Exercise I know! Everyone hates it, but everyone feels good after they do it. Most importantly in terms of taking care of yourself so you can properly care for your special needs child, it is a wonderful stress reliever. If you haven't exercised in a long time, talk to your Dr. Start of small and increase slowly. Walk outside, maybe purchase exercise tapes. Leslie Sansone has wonderful walking DVDs for beginners. While sometimes it is difficult to leave your special needs child, there is something to be said for getting out of the house to move your body. Your local YMCA can be a wonderful resource. Before I hear the complaints about money, they offer sliding fees based on income that there is no shame in applying for. Child care is available while you workout, or sign your special needs child up for a class for themselves and you can exercise while they attend. The YMCA is notorious for their sensitivity to special needs and will be willing to accommodate your son or daughter. I personally look forward to my water aerobics class as the best time of my day. I love the gentle feel of the water and the intensity of the workout. Love it!
Nutrition: I will get more into Nutrition later when discussing it in relation to your special needs child, however in general if everyone in your family adopts a "whole food" eating approach, you will be much better off. By whole foods I mean, if it didn't come directly from the ground and doesn't have a mother, or wasn't once alive, breathing or otherwise, don't eat it :-) I realize that is HARD to do in our culture. The best advice I heard a nutritionist say is strive for 80/20. Eat good 80% of the time but allow for real birthday cake on your birthday etc., (not all your co-worker's birthday's) For now, this is what the basics of a good eating plan should look like:
Breakfast: Grain, Dairy or Protien, Fruit
Lunch: Lean protein, Grain, Dairy, 2 vegetables (one green leaf, i.e. salad)
Snack: Dairy or protien, fruit
Dinner: Lean Protein, Gain, Fruit, 2 Vegetables (one green leaf, i.e. salad)
Dessert: Low fat frozen yogurt, or low cal option
Drink at least 8 glasses of water, consume 2tsp of healthy oil a day, olive, canola or safflower.