Maintaining Your Life Balance

On an airplane, an oxygen mask descends in front of you. What do you do? As we all know, the first rule is to put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. Only when we first help ourselves can we effectively help others. Caring for yourself is one of the most important—and one of the most often forgotten—things you can do as a parent advocate or leader. A balance in your personal life is essential to taking care of your child and family.

Materials in this section are designed to assist parent advocates and leaders to discover and implement strategies for taking care of themselves on a daily basis.

Basic Information

On this page, you will find a collection of materials that offers introductory, fundamental information on maintaining a healthy balance between your children, work, relationships and all other factions of your life. Click on the title (or the icon/button) to access each resource.

What do we mean by Maintaining Your Life Balance?


Materials in this section will give you an understanding of how and why it is important to maintain a personal life balance. Basic concepts are shared, as well as some basic strategies.

Journey through the Land of Oz: Parents' Top Twenty Strategies for Managing Life (and Stress)  PDF icon .pdf

A journal article with the input of many parents on how they manage day to day life with a child with a disability.

A Parent's Perspective on Life Balance:  Give Yourself a Break for Just Five Minutes  PDF icon .pdf 

A short, poignant article on how important life balance is.

The Impact of Deafblindness on the Family: Chapter 6  Web icon web  

A video webcast on the impact of deafblindness on the family. In Chapter 6, Marlyn Minkin talks about taking care of yourself and the importance to your child and family.

 

Self Assessments and Goal Setting


In this section you'll find tools to help you get started with developing a plan for getting your life in balance.  The tools are simple and quick. They're also good conversation starters if you have your spouse, partner or other family members complete them.

How Smooth is your Ride Exercise  PDF icon .pdf

An activity to help you identify areas of your life that are not quite in balance.

My Circles of Support PDF icon .pdf

A quick activity to help you identify those people in your life who you could turn to for help.

My Plan to Take Care of Myself   Document icon .doc

This document goes hand in hand with How Smooth is Your Ride (hyperlink) and My Circles of Support (hyperlink). Use this form to develop a plan to take better care of yourself.

 

Relaxation and Regeneration Activities


Sometimes we just need a few ideas to get us started. Take a look in this section to see if you can come up with some new ideas for rejuvenating yourself.

Drawing of a lamp with the following text written on it: "To keep a lamp burning we have to keep putting oil in it." - Mother Theresa55 Gentle Ways to Take Care of Yourself when You're Busy Busy Busy  Web icon web

A good list to give you some rejuvenation ideas (if you're stumped)

25 Science-Backed Ways to Change Your Life by Taking Better Care of Yourself  Web icon  web

Another list of ideas to get you started on developing a self-care plan.

Changing How Alert You Feel  PDF icon  .pdf

A guide to help you think about ways to increase your energy and attention span through using different stimuli.


Managing Your Time


The most common objection to spending time on ourselves is a lack of time.  In this section there are a variety of tools to help you improve your time management strategies and give you the time you need for yourself, your family and your relationships.

Time Management: Assess Your Behavior  Document icon .doc

A tool to help you assess your current time management behaviors and determine what areas you need to work on.

Time Management: Energy Graph  Document icon  .doc

A tool to document your energy levels throughout the day. Knowing your high and low energy levels will help you structure your day to get the most out of your energy.

Time Management: Setting Goals  Document icon  .doc

Goal setting is crucial to effective time and life management. This easy tool walks you through setting up one goal for taking care of yourself.

Time Management: Daily To Do List   Document icon  .doc

A simple format for use as a To Do List.

Attack of Technology Time Suckers  Web icon  web 

A humorous, and true, blog post about how technology can derail our efforts at managing our time and getting our work done.

Going Deeper Link

Going Deeper

On this page, you will find a collection of materials that go more in-depth with information on maintaining a healthy balance between your children, work, relationships and all other factions of your life. Click on the title to access each resource.

What do we mean by Maintaining Your Life Balance?


 When the Caregivers Need Healing  Web icon web

 All parents endure stress, but studies show that parents of children with severe disabilities experience depression and anxiety far more often. A recent study, published in the journal, Pediatrics, found that just six weeks of training in simple mindfulness techniques led to significant reductions in stress, depression and anxiety among these parents.

 Parents' Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights   PDF icon .pdf

This document is older, but still a great resource for highlighting certain "inalienable" rights of parents of children with disabilities.

 UPC Journal Caregiver e-Journal  Web icon web

A comprehensive guide for all caregivers with many ideas and tools for taking care of yourself.

  

Self Assessments and Goal Setting


Tools for Taking Care of Ourselves   Document icon .doc

A guide  to help you understand and assess how you're doing on nine different areas of life balance.

 

 Time Management


The Successful Person's Guide to Time Management  PDF icon .pdf

A comprehensive guide to understanding and implementing time management strategies. Many of the activities in this guide are included under Time Management in Basic Information (hyperlink)

 Training Tool Link

Training Tools

Trainers will find tools to lead group activities related to Maintaining Your Life Balance. Additional resources can be found on the Basic Information, Going Deeper and Learning Packets pages.

Articles and Activities


It's Not All About Our Kids: I've Got a Life and You Do Too!   Document icon .doc

A BINGO game that can be used as an opening activity to discuss Life Balance.

Journey through the Land of Oz: Parents' Top Twenty Strategies for Managing Life (and Stress)   PDF icon .pdf

A journal article with the input of many parents on how they manage day to day life with a child with a disability.

Strategies for Managing Life   Document icon .doc

A group discussion activity that goes hand in hand with Journey through the Land of Oz: Parents' Top Twenty Strategies for Managing Life (and Stress) (hyperlink)

Energizing the Star Activity   Document icon .doc

A group activity designed to give positive feedback to all of the participants in a training.

Kit for Surviving and Thriving   Document icon .doc

A fun training tool designed to encourage and support participants in a training.

 Learning Packets Link

Learning Packets

Our learning packets are “grab & go” materials designed with trainers in mind, but can also be useful tools for the interested parent. Each of the learning packets focus on a specific topic or aspect of parent advocacy and leadership as it relates to Maintaining Your Life Balance.

Learning packetsTools to help develop a Self-Care Plan

Learning packetsTools to help Manage Your Time