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By Elika Kormeili (bio below)
I remember as an adult telling my mom about my food allergies and her face dropped. The wheels in her head were already turning thinking about how she will adapt her recipes so that I can eat (thanks mom). I started reciting what I can and cannot eat – I paused and asked if she wanted me to continue, she looked at me and very reluctantly said “yes and no”. My food restrictions were also causing her stress and anxiety.
Moms and dads you do so much great work protecting your kids with food allergies, eczema, and asthma and it made me wonder who takes care of you? Here are a few tips just for parents.
1) Work on your acceptance. It is unfortunate, but you have a child with “special needs” and with that there comes a grieving period. Sometimes, children are born with needs that weren’t anticipated and it challenges you as a parent. It takes more work on your part and you may feel a bit resentful. Go ahead and grieve, grieve for the quality of life you wanted and the foods that you can no longer have in your home or the vacations that have to be placed on hold. Once you’re done grieving, accept the situation and deal with the hand you were dealt.
2) Develop a self-care practice. You do so much for your family and probably don’t stop until you literally drop. Learn effective ways to manage stress, from going for a walk, breathing exercises and eating healthy. Remember that you are not invincible and even a superhero needs down time.
3) Laugh every day. It’s the cheapest medicine and it really does work wonders. Guess what? You don’t even need a reason to laugh-just laugh for the sake of laughing, pretty soon it will be genuine laughter.
4) If you are on this website, then you know the power of social support. It helps to connect with others and share your experience. From learning about the experience of others you feel less isolated.
5) Gratitude Attitude. Every night before you go to bed list 3 things that you are grateful for.
6) Recognize when you need to talk to a professional. You may benefit from talking to a licensed therapist if food allergies, eczema, or asthma are causing you or your child to avoid social situations, are impacting your relationships, or if your child is being bullied at school due to one of these conditions. If the daily anxiety of caring for your child becomes overwhelming, seek out a professional and don’t think twice.
7) Last but not least, in case you are reading these tips and thinking “I don’t have time to do this” remember – you don’t have time to get sick and if you were not well then you are not able to fully be there for your family.
Bio: Elika Kormeili, is the founder of Center for Healthy and Happy Living. She launched the company after struggling with her own food allergies and realizing the toll a restricted diet has on your emotional well-being. Elika wanted it to be as stress-free as possible to get quality counseling. Through her professional and personal experience, she realized that emotional health needs an integrative approach. Elika obtained her B.A from the UCLA in Psychology and an M.A. from Pepperdine University. She is passionate about working with individuals (just like you) who struggle with food allergies/sensitivities, stress-induced health problems, digestive health problems, food cravings, and emotional eating. Please visit her website or Facebook page and let her know how she can be of service to you.