As we talk about how we adjust to our stepparenting role, I always think about taking care of ourselves. Stepparenting can be a demanding role with few rewards, especially in the beginning. If we take care of ourselves first, we will then have more energy to take care of others.
There are a lot of ways to take care of ourselves and different people have different needs. For our spiritual needs, it’s helpful to be involved with a fellowship of believers where we can study the Bible together and fellowship with one another. We also need our own personal time of study and prayer to grow spiritually.
For our physical needs, it’s important to set aside time to exercise regularly. I find I’m more consistent with exercise when I take part in activities I enjoy and have some accountability with others. My husband and I enjoy running with a group through our church, RockRunners. It allows fellowship with others while meeting our goals of exercising regularly.
Emotional needs need to be dealt with also. We often ignore these needs until we reach a crisis point and are not coping well. Recharging ourselves emotionally might include going to lunch with a friend or getting away for a few days with our spouse. As we reflect on the demands of our stepfamily and changes taking place, we are better able to address specific needs and how to meet them. When we’re caught up in the middle of day-to-day challenges without a healthy escape every now and then, we end up overwhelmed and frustrated with each other.
Taking care of ourselves spiritually, physically and emotionally requires effort to identify our needs and find appropriate ways to meet them. But as we work toward that goal, we will then find we have more to offer in our marriage and parenting roles.
“I am the only one who can make my well-being my top priority. I owe it to myself to pay attention to the needs of my body, mind, and spirit.”
Courage to Change by Al-Anon Family Groups