplify your life. Do less. Be kind to yourself. Do what renews you. Read something uplifting. Spend some quiet time with God. Go have some fun. Engage in one of your hobbies (if you have one) or pursue one you have never had the time for. When was the last time you laughed? Watch a funny movie you know you enjoy. Maybe invite a friend or two to join you.
We focus so much of our time and energy on our beloved, troubled child that we often forget about ourselves. Mom — dad — You are important, too! As Al-Anon says, if you put out some extra effort to strengthen yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually “it can make a difficult time a little easier.”
Here are a few Bible verses that came to my mind as I was typing this:
“Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” (Pslam 54: 4)
“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” (Psalm 55: 22)
“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” (Psalm 105: 4)
“My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.” (Psalm 119: 28)