While parental fatigue can impact any family, it’s even more likely to affect parents who are caring for special needs children. Fatigue is much more than simply feeling tired, though. It involves many symptoms that sleep alone simply cannot not relieve, including physical whole-body exhaustion, a lack of energy or motivation, memory problems, and brain fog.
Long-term fatigue can even lead to burnout, which can have severe consequences. You may start to feel emotionally detached, develop sleep disorders, have health problems, or idealize escape. Today, we share some great self-care tips to get you the health and happiness you deserve.
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One study shows that parents of children with special needs experience feelings of isolation as they do not think others understand their family situation. Seclusion takes a mental and physical toll, making it essential to find a support group in your area. Connecting with people who know the demands of caregiving has many benefits. You gain access to resources, friends to talk to, and additional help when you need a break.
Care for Your Mental Health
Parents of children with disabilities often experience depression. It is easy to become so engrossed with your child’s care that you lose sight of your mental and emotional needs. Do not try to self-treat this condition. Take active care of yourself and your child by seeking help from a professional.
Work Toward Your Goals
It may feel selfish to you to think about pursuing personal goals when your child requires so much of your time and attention. However, losing sight of your hopes and dreams does not benefit your family. Taking steps to achieve your objectives makes you feel more fulfilled, giving you more energy to devote to others.
Consider going back to school, spending time on a hobby, or starting a new business. When you are the boss, you will have more flexibility to attend to tasks for your child.
If starting your own business sounds a bit too intimidating but you’re still feeling like you need a career change, maybe it’s time to put yourself back on the market. Before you begin, spend some time updating your resume to highlight your skills and give yourself an edge over the competition. Try a resume builder to find templates that you can adapt by adding your own copy, images, and colors.
Getting out in the fresh air has many benefits for you and your child. It can minimize anxiety, improve focus, decrease your heart rate and lower your cortisol levels. Plan time for outdoor activities with your child each day. Additionally, step outside for a few minutes when you need a quick break. You will feel more able to take on the rest of your day.
Gardening can help to reduce stress levels by bringing you into direct contact with nature. Additionally, digging in the soil helps to promote healthy movement of the joints and muscles, which in turn strengthens your bones and improves overall physical fitness. Furthermore, spending time outside in a garden lets you absorb vitamin D from the sun while taking deep breaths of fresh air, helping to boost your immune system and maintain good overall health. If you’re a first-time gardener, Home Garden Hero offers expert tips from experienced gardeners.
Maintain a Balance
The key to handling your many responsibilities is balance. When you have neglected your level of fatigue for a long time, it can be easy to overdo your self-care. A healthy routine addresses your needs in a way that still leaves time for your child. Without a thoughtful strategy, you may:
- Over-burden your outside support
- Rely on one parent to complete all the tasks
- Overlook mental health concerns
- Cause marital discord
Ask Yourself Questions
Fatigue can have significant cognitive effects, making it challenging to make decisions or complete duties. Assess your physical and mental state by asking and answering questions about your parenting effectiveness, your feelings of depression or hopelessness, your social contact with others, and your level of physical activity. Consider how each member of your family sleeps, behaves, and feels. By breaking down the elements of your family’s needs, you create an outline for your self-care plan.
Fatigue can take its toll on the best of us. Self-care may seem like an indulgence, but actually, taking care of yourself is a crucial component of caring for your family. It also increases your productivity in the long run. When you start taking steps like staying connected with loved ones, starting a garden, and changing careers, you can find health and happiness.