5 Minutes of Daily Self-Care Yields Big ResultsFeb 22, 2022
As PANS parents, self-care feels challenging, if not impossible, because so much of our energy and focus goes to our PANS child or teen.
What if there was a way to practice self-care in less than 5 minutes a day and have it yield big results?
The Risks of NOT Practicing Self-Care
I learned the hard way that NOT making time for self-care as a PANS parent made everything harder for me. My hope is that you can learn from my mistakes.
When I neglected self-care…..
- my health suffered
- my relationships had more negative interactions
- my feelings of anxiety and discouragement increased
- I had less energy to bounce back from the PANS parenting challenges
By NOT practicing self-care, I was sabotaging my ultimate goal–to get my PANS family to a better place physically and emotionally.
HOWEVER, I had trouble fitting self-care into my already busy schedule.
A 5 Minute Self-Care Routine That Works
When I researched and tried various self-care routines, I discovered a routine that:
- takes 5 minutes or less
- has research to back up its effectiveness
- has effects that are long-lasting
- targets the issues that we PANS parents want to improve
A Gratitude List
On my quest to find an effective self-care tool that could be accomplished easily and quickly, someone I trust suggested that I make a daily gratitude list.
I will be honest with you–this idea seemed downright annoying!
However, I knew that there was solid evidence that cultivating gratitude yields positive benefits–so I used the DBT skill called “Opposite Action” to get myself going on that gratitude list habit!
The “Opposite Action” DBT skill works like this:
- you do something that’s the opposite of how you feel (I really didn’t want to make the gratitude list) because you know it makes sense to do so (I knew the research was solid about the benefits of gratitude).
Show Me the Evidence of a Gratitude List
If you’re like me, I need to know that something has a record of working before I consider fitting it into my schedule.
When I looked into the evidence that practicing gratitude yields benefits, here’s what I found:
- Research conducted over the past 15 years shows that practicing gratitude can increase happiness, improve health, improve relationships, and provide sustained energy to meet challenges.
- One study found that practicing gratitude helps people let go of toxic emotions and has a lasting positive effect on your brain.
- Another study showed evidence of how practicing gratitude can impact your physical health in several ways. Pretty cool, huh?
- A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to increased resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back after challenges. As PANS parents, we know how important it is to be able to ride out the setbacks involved in PANS parenting.
What Was the Initial Goal Again?
Like I said in the beginning, my long-term goal (and chances are, it’s your goal too) was to get my PANS family to a better place physically and emotionally.
So…..did I meet my goal? Yes!
I committed 5 minutes (often less) every day to write down 5 things I was grateful for that were not related to how my PANS child or teen was doing.
My gratitude list often looked like this (on a sticky note!):
Seems almost too silly, right? Sometimes the simplest things work the best!
After I started my daily gratitude list….
- I felt less stressed and my outlook became more positive.
- I was calmer and able to respond to my PANS child (now teen) effectively.
- I was more flexible and able to regroup faster after setbacks.
Can you try this for 7 days to see if you see a shift in yourself and your PANS family?