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As a primary caregiver of a medically fragile child, it’s taken me almost 3 years (all of my daughters life) to truly understand the importance of ‘self-care’ and how healing it can be. It always seemed as though there was never enough hours in a day to get every thing done – meaning I would always put my needs off, pushing them aside – waiting for the ‘perfect’ time to do the small things for myself. 

When I arrived to the Ronald McDonald House over 5 months ago, I was exhausted and in desperate need of a little TLC. My ‘gas tank’ was empty and I was running on fumes. It came up in conversation that I was hoping to get my haircut, but didn’t know Edmonton well enough and didn’t know where to go – I needed somewhere close by to the House and the hospital, as I didn’t want to be far from my extremely sick little girl. She was in PICU and we didn’t know what our near future was going to hold for us. There was a lot up in the air, we didn’t have very many answers. I recall having a huge amount of guilt come over me, just thinking about leaving her side long enough to get a haircut. It made me feel so uneasy. What if something were to happen to her while I was gone? I vividly remember thinking to myself my hair can wait – it’s just hair! 

But…

I spoke to one of the staff members and she was able to help me out with a referral to a close by salon – they were amazing and gifted me with a complementary hair cut. I went in with super long hair and came out with a makeover that I desperately needed – or should I say … an overhaul. I’m now rocking a short pixie cut and love it! 

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Over the last several months, I have been lucky to receive a few haircuts at the House through their Rejuvenation Program that they offer to all House guests. Haircuts always took place in the classroom. It was the best spot in the House for multiple haircuts to be done. It was out of the way and easy to clean up. Every time I got my haircut the hairstylist and I always ended up talking about the renovations that were taking place on the 3rd floor – the second laundry room was being converted into a permanent space for self-care. Talk about a luxury! How amazing!

The day finally came – the new space was ready to be put into full use. The curiosity had been building for weeks – I didn’t know what to expect, but I was so excited. I knew it was going to be great. 

To say the Time For You room has turned out GREAT is a huge understatement … it is stunning! The transformation is amazing! 

When I step foot into the Time For You room I do not feel like I am at the Ronald McDonald House – I feel like I am somewhere else, it truly feels like I’m being cared for. How cool is that? The stress of being to far from my sick child has been eliminated and I am still able to put my busy and chaotic life on hold long enough to enjoy some ‘self-care’ and alone time. Talk about a win/win situation. 

Whoever came up with the idea of giving up the second laundry room, is brilliant! Truthfully, I can’t stand doing laundry – laundry is far too overrated anyways. This room is pure magic. It’s a blessing really. 

There will always be obstacles and reasons not to fully take care of ourselves and that’s why we need to ‘think outside of the box’ and get creative with forward thinking, you should always have a plan A, B, C or even D in place! This is why I have promised myself to continue to find time to practice ‘self care’ – because excellent ‘self-care’ is truly a fine art that needs to be practiced and dang it – I’m so worth it! -Alysa, RMHCNA Mom

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