The Potential Psychology Podcast (of course!) and The Happy Mama Podcast with Amy Taylor-Kabbaz - Amy is a former ABC journalist, yoga teacher and author. Callie has found her discussions on meditation, mindfulness, self-compassion to be accessible, compassionate and full of practical, common sense ideas.
Callie's full tips for Keeping Well as an ‘Allergy Parent’
1. Take the time to acknowledge your feelings about your child's diagnosis and what it means for you, your child and your family. It is ok to grieve, it is ok to feel like it's not fair, you didn't chose this- all the feelings. Give yourself validation, permission to feel all the feels, but don't get stuck there!
2. Get practical. It is so much easier with food allergies if you have a strategy that works for you. For me that means pantry organisation, meal planning, and batch cooking. It's not at all sexy, but 100% easier to feel in control and a really great way to give self-care to your 'future self' at the end of a hard week when you're flat out of ideas for dinner. I learned early on that take-aways just aren't easy with multiple food allergies, so having something in the freezer you can pull out and reheat that is safe, nutritious and delicious is so handy.
3. Reach out. Food allergies can get very isolating. Concerns about safety, understanding of those around us often leads to us retreating. And sometimes that is ok- you also have to be realistic and kind to yourself.
But if you notice that you are developing anxiety over social situations or avoiding them altogether, reach out. There are communities of parents going through similar experiences who will be able to support you, share ideas and tips. These people may be in real life (they are gold, grab them and hold onto them and never let them go!), or they may be online.
4. Don't feel like you re-invent the wheel. By all means, you need to find what works for you, but you don't need to start from scratch. Learn from everyone else's mistakes, take the shortcut through that overwhelm- I am more than willing to share!
5. Remember that flexibility is a super-power. There is so much rigidity in food allergy- rules, label reading, the should, must, never, always. It can get a bit 'contagious' and extend to areas where it just isn't helpful.
Where you can, try to soften- life stages change, food allergies themselves change, you have to find a way of holding incontrovertibly strong on the boundaries that keep your child safe, but you don't want that to spill over to other areas where you don't need to be quite so rigid.