Updated: May 25
By: Elijah Dawson
If you're a parent of a special needs child, you may often find yourself stressed and exhausted, which can lead to problems with physical and emotional health. To avoid these issues, you need to learn how to determine your relative level of fatigue and develop a plan of self-care to treat the causes of stress and exhaustion.
Assess Your Fatigue
Your first step is to assess your fatigue levels. There are many possible factors to consider here. You might look at your sleep quality, for instance, and think about how many hours you're getting of deep, refreshing sleep each night. You could also reflect on any symptoms of anxiety and depression you're experiencing, for these tend to get worse when you're tired. Look, too, at your parental and marital satisfaction levels. These can decline when you're fatigued and stressed.
Develop a Self-Care Plan
When you've assessed your level of fatigue, develop a plan to combat that fatigue. This usually means increasing self-care activities. Focus first on your nutrition, and make an effort to choose healthier foods. Instead of reaching for chips, a candy bar, or soda for a snack, for instance, choose a handful of nuts, some fresh fruit, or a smoothie. You'll satisfy your hunger and increase your energy level at the same time.
Also, make time for an exercise routine. Working out regularly has been shown to decrease the frequency of mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. Meditation is also a great form of self-care. Learn some stress-management techniques, such as guided breathing or music therapy.
Improve Your Home Life
You might work to improve your home life, as well. You don't have to do anything major. Even small touches can make a big difference. Order a selection of colorful flowers online to brighten up your space. Build your own bouquet of your favorites, or choose a pre-made design. Fill your home with soft music, natural light, and soothing aromas, too.
Spending more time in nature is great for your mental well-being, but you can harness those same positives by adding a little Mother Nature to your home. Leave windows open whenever possible to let in natural light and pick up some potted plants to help create a low-stress home environment.
Pursue Your Personal Goals
Sometimes your parental responsibilities may seem to engulf everything else in your life. In that case, take time to pursue some of your personal goals. This might be as simple as starting a new hobby you've always wanted to try. Set aside an afternoon and begin.
Having children can oftentimes derail a parent’s career goals. Perhaps now is a time to make plans to resume your professional life. Having time away from the house – especially when you’re doing something you love – will allow you to come back home refreshed and more able to appreciate your family time. Use a free resume builder to help format your resume as you update it. These tools come with many different templates. Just select one that fits your industry and experience, make your edits, and start applying for jobs!
But it could also involve something larger. Maybe you've always wanted to start your own business. So start planning. Work out a schedule and budget, and see if you can find a way to move forward. Write a business plan that includes a market analysis, sales plan, financial projections, and your business structure.
Watch for Negative Outcomes
Finally, as you make changes in your life and routine, watch for any negative outcomes that may pop up. Pay attention to the effects your actions have on your children, for instance, and be ready to respond to their concerns and help them adapt. Special Learning cautions you to watch for strain on your support network, too, and for an imbalance in self-care on your part, then make an effort to adjust.
Be a Healthier Parent
You can be a healthier parent of a child with a disability if you also care for yourself. Start by assessing your fatigue levels and then implement self-care practices to help address and counter your fatigue. Take steps to improve your home and professional life, too. And if you feel like these pursuits are selfish, remember that you are more than a parent and you will be a better role model for your child if you also value your own needs. So, get started on a new routine today!
Elijah Dawson created Look For Jobs Here while he was furloughed from his retail management job at the beginning of the pandemic. With many still looking for work, he hopes his site will assist and motivate them as they look for their next big opportunity. lookforjobshere.com