As parents and caregivers, there are always going to be things that we do for our children that may not be the most fun for us (carpool, sports practices, waiting rooms, etc.) but that doesn’t mean that these things have to be completely unpleasant.
I learned that by adding some things that I really enjoyed or wanted to do, I began to look at things like time in the waiting room, driving carpool, etc. as a gift of time where I had to do something for me instead of being trapped in an annoying situation. I still take Andrew to therapies and drive him to school but I go with such a different attitude because I’m getting something out of it too!
Things I’ve added:
- audio books
- MP3 recordings of classes that interest me (TED Talks are also a favorite!)
- Headphones – noise canceling or ear buds
- My new favorite app called Brain Wave which has soothing sounds (ocean, rain, white noise) along with sound waves to encourage different brain states – relaxation, focus, energy, deep sleep (great for bedtime, not so great in the waiting room 🙂 ).
- iPhone/iPad with my favorite music and movies
- DVD player with a favorite DVD or even one rented from the library that you’ve been dying to see
- Favorite pen/pencil and journal to write thoughts, ideas, lists, etc.
- A beverage – flavored sparkling water or iced lattes are my favorites these days!
- Favorite catalogs or magazines (I even bring a file folder and tear out things that make me feel good to use to create a vision board. A vision board is a collage of pictures and phrases that make one happy to look at. It’s not necessarily about “things” you’d like to have but more about the feeling you get when looking at something. As you can see from my personal board, for me, the colors of autumn and the contrast of cold snow and cozy interiors really speaks to my soul.)
Think of something that would make you feel a little bit spoiled and it may turn an ordinary, boring experience into a little treat time for you!
*I wish I were a massage therapist because I think that it would be a huge success to offer pampering services like neck and shoulder massages at therapy locations. I’ve seen these massage chairs in car wash waiting rooms, the mall and at the airport, how perfect would it be to offer this to people while their children have therapy!! Even just 10 minutes would make a huge difference for stressed caregivers.
Something For Siblings
Since Andrew is an only child, I don’t have anyone else to bring with me but if you do, you could also apply these same strategies for them – perhaps a special backpack with things they are only allowed to do when taking brother or sister to therapies or practices. Kind of like when I’m planning for a trip, I gather favorite catalogs, games and snacks to make this time more pleasant.
I encourage you to do something to take a little of the burden off of yourself and add some joy. This is about adding or making small changes to make a difference in your life and if you do it enough, your life will start to be filled with things that bring you so much joy and peace even while sitting in a therapy waiting room.
Engage, Encourage and Empower!
Note: This idea is something I learned from the book, The Joy Diet by Dr. Martha Beck and is part of a strategy she calls “The 3 B’s – Better It, Barter It or Bag It.” This tip is how I have implemented the “better it” strategy in an area of my life that was boring and blah. The vision board is an idea I learned from her book, Finding Your Own North Star.