Raising traumatized, attachment challenged children is stressful and you must take care of your energy systems in order not to fall prey to the ravages of depletion. When I am depleted, I eat too much, sleep too little, and snap at my children. I am even known to yell and be unreasonable. During these times, I am exhausted and I cry a lot, too. Imagine that.
There are three basic human energy systems:
When your body is depleted, you must nurture and rest it. Sleep is ever so important to all energy systems, especially your body. Go to bed early, sleep at least 8 hours, and get up early. Exercise moderately and eat clean foods (that means unprocessed and fresh.) This is all obvious and yet extremely hard to put first in your life when your child is screaming like a banshee. Yes, it is hard. Do it anyway.
You can lift your mood by shifting your posture, directing your eyes more upward than downward, getting sunlight first thing in the morning, and engaging in physical or intellectual activities to give your emotions a distracted relief. Check-out your thinking to make sure you aren’t telling yourself horror stories about the future of your child. Nothing sours a mood more than catastrophizing the “what ifs” for 10 years from now.
Thinking, pondering and obsessing about something over and over is like putting yourself in a hamster cage and running the wheel all day and all night. You are wearing your mental capacity out. Give your mind a break by putting on some music and get your jiggy on (okay I don’t know what that means either) or call a friend for a gabfest over tea. I read an article about Caffeinated Napping that touted drinking a cup of coffee just before a 20-minute nap; the theory being that the coffee would kick in just as you wake to make you feel truly energized. Who knew? I’ve been doing that for years, but I really don’t recommend it. A brisk walk with the dog is always a welcome mental refresher. Oxygen to the brain is a good thing.
If you aren’t taking care of your energy systems, you are not going to be taking good care of your child. Oh, one last thing: stay away from the blue light of screens for at least four hours before bedtime and you might find you sleep like a puppy all cozied up under the covers.
The next 8 hr. Trust Based Parent Training is scheduled for February 20th and 27th from 12noon to 4pm. $200 per couple. Childcare available for $30 each day. To sign up email Jen@attachplace.com and she will register you.
Monthly Adoptive Parent Support Group is every second Wednesday of the month from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. Group and Childcare are Free.
Look for Ce Eshelman’s Upcoming Book
Drowning With My Hair On Fire
Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents
Expected Publication Date: February 15, 2016
Drowning with My Hair On Fire is a compilation of over 175 daily support letters to parents of adoptive children and other children from difficult beginnings. With a forward by Dave Ziegler, Ph.D. and a brief personal memoir, this publication is a response to blog-reader requests for a book of letters that can be easily returned to day after day, when inspiration is hard to find.
Praise for Drowning with My Hair On Fire…
This woman saved our family. This book will save your sanity! After years (and many therapists) of getting it wrong, Ce Eshelman got our traumatized family on the right path to attachment, sanity, and big big love. Ce’s unique therapy is grounded in the latest brain research, her own struggles raising traumatized children, and work with hundreds of families like ours. Her stories, contained in this book, are our stories: full of pain, confusion, hope, faith, love and practical magic that really works.
Elaine Smith, Adoptive Mother
Ce’s daily blog has been a lifesaver, particularly when days are most dreary and hopeless. Not only have her words of empathy proven to be priceless to our family, but I have often forwarded them on to others. Such a comfort to feel understood, with no judgment.
Patty O’Hair, Adoptive Mother
In a real sense “Drowning with My Hair on Fire: Insanity Relief for Adoptive Parents” is a daily mediation of struggle, success, failure and getting up and trying again. If that sounds like too much to subject yourself to then don’t adopt a challenging child. And one more thing, shouldn’t we require prospective adoptive parents to read “Drowning with My Hair on Fire: Insanity Relief for Adoptive Parents” rather than another ‘All they need is love’ manual?
Dave Ziegler, Ph.D., founder of Jasper Mountain Center and author of many books on raising children from difficult beginnings.