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The Power of Self-Care in the PANDAS/PANS Parenting Journey

self-care Jun 05, 2023

One little fact you need to know about PANDAS/PANS parenting is that some form of self-care is necessary. The PANDAS/PANS parenting journey is often longer than we hope for. I know that's really hard.  I fully understand just how hard that is because I am also a PANDAS/PANS parent. 

In order to manage the PANDAS/PANS journey, I have found for myself, and the P/P families that I have worked with as a therapist and a coach, that self-care is not something you can skip over.  


Why is Self-Care Important in the PANDAS/PANS Parenting Journey?

The PANDAS/PANS parenting journey is a rollercoaster ride filled with challenges and uncertainties. As PANDAS/PANS parents, we dedicate enormous amounts of energy to caring for our kids and teens.  However, we often forget that we also need support and care. Self-care is not a luxury or a selfish act; it is a necessity for PANDAS/PANS parents. When we take care of ourselves, we are much better equipped to support our PANDAS/PANS kids and teens because we come to them with a regulated nervous system.  That regulated nervous system gives us the flexibility and patience we need to deal with the challenges inherent in PANDAS/PANS parenting. 


Practical Self-Care Tips for PANDAS/PANS Parents

I would suggest that when you begin your self-care, you start small.  In fact, starting with just 5 minutes a day is effective.

Here are some quick ways to incorporate self-care into your day:

  1. Affirmations: Start by acknowledging to yourself the hard work you do as a P/P parent. Tell yourself supportive and validating affirmations such as "I am proud of the hard work I do as a P/P parent" or “I show up for myself so I can show up for my child”.
  2. Music: Listen to some music that helps you relax, brings you joy or inspires you. Music is a great way to relax your nervous system.  What music is on your playlist these days?
  3. Tune Into Your Senses: Seek comfort through your senses. Cuddle with your pet, get or give a hug, or wrap yourself in a soft blanket. Supportive touch can provide a sense of reassurance, reminding you that you are not alone.  You can also use your sense of taste to enjoy a cool or warm drink. Smell something that brings you peace–an essential oil or a flower.
  4. Appreciate Nature: Step outside and take in nature. Spend five minutes noticing something beautiful, whether it's a flower, a gentle breeze, or a blue sky. Allow yourself to be present in the moment and feel a sense of connection with the world around you.

As PANDAS/PANS parents, we have big responsibilities, but it's important to remember that we also deserve care and attention. It’s never selfish to prioritize ourselves. In fact, we are a much better PANDAS/PANS parent when we practice self-care. Remember that when our nervous system is calmer as a result of self care, we share that state of calmness with our PANDAS/PANS child or teen. Practicing some form of self care, for only 5 minutes a day, is enough to make a difference. 

What form of self-care will you try today?

If you're looking for further guidance and support on your P/P parenting journey, consider taking my online course.  

Remember to follow me on Instagram or join my private PANDAS/PANS Facebook Group for more support!