by LisaMarie Bernardo
You might be wondering what exactly a life coach is and what they do and how they can help parents of children with disabilities.
A life coach can help parents — especially parents who are raising children with disabilities — take care of themselves while taking care of their family. Parents are usually thinking and putting their child’s needs first, putting themselves and their needs last. By constantly putting their needs last, after a while, parents often feel alone, depleted, unsupported, judged, confused, guilty and angry. Parenting is a 24 hour a day, seven day a week job with no breaks, along with dealing with constant stress and worry. It is because of this, that parents can become taxed and worn out. When this occurs, parents can find themselves in a deep pit of despair. I know this all too well, because I was there.
I neglected myself while raising my family, and after a while, I became depleted and depressed. I just couldn’t function anymore. At that point, I couldn’t help anyone in my family, including myself. It was at this point I wondered, while I took care of my family all the time, who took care of me? With the help of a life coach, I was able to get my life back on track and it made me want to do the same for other parents.
My life coach helped me identify my goals and the steps needed to achieve them, guiding me through what I saw as obstacles and helped me make decisions. We worked together towards my specific goals. We solved problems together, creating action plans to find ways to manage stress. My life coach helped me prioritize the many areas in my life. My life coach asked many questions during our sessions, which helped me learn about myself and come up with ways to manage stress, fear, anxiety, anger, grief and loneliness. It was a safe, non-judgmental and confidential environment for me to vent and share my frustrations and unload my burdens. I had weekly sessions, giving me an escape because for 50 minutes devoted to me. My life coach provided 100 percent support, trust and guidance. My life coach was like a cheerleader, rooting for me every step of the way towards my goals.
I learned that taking care of myself can be done while taking care of my family. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. It is through life coaching that I came to realize that self-care is not selfish, it’s necessary.
“To learn more about how a life coach can help, visit www.lisamariebernardo.com.”
LisaMarie Bernardo is a certified Special Needs Parent Life Coach, who has such a passion and drive to help parents and caregivers raising children with disabilities. LisaMarie graduated from the University of New Haven in 2001 with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She worked in the North Haven, Ct Public Schools as a Special Needs Paraprofessional for four years. It was due to the suggestion of a dear friend and colleague who persuaded LisaMarie to study and practice life coaching that gives parents raising children with disabilities the necessary resources support and techniques needed to combat the stress from everyday life. LisaMarie has enjoyed this decision immensely and has never looked back. Along with life coaching LisaMarie has two kids, Paul and Joey, ages 14 and 12 and has been married to her best friend, Russ for 17 years. All together, they live with three mini house pigs that they rescued two years ago. LisaMarie wants to live everyday giving parents and caregivers the vital resources that they deserve and need.
The blog was originally written for and posted on The Mighty